Doesn’t look that way. Australia Tourism, the reigning world social media champ, has had annual tourist arrival growth of 3.9%, 1.3%, and 4.9% over the last three years. That doesn’t put them in the top 15 growth destinations or even, in the case of last year, above average for the region.
Birmingham, England had the top city growth in the world (according to a recent Expedia study). Do they have the top DMO social media in Europe? Or the UK? Or in England? No, no and no. (But they did have a lot of destination development — a new library, cool architecture, new central terminal underway, etc.)
Am I saying that social media doesn’t work? No. It can certainly influence decisions. A strong social media presence is a positive thing… but at what price? I’m just saying it’s not the magic bullet (at least in all cases) that many believe it to be.
In other words, we don’t know how many likes, shares, tweets and posts equals a live human visitor.
Perhaps when it comes to smaller decisions, like trying a new type of yogurt, it can more easily sway people. For for larger purchases and decisions, like where to take a trip, it may be the case that there are too many other factors involved.