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How has social media changed the travel industry?

It’s 2020 and where everyone and their mum has been on holiday is at the tip of your fingers. More people than ever have joined Facebook and Instagram since its launch a decade ago. Our phones have become our constant companion, and sharing all your holiday flicks has become second nature. But, how has the travel industry changed since social media? and is social media ruining travel?

Letting friends, family, and even strangers know about your travel plans is nothing new. Women get their ‘holidays nails’ and share they’ll be on the sunny side of Spain in a few days with their technician. The only thing that has changed here is that these interactions have been taken online. Sharing this information with your followers and adding countdowns on Instagram stories are the norms. 

Here are four ways social media has changed the travel industry:

Making connections has never been easier: 

There was a time whereby if you didn’t a friend or family member that lived where you were travelling to, you were truly solo. A booming market for tour touts right?

However, now social media allows complete strangers that share the same interests in travel and adventure to connect online or IRL. Thousands of travel groups exist with thousands of members. At the click of a post, you could be in a bar with five new friends and a world of memories. 

Free advertising: 

Smart travel and tourism businesses have leveraged the power of User Generated Content and use it to their advantage. People are literally advertising them for free. Someone who’s had a great experience at a restaurant or pleasant hotel stay will likely steer their friends, family, and followers to this establishment. Have you ever responded to a tweet asking for recommendations in a city you’ve been? Free, authentic promotion. 


Travel research has transformed: 

Online reviews mean everything. If the hotel isn’t Tripadvisor approved, it’s not getting booked. Today’s travellers go online to research their future travel destinations and accommodations. People spend hours browsing the Internet for travel inspiration, other travellers’ photos, ratings, and more. Social media and its content have made things more accessible and influential, and it can make or break a brand.

There are travel influencers now: 

Travel influencers have the skills and talent to create amazing visual content to promote travel brands. This ranges everywhere from hotel reviews to airline reviews to experiences and cruises. These lucky bunch of travellers are changing the way people travel from where they go to where they eat. Don’t underestimate the power of an influencer.

So, it’s super clear that social media has transformed the travel industry. Travel businesses need to keep up or be left behind. But is it killing the industry? Some may say yes, we say no! It’s simply adding a new dimension to the industry. 

What travel brands/influencers do you love to follow on social media?


Our founder Liz covered this topic on the Puds&Co Podcast. She sat down with two travel content creators, Jasmine and Charlotte to talk about travel and blogging in the era of Social Media. They shared some tools, tips, and stories from getting the perfect Insta shot to ‘instagrammable’ holidays.

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