A number of studies have tried to find out how social networking are used by travelers as well as travel companies in this tourism market. Travel agencies are also increasingly realizing the need for promoting their services through social networking sites as membership of various social networking sites are increasing significantly day by day. This study aims at examining the impact of social networking site on tourism. Has employed case study method along with a questionnaire survey to find out how social working is affecting the decision making process regarding traveling. The study has found that social networking sites have become more popular among travelers that official websites of travel agencies and travel agencies have also realized this changing trend and hence promoting their activities through these sites as well along with their own official websites.
2.1 Background of the study:
In the age of social networking the Travel and Tourism industry is growing rapidly. There are thousands of traveling operators who have their websites through which one can book his tickets, hotels or plan his holiday anywhere in the world at just a mouse click. These social networking sites not only enable the tourists to get in touch with his or her respective tourist operator but also to communicate with the previous users of those sites. The latter helps the new users to get first hand information about the operator and making a right choice.
Previously the travelers had to depend on many tour organizing intermediaries such as the traveling agents for their travel related queries (Akehurst, 2009). But with the growing popularity of internet usage and social networking this trend is changing. The whole pattern of information searching and decision making is much different for the new age travelers. Therefore the Tourism industry has almost completely become internet and social network oriented. As far as the internet use and online dealing is concerned this industry is ranked at the lead by Werthner and Ricci (2004 pp. 103-104). The websites have proved to be quite an effective way to reach the customers because people can access them 24 hours a day and from anywhere in the world (Lin & Huang p. 1205). It is seen that social networking is quite popular, particularly with Free and Independent travelers (FIT) and backpackers. Because these travelers not merely visit different places but like to meet the local people as well as other travelers on their journey. They wish to experience new cultures, foods and activities while touring (Hyde & Lawson pp.16-18). These travelers are not only interested in gathering information about different traveling destination but also sharing them with other people over internet. Thus the medium of blogging has been used extensively by them. They share their traveling stories through blogging on their personal websites, operator’s sites or on any other social networking sites. Within a couple of years blogging has emerged a
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