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COVID-19 Impact on Travel and Tourism Social Media – Thematic Research

Social media has been vital for consumers, suppliers, workforce and partners to remain engaged amidst this exogenous event of COVID-19.

This thematic research report takes an in-depth look at the theme of Social Media and its impact on travel and tourism during COVID-19 affecting super-national organizations, DMO’s, airlines, lodging providers, cruise operators and travel intermediaries. This report analyzes the major impacts that may become longstanding and then presents an array of case studies demonstrating the creative and innovative ways companies and organizations have acted during this time.

“Social media has most openly been utilized as a tool for travel businesses and DMO’s to maintain contact with consumers worldwide – to generate wanderlust and look towards recovery when travel is once again possible. Even though the battle with COVID-19 is now beginning to lessen and restrictions are easing, it is clear there will be long-standing impacts on consumer behavior and social media is one of the major themes that will drive future changes”. – Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Associate Analyst, GlobalData.


This thematic report provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism social media.

The key trends within this theme look to COVID-19, the experience economy, niche tourism, online travel and social currency – but an array of themes are relevant.

Several case studies are included to identify the ways in which super-national organizations such as the United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), DMO’s, airlines, lodging providers, cruise operators and travel intermediaries are utilizing social media during this pandemic.

Our unique thematic analysis deep dives into the long-standing impacts that will change consumer behavior on social media amidst this crisis and companies that are knowledgeable will likely be at the forefront for a stronger recovery.

DMO’s such as VisitNorway and TourismAustralia have most effectively utilized social media on the offset of this pandemic introducing video content, live and immersive experiences followed by interactive content for consumers and stakeholders alike.

Key Highlights

To escape stringent lockdown restrictions, browsing time across social media platforms has dramatically increased. For optimized results, companies and governmental organizations alike need to be investing in multi-channel engagement to generate the best interest. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube have been most commonly used but TikTok clearly has untapped marketing potential.

User generated content (UGC) offers an unvarnished personal experience of a brand and will likely be heavily relied upon in future travel decisions. This further poses that online reputational management will be key to battle consumer angst following the offset of this pandemic.

This has been a critical time for consumer engagement but industries that have invested in workforce and supplier partnerships will undoubtedly emerge more united and in a stronger position for recovery.

Numerous travel suppliers and DMO’s have worked with influencers in the past to attract younger generations that frequent these channels. Elite and young independent travelers are identified as the most daring and first to embark on international travel but influencers hold high potential and their value should not be underestimated.

To ease uncertainties, travel marketers across all industries need to be discoverable across Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and Wechat to hinder negativity and reform trust. Anti-Asian racism fears are real and this engagement will be critical to battle negativity and service the largest outbound source market in the world.

Reasons to Buy

Understand how COVID-19 has impacted social media for the travel and tourism sector in both the short and long-term.

See how these long-term impacts will drive consumer behavior and supply chain engagement post-pandemic that will help to form effective strategies to withstand this global crisis.

Access how social media has been utilized across the sector during COVID-19 understanding how some industries and companies have been using this better than others and the reasons behind this.

GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Key Players

Emirates, Expedia Group, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, GAdventures, Intrepid Travel, Marriott International, MakeMyTrip, Oceana Cruises, Qantas Airways, Ryanair

Table of Contents

COVID-19 is now a major theme for 2020

COVID-19 impact on travel and tourism social media

Case studies

Supranational organizations

Destination management organizations (DMO’s)


Lodging providers

Cruise operators

Travel intermediaries

COVID-19 impact on social media

Social Media Sector Scorecard

Who’s who

Thematic screen

Valuation screen

Risk screen

Thematic briefing

What is COVID-19?

Appendix: Our thematic research methodology


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