Would social media change your vacation plans?

If not, you're not alone - a new survey by US travel analyst Ypartnership has suggested that despite the multitude of travel brands using social media, travelers are still reluctant to take advice from Facebook or Twitter.

Ypartnership's annual survey of American respondents revealed that fewer than one in ten active travelers said that the content to which they had been exposed on social sites has had any significant influence over their choice of destination or brand.

This means that for all of the effort being put into Facebook functionality by brands such as Easyjet and KLM, Twitter usage by almost every major hotel brand and even dedicated social networks such as Fairmont's Everyone's An Original, travelers still prefer traditional channels when it comes to trip planning.

Ypartnership said that the credibility of social media content is low, relative to the other information sources often used by travelers.

When asked, the vast majority of respondents to the 2010 survey said that they were most confident in the information they received from family and friends.

More than half (57 percent) said they had confidence in travel guidebooks, before turning to websites - 53 percent said online advisory guides, and 46 percent said company or destination websites.

Only 19 percent said that they had confidence in information found on Facebook or Twitter, and only 14 percent had confidence in YouTube.

The Ypartnership data contradicts a widely held assumption that social media is playing an ever-increasing role in travelers' decision-making process - "very few" respondents mentioned that their primary motivation for using social media one was of a commercial nature.

However, with studies such as that released by the World Travel Market earlier in November giving a distinctly more upbeat assessment, it's a fair bet that companies will still be trying to woo consumers with social media.

You can vote for your favorite travel brands in social media at Gadling's "superstars in social media and travel poll at http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/29/vote-on-the-gadling-2010-superstars-in-social-media-and-travel/.

http://www.ypartnership.com

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