Sphere of influence: 3 in 5 think they could be social media travel influencers

NEW YORK — More than three in five Americans believe are in the know when it comes to places to go. A poll of 2,000 adults reveals that 63 percent believe they have the potential to be a full-fledged travel influencer.

One-third of respondents prefer a mix of both natural and manmade landmarks, with 20 percent favoring the latter. Opportunities for nearby exploration (39%) and potential interaction with animals (29%) are also fueling respondents’ desire to travel.

So, it’s no surprise that zoos and aquariums (34%) and roadside attractions (31%) are some of the most social media feature-worthy travel destinations.

The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Discovery Cove, also found that captivating beauty draws people to destinations and pushes them toward posting it on social media.

Respondents believe their home state has an average of 10 travel-worthy landmarks in it. The data suggests that the average American is willing to travel 181 miles to see a destination recommended by family or friends. However, two-thirds (67%) are willing to travel further if it means they can cross something specific off their bucket list.

Respondents also cited other factors that might encourage them to travel, including first-time experiences (33%) and inspiring photo opportunities (31%).

“Americans are seeking Instagrammable destinations. Beautiful locations and unique experiences are drawing crowds from around the United States, whether it be for bucket list moments or social media posts,” says Crystal O’Hea, Vice President of Marketing for Discovery Cove, in a statement. “People are also looking for trips with many exciting tourist destinations nearby.”

How is social media changing the travel game?

Almost seven in 10 people (69%) believe social media is a good way to find new travel destinations. Another 67 percent believe these platforms are a good way to encourage travel.

More than half the poll (58%) say they’re more likely to visit somewhere just because they saw it on social media. Two-thirds of respondents think they post more during vacation than they do on a typical day.

When it comes to determining if a destination is post-worthy, 43 percent consider the natural beauty and 35 percent weigh the creative photo opportunities. Regardless, 65 percent of Americans believe the modern mantra, “if I don’t post it on social media, it didn’t happen.”

“As of January 2022, more than half of the world uses social media,” O’Hea says. “In the age of instant information and access to endless content, more people are encouraging others to travel and get their own ‘likes’ on social media. Attractions and destinations prepare for this and actively strive to provide experiences that encourage social sharing.”

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