Social Media is used by a wide range of travellers worldwide and as luxury travellers are increasingly engaging and particularly listening to social media content, this becomes a very important factor to consider when wanting to attract these luxury travellers to your destination or tourism business. Through sites such as Facebook or TripAdvisor, travellers worldwide are able to access information in the form of reviews, images or videos which together comprise a story that is being told through digital. The use of social media by luxury travellers is therefore really interesting and deserves a closer look with regards to what kind of information and content are luxury travellers looking for online and what content and information are these luxury travellers sharing on a variety of digital channels (Skift 2013).
Millenial’s behaviour online differs from that of other travellers. Social media is at the core of their overall consumer behaviour which is now changing the way in which they communicate and ultimately the way in which purchase decisions are being made. This is very interesting to monitor. Increasingly, experiences are being searched for by luxury travellers that are “Instagramable” and are very much unique and therefore ideal luxury experiences for these travellers.
Another criteria for a luxury tourism destination is its trendiness, hence luxury travellers are moving more towards Dubai and Lima as young and trendy destinations in comparison to more traditional luxury destinations such as Paris or Las Vegas. The overall satisfaction level of luxury travellers from around the world is increasing, as social satisfaction research on social media is measuring an increase of positive posts by 43% of Portuguese travellers, 14% of Spanish travellers and still a fairly good 4% of social media posts in English.
LUXURY TRAVELLER DIFFERENCES
Although the luxury segment is developing similarly strong across the globe. There are still major differences between Northern American and Latin American luxury travellers, as social media posts are different in length on social media platforms such as TripAdvisor and also focus on different aspects. Latin American luxury travellers focus more on functional products whereas North Americans are much more in depth in terms of their hotel reviews, as these are double the length of other demographics.
LUXURY TRAVEL HOTSPOTS
There are a number of social media hotspots that can be identified with regards to cities and destinations that have an above average number of luxury hotel reviews. Interestingly, luxury travel seems to be transitioning eastward and southward. This means emerging and high growth markets are the future of luxury travel. Two things that are essential for the success of these luxury travel hotspots is a very strategic and planned social media strategy. Besides that, social media crisis management is also another factor that needs to be considered by tourism organisations. A crisis does not have to be a major incident, it can also be a small or minor thing but luxury travellers’ high expectations might not be met and result in negative social media reviews. Therefore, a crisis management strategy on social media needs to be in place even before anything negative is happening.
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