Once there was an individual named Hyuram. He was stressed in his work and personal life, when he met one of his friends in social media and expressed his problem, he advised him to go for a tour. Now as he got the idea of going for a tour, he must make a decision. As tourism is a complex service, he got confused. Now to get away confusion on deciding type, nature, duration and expenses of the tour he decided to go through several sources for information.
So, now he goes through several sources of information to retrieve information he required to make a decision. First he asks his family and friends, they give him some information, then he goes through tourism magazines and newspapers, then he will use search engines, where he will find travel review websites and social media sites. As there is huge information available he again gets confused. But, then he decides to go for social media instead of travel review sites, as they are anonymous review sites and he will not realize who the user is.
Now, he found a lot of information in social media, but he is still confused. Because he finds that there are contents from different verticals, there are user-generated, marketer-generated, and from opinion leaders. Now he will think to decide upon which information or source to use for decision making. He feels that the contents from users i.e. from his friends and family and peer groups are more reliable. He decides to use that information for selecting destinations. Next, he checks upon the marketers contents to see offers and coupons. After that he will also visit opinion leaders’ content to check any new information.
Based on the information search he has conducted he finds different destinations as alternative. Finally, he makes decisions and select an exotic hill station in the North-Eastern part of India. After selecting it, he makes all the arrangements for visiting the destination. One fine day he starts his travel and visits the destination. After experiencing travel and tourism activities in the destination, he feels that some complaints need to be raised and some positive things need to be shared with others. Immediately, he chooses marketers contents and their pages and starts expressing his opinion with them. Few marketers respond to his queries, while others did not bother to respond. So he starts trusting marketers who responded him on social media. Also, he then shares all his experience through word and picture mode in his social media.
So, this story concludes by highlighting that social media in this context are an important information source for the decision making of individuals be it services like tourism or products. The marketers need to be aware and should engage with the customer in real-time to maintain trust with them.
Prof.Ganesha K S