Social media and tourism: selling the experience

By Shannon Quinn

Social media has transformed the way the tourism industry attracts tourists. Rather than focusing on cheap flight rates and hotels, there is a strong emphasis on the experience of the trips themselves. According to, this is because “89% of millennials plan travel activities based on content posted by their peers online”. Almost everyone posts their vacation pictures on Social Media looking like they are having the time of their life. This naturally causes their followers to want the same experience. Tourist companies advertise the same kind of pictures to attract their target tourists, which in most cases, are millennials. Millennials want to see pictures of other millennials sipping martinis on the beach, enjoying nightlife, and relaxing in a hammock under the sunset.


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Reviews on Social media have a huge influence on tourists as well. Almost all of these reviews focus on the value of the experience of the trip, rather than the materialistic aspects. Tourist companies take advantage of (mainly millennials) wanting to share their trip photos by hosting photo contests to win trips or discounts. They use these photos to advertise their trip experiences to potential tourists. That’s the best thing about advertising on social media. It is less costly than printing brochures or buying ads in newspapers or television, and in some cases completely free!


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The difference of utilizing social media for tourism marketing vs. the traditional ways is astonishing. After Hurricane Matthew struck the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Seminole county, located in Central Florida, wanted to attract visitors as well as tourists. An Orlando Sentinel article describes the a new initiative Seminole implemented  “that will use social media as a primary tool to draw tourists and visitors, rather than the traditional methods of publishing ads in newspapers, magazines and brochures”. They began to see a rise in visitors to the county and hope that their numbers continue to rise. Every city commission or tourism industry should drop the brochures and sell the experience of their trip.


Carnoy, Juliet. “5 Ways Social Media Has Transformed Tourism Marketing.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 03 Mar. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <;.

Comas, Martin E. “Seminole turns to social media to lure tourists.” N.p., 19 Feb. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism