Exploring the future of tourism – industry leaders are struggling for social media marketing

[Medical Network] The increasing diversification of social media tools and the rapid growth of China's tourism market are making travel companies try to reach China's growing and wealthy leisure travelers. society...

[Medical Network] The increasing diversification of social media tools and the rapid growth of China's tourism market are making travel companies try to reach China's growing and wealthy leisure travelers. The role of social media in the future Chinese travel search market has become a hot topic in the “2009 China Tourism Distribution Summit Forum” recently hosted by TravelDaily.cn in Shenzhen. Online travel agencies, such as Ctrip and eLong, as well as airlines, hotels, travel search sites and other travel plans and booking sites are looking for the best social media tools to communicate with travelers.

Although China's tourism industry has slowed down in the past two years, the trend of researching and booking travel through the Internet has increased in the near future. PhoCusWright's recent research report "China Online Travel Market Overview" estimates that China's online travel market will grow by 19% in 2009, and the market size will reach 6.9 billion US dollars, accounting for about 11% of China's total tourism market. This ratio is expected in 2010. The year will double.

“The trend of travel research and booking via the Internet is accelerating.” Cyril Ranque, vice president of partner services for the Asia Pacific region, said: “The hotel found that selling its products over the Internet is more dynamic and the economic crisis has accelerated this trend.”

As online travel research and bookings become more popular, many online travel companies want to keep up with the trend, and they are seeing social media as an important way to attract the attention of Chinese travelers.

“At present, less than 10% of our users make reservations online,” said Zhang Haijun, CEO of Cool Travel. “But I believe that in the future, this ratio will reach 50%-60%.”

At the China Tourism Distribution Summit, we did not see a case of clear return on investment through social media promotion. Many companies are still very cautious about the promotion of social media. Other companies that have used social media have found that there is no good way to measure their effects. But Chinese consumers will have more demands in the future, Elliott Ng said, he is the founder of Uptake Networks from Silicon Valley, and Uptake Networks serves travelers through travel search and social media. Elliott recently visited three cities in China, including attending the China Tourism Distribution Summit Forum in Shenzhen. Elliott is very surprised by the speed of change in the Chinese travel market, saying that this change will lead to new tools for integrating travel search and social media.

“The Chinese tourism market is changing very fast, and consumers are beginning to ask for services from consumers in other countries. This means that the tourism industry will take the successful social media model in other places to China, copy it or get it from it. inspiration."

In a speech at the China Tourism Distribution Summit, Elliott talked about the main trends affecting social media, search and travel in the United States. One of them is that “social media is creating new ways for travel industry people to influence travel decisions.”

The key to using social media to influence travel decisions is to discover and communicate information to people with influential and connected networks. According to Jens Thraenhart, partner at Dragon Trail, Dragon Trail is located in Beijing, providing international travel providers with China Market consultation for consumers.

“In social media, only a small number of very engaged users are affecting others.” Where to go, CEO Fritz Demopolous said that where to go is China’s largest travel search site. "When you try to ignite the flames of social media, you have to use all sorts of methods."

Thraenhart cited examples of using social media and Chinese sports stars to promote overseas destinations. Tourism Canada invited Chinese figure skating world champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo to visit Canada last winter and used social media to share their travel experiences with the Chinese. In the promotion of Switzerland as a top mountaineering destination, the Swiss Tourism Board invited Wang Shi, a famous Chinese entrepreneur, mountaineer and blogger, to visit Switzerland. His blog later attracted 23 million readers.

As for who is the most influential person in social media, how much influence they have, Demopolous said that this is not certain. Where to go, the travel search tool is supported by user-submitted content, which includes blogs, forums, and user reviews.

“Unlike Wikipedia, 5% of users contribute 80% of the content, and 15% of our users contribute 80% of the content,” Demopolous said. “Perhaps this number will drop to 5% or rise to within two years. 30% (contributed to 80% of the content)."

Where to witness how the influence of users is being spread, we have also witnessed the increasing diversity of leisure travelers in China.

“The most straightforward way to distinguish between group travelers and independent travelers is,” Demopolous said. “Independent travelers are divided into leisure and business travelers, frequent travellers and few travellers. According to the travel area, they are divided into domestic and International travelers, we are still trying to analyze different growth trends in these areas."

Even as mentioned above, everything looks straightforward and simple, but the problem is still more than the answer. According to Demopolous, “Social media requires us to include all the new features. I think we will come back ten years later. I feel that the current level of development is really funny."

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