Juan Ignacio Ramiro Dussillat

Attitudes and trends in the era of visual-digital tourism

Juan Ignacio Ramiro Dussillat

Attitudes and trends in the era of visual-digital tourism

Trabitat Project. Report of results

In recent decades and following the arrival of Covid-19, the tourism sector has had to face new challenges, making it necessary to establish strategies that promote greater integration of new technologies and servitisation processes. As SEGITTUR states in its 2021 report, the competitiveness of Spanish tourism must be based on the ability to achieve a sustainable and intelligent tourism model (pp. 53). As a result, technology is one of the key elements in maintaining a competitive advantage.

We live and grow up in a visually oriented culture. It is therefore not surprising that social networks have become the new tourist showcase. Applications such as You Tube, Tiktok and Instagram are a meeting point for thousands of travellers who want not only to be informed, but also to recreate themselves in the content itself, acquiring a certain satisfaction through the brief escapism offered by visual consumption. Video reviews, curiosities and live experiences are some of the many categories that can be found in the virtual world and that encourage the strengthening of online communities as well as the desire to know and explore.

In order to understand the travel content most in demand by users and the behaviours they adopt on digital platforms, Global Journey Consulting has been conducting the Trabitat research study over the last few months, which was divided into two phases. In the first phase, which was qualitative, 40 in-depth interviews of between 30 and 60 minutes were conducted. 

When selecting the sample, variables such as age, gender, degree of travel experience and level of use of social networks, among others, were taken into account. In addition, questions related to digital functionalities, the transformation of the concept of "travel" and the integration of new technologies were also explored during these interviews. The quantitative phase was based on the elaboration and mass dissemination of an online questionnaire, with the aim of contrasting the data obtained during the qualitative process. 

Based on the results obtained from the study, the most important conclusions are the following:

1. The presence of digital media is transversal

Both adults and young people use new technologies - to a greater or lesser extent - to search for information on leisure, tourism, and lifestyle. However, the older the age, the greater the preference for text format (when gathering information).

The consumption of tourism and leisure content in video format is more widespread among the younger population, due to a greater presence on social networks. Even so, it tends to be consulted more during the planning process, especially in the case of YouTube, which encourages the desire to get to know and live the experiences that are visualized.

2. The story exerts a great power of attraction.

Younger travellers are more likely to watch videos and video blogs featuring travellers sharing their personal experiences. Some of those interviewed say they prefer this format to documentaries or official travel programmes. This is due to two main reasons: the time savings and the feeling of proximity generated between the viewer and the narrator.

3.  Multi-search is the norm

Users often use a combination of tools to obtain information, visiting websites as well as You Tube, Instagram and TikTok videos. These types of networks are considered the starting point. Through them, interviewees access a type of content that arouses their interest and makes them consider the destination for future trips. In this way, they are a way of generating curiosity.

4. Tourists are tired of surfing 

Across all age groups, there is a certain interest in the mention of platforms that can bring together all relevant content in one place. This tells us about the exhaustion of users regarding the long searches they must carry out in order to find information about hotels, prices, tours, etc.

GJC Results Report - Trabitat Project (2023).pdf

5. There is mistrust towards "classic" promotional videos.

Currently, there is a certain rejection of this type of audiovisual products, due to the idea that they manipulate desires and motivate people to visit the same places and do the same activities. According to the interviewees, tourism videos tend to focus too much on aesthetics and not so much on quality information that assists the traveller during his or her journey. In this way, they see them as a way of selling the destination and influencing tourist consumption habits, leaving aside the needs of tourists and therefore being empty of useful content.

6.  It is necessary to listen to the needs of all types of travellers. 

We need to pay attention to the starting conditions that users experience and that inform their travel experience and the decisions they make during their trip. This is the case, for example, for large families, people with disabilities, people travelling with dependents, etc. From this perspective, it is difficult to find content or official channels that offer information and facilitate the development of their trips.

7.  New ways of consuming leisure and tourism are emerging every day.

Another outstanding format is the podcast. One of the advantages of this type of content is based on the specialized nature that they can present. Nowadays it is possible to find podcasts on travel with a feminist perspective, top destinations for retired people or even tips for trips as a single mother. The key factor is the inclusion of experts and experts in the different chapters, which generates greater attraction and provides authoritative arguments. In addition, the possibility of listening to it while doing other activities also becomes another of its strong points. 

8.  Age gap in the conception of the journey 

Older people tend to adopt a relaxed, present-moment attitude, while the younger generation is more obsessed with being productive and visiting all the important places in the destination. Thus, they feel the need to want to do and see everything, even if this means not being able to fully enjoy and be aware of what one is visiting.


Juan Ignacio Ramiro Dussillat 

Degree in Sociology, International Relations and Expert in Development from the Complutense University of Madrid. 

He is currently studying for a Master's degree in Research Methodology in Social Sciences: Innovations and Applications.

Global Journey Consulting.

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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