A new survey from design agency, 383, found that 18-25 year-olds are twice as likely to take advice from social media influencers than they are to trust the judgement of friends or family when it comes to making certain decisions like booking a holiday. Over half (58%) of the 2,000-plus surveyed online in February 2019 believe Facebook, Instagram, and online bloggers are more trustworthy than their family, indicating the extent to which influencers impact the buying decisions of consumers.

Instagram app of choice

Influencers are increasingly dominating real-life decisions, with Instagram revealed as the app of choice for vicarious travel. Furthermore, social media influences 71% of travel planners’ decisions in the UK, with only 36% relying on recommendations from family and friends. “As a content creator, I definitely find that Instagram is my main consideration when booking my trips. Social media has allowed me to find beauty in every city and discover beautiful locations around the world that I otherwise would have missed if I stuck to the usual tourist routes. Personally, I use social media to plan out my locations from seeing them on other pages,” said Instagram travel influencer, Jordan Brown (@hellomissjordan).“Although finding places off the beaten path is great, I always do my research before travelling to a new destination and educate myself about the city I’m going to. While getting new content is great, safety is always the most important. It has definitely opened my eyes to so many new adventures,” continued Brown. While social media plays an important role when research our next trip or looking for inspiration, many influencers are paid to promote an amazing holiday and the picture may not tell the whole truth, therefore the lines between genuine recommendation and what has been paid for is blurred. When travel influencers post images of their off-the-beaten-track adventures, 383 acknowledges that “we can’t gauge how much of the ‘picture perfect post’ really is perfect and what is, in fact, a potential danger.”
The results of the survey show that we need to be smarter and safer when researching ahead of making decisions like travelling overseas. Although looking at the survey results, influencers are clearly doing their job and are in fact influencing people, which reveals just how much power they have and the value they can bring to brands looking to connect with their core audience. “It’s a huge concern that the younger generation has been found to be so trusting of a source that may or may not be telling the whole truth. In an era of fake news and online scams that are increasingly difficult to identify, it’s important that travellers do their homework with a broader spectrum of trusted resources – whether that’s family and friends or reputable travel-relevant sites,” commented Sukhi Dehal, founder of 383; “This is especially important for those off-the-beaten-track experiences, which bring with them a set of risks due to insufficient information or knowledge.”
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