Today, social media has become as essential as our daily needs. People have so many communication options through social media. They can search, interact, and share information with other people without hassle. As a result, opportunities for digital tourism expand dramatically.

The existence of social media brings significant marketing opportunities to tourism. Thus, social media and tourism marketing are said to be a match made in digital heaven. Using social media for digital tourism marketing is one of the best strategies there is. Marketers can gain benefits from 150 million internet users which all have an active social network with an average time spent of 3 hours per day. This is a great opportunity for marketers, including those in the field of tourism, to provide exposure and expand awareness of tourist destinations in Indonesia to the world, through social media. In addition to that, social media is also a very important tool for tourism to help understand customer’s decision-making process, tourists’ behavior during vacation, as well as post-vacation activities.

Social media penetration in Indonesia is currently high with a penetration rate of over 86%, and Facebook as the most used social network in Indonesia (JAKPAT survey report), followed then by YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The high penetration consequently makes Indonesia one of the largest social media markets in the world. For social media marketing, influencers are among the sources that the Indonesian audience refers to for the decision making or consideration process. Travel blogs have been a prominent traveling information reference by the audience before they proceed to get substituted by travel influencers or influencers who do travel content.

As a country that is very rich in the tourism field, the local government has then decided to target the millennial travelers through these influencers. The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia has planned to work towards “Instagrammable” tourism destinations and list it as trending topics. With the purpose of boosting brand awareness in a certain tourist area, the government collaborates with an artist or a well-known person who is a native of this particular area to promote its tourist attractions. For example, Glenn Fredly is working with the government to promote Ambon through social media.

To help promote the tourist area, travel providers and tourism ministry frequently work together with these travel bloggers and influencers. Before travelling, whether a local or foreign destination, people usually look for reviews about the desirable destination. This is where the role of travel bloggers and influencers become crucial in creating a good image of various tourist destinations in Indonesia. For travel providers, partnering with influencers can gain a certain level of trust. People trust influencers like they trust their best friend. So, partnering with travel bloggers or influencers might be one of the greatest marketing strategies for tourism marketing.

The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia has “Wonderful Indonesia” as a national branding for Indonesian tourism which has been performing very well. In 2017, Indonesia ranked 20th as the world’s biggest tourism industry and ranked 9th as the fastest-growing tourism sector in the whole world. Through effective communication and media strategy used in social media, the Ministry of Tourism has successfully increased the brand awareness of “Wonderful Indonesia”.

That being said, social media and tourism are truly a heavenly match because tourism or traveling is an experience-based activity. Looking at how involved social media is in customers’ traveling experience, it is quite wise to continue involving social media in digital tourism marketing and see how it could ultimately be the kind of digital transformation we all needed.

Author: Rainerio Bernadiaz (Social Media Group Head)