Travel Goes Social…And Mobile

By Hootsuite | 3 years ago | 6 Comments

Frederic GonzaloBy Frederic Gonzalo, Guest Contributor

Do you have a trip or special holiday planned for 2013? The process of choosing a vacation or booking a business trip isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to the explosion of social media and the rising use of mobile devices worldwide, travel today is a very different experience for many businesses and travelers.

The Travel Paradigm Shift

It’s hard to believe that up until a few years ago, you’d talk to friends or colleagues in-person for destination ideas, or visit a local travel agent to get expert advice. Now we’re increasingly turning to online booking sites, review sites, social networks and discussion forums to make travel decisions. Our dream destinations, things to do, places to visit, famous restaurants or icons to see, places to stay are largely contemplated upon online.

It’s a true paradigm shift that the global travel and hospitality industry are now adapting to. After all, how travel brands respond on social platforms can make or break business relationships.

Sam holiday

How? Well, imagine a person right now checking in at a city hotel, unimpressed by her room, leaving a negative comment on Foursquare. Hotel management should be monitoring such online conversations in order to be able to react swiftly and turn the situation around. Otherwise how many thousands of people will eventually choose another hotel based on that single update?

Meanwhile, there are currently close to 200 active airlines on Twitter. Leaders in this sphere are utilizing social media to provide better service to their clients. Take for example KLM airlines, who know offer 24-hour social media customer service and guarantee a personal response to your tweet or Facebook message, within an hour.

A Mobile Revolution

Amidst all of these changes, there’s another big revolution underway and it’s happening through the multiple devices we carry around. Google Travel estimates that 25% of all online searches related to travel occurs via mobile platforms, yet many destinations, hotels and attractions still do not have a mobile optimized site, making the experience less than satisfactory for travelers. But if you’re into last-minute bookings, there are plenty of mobile options to fulfill your needs, from online travel agencies like Expedia,,, Priceline, or independent applications like HotelTonight, VeryLastRoom, DealAngel or GuestMob.

The next big challenge for travel and hospitality pundits seems to be figuring out a way restaurants, attractions or events can directly send relevant offers to potential clients in the area. Exciting times!

Tourist with iPhone

Frederic Gonzalo is a marketing and communications expert & speaker with 18 years expertise in the travel and hospitality industry. He currently provides strategic planning, social media & mobile development counseling to small and medium businesses. Reach him at, or via Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or his blog.

Image, tourist with iPhone:  ontourwithben.

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         villa espagne costa brava
villa espagne costa brava 5pts

Yup..!! This one is the serious shift and I feel this has restricted life of people to a large extent. Traveling used to e fun earlier but now it his restricted to social media only. One advantage of being mobile is that you need not carry any bulky material for clicking the photographs. This a great advantage and lets you enjoy the trip with a multipurpose mobile. Thanks for sharing this post. :)

Alan Head
Alan Head 5pts

Until data roaming for smartphones gets cheaper tourists are going to be stuck in the slow lane and the benefits for the travel industry won't be fully realised. The EU are working to harmonise these charges in Europe but currently unless your destination offers free WiFi you are likely only to be social in meat space rather than online. Which many would say is a good thing.

Ruth Zive
Ruth Zive 5pts

Great post - and of course the same conclusions can be drawn for pretty much any industry or vertical. There has been a fundamental shift in the way that we communicate, and it will resonate at all levels of business.

AmishaS 5pts

Great post. Tweeting it out!

I think the travel industry can send relevant offers to its potential customers in the area through Four Square or their mobile apps (push notification). Thoughts?

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown 5pts


My company (Brown Knows Media), and many others, builds mobile apps for small businesses including restaurants, attractions and even events.

One of the available features is the ability to send location-based push notifications (coupons, specials, etc), whenever an individual gets within a certain radius of the business.

Exciting times indeed!




Adi Gaskell
Adi Gaskell 5pts

Super post Frederic. Of course this is just what we as brands can see. Think of all the holiday photos that get posted on Facebook et al and the word of mouth advertising that follows.

I've heard of restaurants offering discounts to diners if they leave a review of the place, but I wonder if destinations will begin offering direct social photo sharing.

For instance they could take a photo of you on a rollercoaster (or something), and it automatically posts it onto your social profiles.

Andy Au
Andy Au 5pts

Hi Amisha,

Thanks for the share. Glad you enjoyed it.