• A new survey released today by experience design agency, 383, found that 18-35-year-olds would rather take advice from digital influencers than they are to trust the judgement of parents and friends when it comes to making big life decisions. 58% of students (18-24 year olds) and 53% of ‘Gullenials’ (gullible millennials) believe Facebook, Instagram and Online Bloggers are more trustworthy than Mum and Dad, proving lessons haven’t been learnt from the social media controversy surrounding Fyre Festival which capitalised on the naivety of the young social media community.

    The survey by 383 further highlights the extent to which social media influences the buying decisions of consumers across generations. It also highlights the increasing control and dominance of social media has over a big decision, including visiting foreign countries.

    Are our children at more risk than ever before? Everything is not always as it seems. By trusting influencers more than parents, they are buying into a false reality and are even more unaware of the potential dangers.

    A lack of street wisdom, coupled with the usual holiday maker’s suspension of disbelief, perhaps made the younger generation more vulnerable to the recent Fyre Festival scam.  Incidents like these are less likely when recommendations come from a trusted resource – not social media. Further statistics found social media influences 71% of travel-planners’ decisions in the UK, with only 36% relying on word of mouth from family and friends.

    The breakdown:

    • 44% of young adults would use Instagram over the recommendation of friends and family to influence big decisions – such as visiting foreign countries
    • 58% of 18-24-year-olds, 53% of 24-35-year-olds, 49% of 35-44-year-olds, 29% of 44-55-year-olds and only 13% of 55+-year-olds trust social media (Instagram, Facebook and Online Bloggers) over friends and family when it comes to travel
    • Social media influence 71% of travel-planners’ decisions in the UK, with only 36% relying on word of mouth from family and friends

    On social media, people whose income derives from promoting a fantasy version of their lives cannot be viewed as 100% reliable, and the lines between a genuine recommendation and what has been paid for, are blurred. When travel influencers post images of their off-the-beaten-track adventures we can’t gauge how much of the ‘picture perfect post’ really is perfect and what is, in fact, a potential danger.

    Sukhi Dehal, CEO and founder of 383, said:

    “These survey results provide interesting insight about how customers are searching for their holidays. Customers are more influenced by complete strangers on social media than their own friends and family.

    “While social media plays an important role in inspiring us, we should be smarter in our research ahead of booking. In an era of fake news and online scams that are increasingly difficult to identify, it’s important that travellers do their homework with a broader spectrum of trusted resources – whether that’s family and friends or reputable travel-relevant sites. This is especially important for those off-the-beaten-track experiences, which bring with them a set of risks due to insufficient information or knowledge.

    “It’s a huge concern that the younger generation has been found to be so trusting of a source that may or may not be telling the whole truth.

    “The urgent message from these survey results is yes, be inspired by social media, but be smart, responsible and safe by broadening your scope of research before making a big life decision like travelling overseas.”

    According to Instagram travel influencer, Jordan Brown, or @hellomissjordan to her 38.6K followers, the inspiration that Instagram provides plays an important role in achieving a more fulfilling experience. But safety, she urges, must come first.

    As a content creator, I definitely find that Instagram is my main consideration when booking my trips. Social media has allowed me to find beauty in every city and discover beautiful locations around the world that I otherwise would have missed if I stuck to the usual tourist routes. Personally, I use social media to plan out my locations from seeing them on other pages. For example, when I first went to Paris I wasn’t on Instagram as much and I felt like I didn’t get to see all the city had to offer. On my second trip, I planned out my locations from seeing them on social media and felt like our trip was far more fulfilling.  Instagram has also encouraged me to seek out more unusual destinations and find spots that haven’t yet been made ‘Insta-Famous’ to share with my audience. Although finding places off the beaten path is great, I always do my research before travelling to a new destination and educate myself about the city I’m going to. While getting new content is great, safety is always the most important. It has definitely opened my eyes to so many new adventures.”

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