On March 15, Experian Hitwise reported that Facebook.com has surpassed Google.com as the most popular Web site in the United States. Indeed, Facebook accounted for 7.07% of all U.S. Web site visits for the week ending March 13, compared with Google.com’s 7.03% share.
eedless to say, last week the industry was abuzz with this exciting news. We heard questions tossed around like: “Is Facebook going to replace Google?” and “Are we missing big revenue opportunities by not advertising on Facebook?”
You can relax. Facebook is definitely here to stay and has experienced tremendous growth, but it is not going to replace Google as a travel planning tool anytime soon. Here are the reasons why:
When consumers want to buy books online, they go to Amazon.com. When people want to buy new laptops or PCs online, they go to Dell.com, Apple.com or BestBuy.com.
When people plan travel they go to:
- Search Engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing
- Meta Search Engines: Kayak.com
- OTAs: Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.
- Major hotel brand websites: Marriott.com, Hilton.com, etc.
- Independent/boutique/luxury hotel Web sites
- Consumer review sites like TripAdvisor.com to check out what their peers think of certain hotels, once they have narrowed down their choices
About 84% of Americans plan travel online, according to Travel Idustry Association, using the above approaches. In other words, social networks are not the first options that come to mind when planning a business trip or family vacation. Many travel consumer surveys attest to the above behavior, time and again.
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