No, you haven’t got a mail in your inbox, no phone calls or any texts; it’s the status updates of travelers on various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter that is helping them keep in touch with friends and family while on the go, according to a global survey conducted by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, a flagship brand of New York-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. providing luxury hotel and resort accommodation, has revealed that over 64 percent of travelers use social media to plan their trips, and more than 60 percent stay connected with close ones via social networking sites while traveling.
While most of the travelers said they communicated through social networking sites multiple times a day while traveling, about 36 percent of tourists preferred calling home.
Business travelers also find social media a great help in meeting people while traveling for work as they can check the person’s profile on social networking sites before meeting face to face. 55 percent respondents in the survey said they used social networking sites to meet new business contacts.
Cashing in on the growing popularity of social media channels as a networking tool while traveling, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts recently completed the establishment of its signature travel technology called 'Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft', at about its 400 hotels worldwide. Link@Sheraton helps guests stay connected through social networking sites, find information about local attractions and more.
According to Sheraton, more than half of its guests use the Link@Sheraton during their stay and Facebook is the most visited site with 75 percent of users logging in during their stay, Hoyt Harper, SVP and Global Brand Leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts told the media.
Travel industry worldwide is trying to make the most of social media to attract tourists. Tour operators are increasingly using social networking sites to promote various sites and travel packages, giving a boost to their businesses. The recent success story of promoting tourism through social media is that of Virginia, which has won a national award for promoting wine tourism on Twitter.
According to an online survey conducted by ITB Asia, the Asian travel industry will witness an increase in the money spent on social media in 2011, given the fact the Asia-Pacific region recorded 14 percent growth in international arrivals through August 2010, the highest in world after the economic crisis.