Some interesting data - for the pros and antes of social media - from a study carried out by World Travel Market at the launch of its annual exhibition in London this week.
The survey of around 1,000 UK residents that took a holiday during 2010 found that one in three consulted some form of social media during the planning phase of their trip.
Or, alternatively, of course, 64% didn't use any social media - TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc - in any way at all.
But of the social media junkies, most visited platforms included TripAdvisor (66%), Facebook (34%), YouTube (20%) and Twitter (17%).
Interestingly, chat rooms and forums attracted around 28% of the social media users, whereas travel blogs accounted for just 9%.
For those extolling the virtues of social media as a direct influence on travel planning decisions, the stats are rather low.
For example, 42% booked their original choice after visiting a social platform, although perhaps the power of TripAdvisor is illustrated with data showing that 35% of social media users changed their hotel after browsing.
But for other elements of a trip...
- 15% changed airline.
- 15% changed resort.
- 15% changed agent or operator.
- 12% decided to visit a different country.
Looking forward, almost half (48%) said they did not intend to use social media during the planning phase of a trip. A quarter said they would, the remainder was undecided.
So while the top-line stat of one-in-three using social platforms during the planning process is impressive, and important at least in terms of having a strategy, the power of the content within those platforms is, according to the data at least, not powerful at all when it comes to airlines, agents and operators (less than 5%).
UPDATE: Here's the full report.