With the growing use of smartphones worldwide, increasing numbers of travellers can check their emails and connect with friends anytime, anywhere. This flexibility in time and space regarding social networking has allowed social media to become an integral part of people’s everyday lives. According to eMarketer, social media now goes hand in hand with multitasking. These developments have quite an impact on people’s behaviour as consumers, and the ways in which social media is used alongside other activities.
Social media multitasking
People multitask regularly throughout their everyday lives. In the USA, most social media users log into their Facebook or Twitter accounts while watching television (83.7% and 66.9% respectively). Travelling is the next most popular activity alongside which they access the sites, with 70.6% of travellers logging into Facebook and 53.5% into Twitter. A large number of people also use social media whilst at work, shopping and even on the toilet. This is quite interesting, as people already seem to be using social media while doing a variety of activities. Destinations and tourism organisations need to tap into these opportunities and encourage travellers to also use social media while visiting destinations, attractions or while travelling to and from them.
Demographics of Multitasking
Looking at the demographics of people multitasking with social media, women rank higher. Men tend to prefer using social media while at work and also admit to using it while drunk or driving. This is quite interesting and reflects that people are increasingly integrating social media into their daily activities. Social media is one of the things most people like to use their devices for, followed by entertainment or work.
What does this mean for Tourism?
Destinations and tourism organisations are aware of the fact that social media is very important within the different travel stages. However, it is quite interesting to see and think about how users’ multitasking behaviour can be integrated into their travel experiences. Destinations and tourism organisations should emphasise the fact that travellers are more than welcome to share and engage through social media channels – maybe even offer a reward or appreciation for posting pictures or videos on destinations’ social media channels. Visit Norway is a good example for a destination that is already doing this by posting purely user-generated Instagram images that have been submitted to a specified Twitter stream. Travellers are accustomed to using their Facebook and Twitter accounts whilst doing all sorts of activities – destinations and tourism organisations should increasingly take advantage of this behaviour!
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