Social media has gotten far more traction than any of us had imagined only a decade ago. What started out as a platform that helped friends connect with each other, has now grown into the very essence of our lifestyle. With games, work recruitment, and most importantly advertisement getting integrated with the social media platform. The things we post, the images we display all are a part of the persona we show the world. We can try to deny it all we want but our personas on social media have effectively become our identities.
Why Social Media?
A question that comes to mind, is why do people prefer using social media for travel? This can be explained by the fact that websites such as Trip Advisor and Wayn, have global reach to tourists, with innovative applications to add value through managing information and creating a great interactive environment. Through this you can perform actions like gaining travel information, making transactions, making new relationships with far off people. All of this translates into ease of use, which is a great attraction for people. This has a substantial effect in Dubai and UAE.
As we have established that word of mouth is the single most important factor while considering tourism, it is now important to know how social media has commercialized the word of mouth. Websites like Trip Advisor, Facebook, and online forums have hundreds of thousands of members commenting on places of travel and other related topics. These are considered as trust worthy resources to potential travelers. Influencing and utilizing these websites can be one step of creating a better social media impression.
One of the industries that social media and internet have dramatically affected is the tourism base in the Dubai and UAE region. Whenever we travel to some place we first try to find information about the place, before the place to get the information was through proper travel agencies and companies. However, now the creation of the digital world has provided people with a great new platform to get and share information. The greatest effect of social media is the shift of institutional provided information to the consumer provided information. It may feel that you’ve already visited Dubai or UAE even before you arrive, due to the huge amount of information available on the internet.
The role that social media provides in this new era is, connecting travelers to the reviews and opinions of fellow travelers, as well as recommendations provided by locals of Dubai or people who have visited UAE before. These reviews and recommendations have drastically changed the landscape of the travel industry, where impressions and word of mouth are more important than the thing itself. Newer companies have started to capitalize on this, for example Airbnb, Wayn, and Couchsurfing.
The Arabic Gulf area is dominated by the UAE in terms of tourism. The cultural heritage is heavily influenced by Islamic traditions and Arab history. Moreover the UAE countries have branded the areas as popular tourist resorts rivaling the other major attractions of the world. A vacation to Dubai or Abu Dhabi is considered to be quite a fascinating adventure for tourists around the world. This is a great development for the area, which now relies on tourism for a great amount of its income. However, many local tourism and travel companies have not utilized the power of social media to the extent that it could have been in Dubai.
Utilizing the Resource
Using the social media platform for advertisement and spreading travel information about Dubai is a little different to the conventional way of advertising. The unique thing about social media is that you are not just dealing with the platform but with the people who are actually using it. Having the right strategy is the most important thing while promoting tourism interests, it is not always about the budget. Being target oriented, innovative and smart will help your impression to be better than other competitors. That means that it is important to be different so that you will be noticed in the increasing traffic of social media. The interesting thing about travel is that you can’t sample the product (travel) until after you have paid for it. So this makes the power of impressions, word of mouth, and recommendations far more important than in other industries, especially while dealing with tourism in Dubai.
It is essential to target the right audience for your brand. Generally, travelers to the UAE and Dubai will be from Africa, Middle East and South East Asia. Recognizing the target demographic for your brand will give a great leg up in getting more tourists, if you’ll target the audience in Northern Europe about tourism in UAE and Dubai, it won’t have that great of an effect as the afore mentioned regions. Another important factor to keep in mind when you are planning to use social media for travel influence, is understanding the reason why people want to visit Dubai or the UAE. According to recent surveys, two major points of interest have been identified for visiting UAE, they are cultural attraction and pleasure seeking. If you exploit these two factors you are liable of getting a greater response as compared to marketing other factors.
The Online Impression
As afore mentioned, that social media personas are now effectively who we are, the same can be said for travel destinations. The information that you have on the internet is how people will perceive you. This is why it is extremely important to have a dedicated online presence which promotes your interests and creates an impression that is most suitable for potential tourists.
Having the right online presence is deciding on a marketing factor for Dubai or Abu Dhabi in general. For example when someone say Las Vegas the first that comes to your mind is “nightlife.” Thus, it is necessary for to give travelers the right first impression, this can be produced by the right social media presence. This can enhance user rating and create a greater and focused travel base to Dubai or UAE.
In conclusion, social media is a growing monster of impressions that is slowly devouring the travel industry, and for the UAE and Dubai to get the best out of it is to go head first and make the right impressions, and market the right things to potential tourists.