Case Study: The Social Media Use of Travel Bloggers

Open Access
Imming, Brad Tyler
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Matthew Jackson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Susan Mary Strohm, Honors Advisor
  • blog
  • travel blog
  • social media
  • case study
  • Web 2.0
As a "disruptive technology" the Internet has radically altered many industries, including the travel industry. Hotel and airfare search engines dramatically reshaped the travel industry, creating more price competition and driving many travel agencies out of business as travelers began to search for and book their own rental cars, hotels, and airfare. Today, social media and blogs are similarly weakening the dominance of traditional printed travel guidebooks and magazines. Destinations have responded by altering their marketing campaigns to include the use of social media and the burgeoning field of travel bloggers. This study aims to explore how travel blogs incorporate social media to increase effectiveness when engaging in destination campaigns. Using two travel blogs as the cases, and, this research is designed in the multiple-case study format. For each blogger: a campaign was selected, social media content related to the campaign were analyzed to write interview questions, then a one hour Skype interview was conducted. The study found that Twitter is the platform most commonly used in destination campaigns; however, the use of Instagram is on the rise. Additionally, the use of video is important when working with destinations. Travel bloggers use social media in different ways, with some following a strategic/planned approach, while others follow an organic/real-time approach. While promoting their destination to an engaged audience is valuable to the DMO, the value social media offers bloggers is the ability to connect with their audience.