Social media has reshaped travel motivations among the young generation. It has choreographed a convergence between traditional notions of backpacking to an emerging mediated concept known as ‘flashpacking’ or digital nomadism. In other words, social media is becoming more of a pull factor in the travel industry.
The evolution of social media within tourism has provided a further impetus towards destination information search and image formation. To this end, existing studies have presented the influence of social media at destination micro-levels, such as accommodation and restaurants. At a macro-level, some studies have investigated the influence of social media on a destination.
Now, a new study has focused on the choice medium for deciding on where tourists want to go. The results are surprising: suggesting that Instagram, on top, inspire millennials to travel.
According to InterContinental ICons Research Study, millennials are more triggered by what’s shown on the platform as an incentive to explore the world. This makes social media more influential as compared to travel brochures and websites of the past.
Also, most of the respondents reported that social media is an addition to the experience of traveling. It’s likewise a decision that contradicts the more materialistic options favored by their boomer and Gen-X predecessors.
Despite this, the study also offered a fresh look at some of the world’s most exciting cities.
The study carried out in Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney, and Mexico City. The data revealed that travelers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city. More than three-quarters (77%) say they feel obliged to see the most popular tourist sites, despite 75% expressing a desire to see more of what the city has to offer and to explore like a well-informed local.
Per the InterContinental ICons Research Study, the Eiffel Tower is the world’s most Instagrammed, showing up in 53% of all #Paris photos examined – and 10% of all posts globally.
Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21%), and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20%), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites.
Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio, comments: “As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom, so we understand that travelers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit.”
“With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic.”