Apps and social media for wired tourists

Wednesday, 05 April 2017

Don’t worry. We do not want to push you to recommend to your clients to rely only on apps and social media to find inspiration, organize and live a trip. We would like to write about technology and social networking solutions for wired tourists also because we think that it could be useful for you.

Knowing the software applications and social networks related to travels, in fact, allows us to catch the challenges and opportunities that digital technology brings to us, and to deal better, for example, the so-called tourist 3.0.

It is not by chance that Fiera Milano, for the 2017 edition of the International Tourism Exhibition, has prepared a guided tour called Be Tech. By the way, the BIT also wanted to focus attention on other growing topics: food and wine, with A Bit of Taste, and honeymoons, with I love wedding.

Thanks to the BIT 2017, and to the Osservatori Digital Innovation of Tourism of the Polytechnic University of Milan, we can learn that almost the entire life cycle of the trip has become digital: we use digital channels to find inspiration and information, to make reservations, to share our experience through social networks and to create a book of memories.

Knowing the apps and social media related to travels, moreover, allows us to gain confidence in front of the customers, whether they are already wired tourists or not. Gaining confidence means to gain their trust.

Travel and smartphone

There is a survey by Google that helps us understand how people use their smartphones for travels and, specifically, for what kinds of needs. It is called How people use their phones for travel and is available for free (in English only).


The chart above illustrates the main activities carried out through a smartphone before, during and after the journey:

  • 44% looked for discounts and offers
  • 35% looked for information on things to do before traveling
  • 32% sought information about things to do during the journey
  • 29% sought information about flight options
  • 28% looked for information on flight schedules
  • 25% sought information about accommodation solutions
  • 24% watched videos related to hospitality solutions or to the area of interest
  • 22% made check-in for a flight or for an accommodation solution
  • 20% looked for a travel agency contact address and information
  • 20% booked an accommodation
  • 19% looked for information about the available options to rent a car
  • 18% booked a flight
  • 18% used a ticket / digital boarding pass
  • 15% used a loyalty program
  • 14% booked a last minute
  • 11% wrote a review about a destination


The above chart, instead, shows how people discover new apps for travel:

  • 35% from friends / family who use them
  • 35% from browsing the app store
  • 31% from ads displayed while browsing online
  • 28% from articles found online
  • 27% from commercial on television
  • 27% from search engines
  • 27% from tips displayed on app store
  • 25% from sharing the app on social networks
  • 23% from ads shown during the use of an app
  • 22% from surfing on the mobile version of the website
  • 13% from ads appearing on YouTube
  • 12% from ads appearing in magazines, newspapers and brochures
  • 12% from tips received in shops, agencies and during the journey
  • 11% from information received directly from an organization / company
  • 9% from YouTube

Travel and apps

We know what people do with their smartphones before, during and after a trip. And we know how they discover new apps for travels. To find out, however, which are the most popular travel apps in the world, we can rely on App Annie, a company specialized in the analysis of apps.

In the section Top App of the website App Annie allows you to select the app store, device, country, category, type of app (all; with in-app purchases, without in-app purchases) and date.

We suggest you to subscribe to App Annie. Registration is free and allows you to explore the rankings of all countries and to select the kind of app. As an example, here below, you can find a snapshot of the Travel category for Italy, related to the iPhone (the column grossing indicates the more profitable apps for developers).


For each app in the ranking, history trend among users, score, description and reviews are available. To view this information, simply click on the app. Thanks to the service of App Annie, then, you can find apps for travel used by your clients and be even better prepared to meet their needs and questions.

Travel and social media

There are thousands of apps and hundreds of social networks. Vincos, born Vincenzo Cosenza, social media expert and social analytic, has released a global map of social networks showing the most popular social networks in the world (map updated in January 2017).


Social networks aiming to share information, images, videos, reviews, etc. have taken on a role of primary importance for travelers. To the point that some experts do not hesitate to call Facebook and co. real travel counselors.

Never fear, though. Your experience, your knowledge, your skills, your helpfulness, your courtesy, are weapons that no social media can ever take away from you. We only suggest you to find some time to explore why and how travelers use social networks for their needs.

App and social media for your customers

And if a customer ask you an advice for apps and social media for his trip? Follow the parameter of utility.

Suitable, without any doubt, is Google Maps. The app allows you to have traffic forecasts and conditions in real time, to get information on public transport in real time, to choose the right lane thanks to the directions on the lanes, to find fueling stations, restaurants and shops with reviews, ratings and photos, to browse maps offline without an internet connection.

Another helpful Google app for a trip is Google Translator: in addition to providing the translation of a text of 103 languages, the app is able to translate the text inside images instantly. Just point the camera at the object itself.

What other tools can be advantageous for a traveler? A currency converter (MyValuta, for example), a solution to find WiFi access points (WiFi Map, for example), a service to communicate via the internet (WhatsApp or Skype, for example).

Then you can encourage your clients to download apps edited by the local tourist offices. The Society for Tourism, Trade and Marketing of Dubai, for example, proposes Visit Dubai for iPhone and Android. It is an app that allows you to find things to do, points of interest and attractions of Dubai, and to plan itineraries for a tour.

Many tourist offices, moreover, handle official pages on social networks. In the USA, for example, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, Google and LinkedIn to promote the destination Miami Beach. A similar strategy is carried on by Canada, by Tourisme Montréal and Tourism Whistler, committed to promote, respectively, the destination Montréal and Whistler.

Whatever the destination of your clients, you know that you can rely on platform to meet their needs in terms of hospitality, we are talking about hotels, apartments, residences, B&B, country houses, villas, hostels, campsites, lodges, guest houses.

One last note: remind your customers not to spend all the time of the journey stuck to the screen of their smartphone. Otherwise, why do they travel?

Enjoy the journey with 6TOUR!

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