Social Media’s Positive Impact



July 26, 2019


home-heroTechnology has endless promise for improving tourism management and our quality of life. Sending real-time parking data to smartphones and routing people away from crowded trails are just the tip of the iceberg.

But sustainability-through-tech is nothing new for our social media management team. A recent study by Destination Analysts, a San Francisco-based company specializing in tourism research, shows @VisitSedona’s silent army of 212,000 social media followers on Facebook and Instagram deliver a powerful economic punch while aligning with our sustainable visitor profile.

With our social media outward facing, most Sedonans are unaware of this carefully cultivated group of prosperous, engaged travelers, which is growing every day. At the time of the study, our 130,00 Facebook fans and 49,000 Instagram followers spend $13.7 million in Sedona.

The study shows our messaging of natural beauty, environmental stewardship, spirituality, relaxation, hospitality, art and excellent dining influence our followers to visit Sedona. Once here, they stay longer – 2.9 days per visit – and spend more – $309 per day for Facebook fans and $277 per day for Instagrammers.

Equally important, they tend to visit during the need periods of May, June and July. They are wide open to our ideas for enjoying a memorable and sustainable experience in off-peak season.

A substantial number say they did more activities, shopped, dined in a certain restaurant or visited an attraction as a direct result of our social media posts.

In other words, these numerous and devoted Sedona followers are ready-made, prototypical sustainable tourism visitors.

They wield considerable online authority by sharing experiences with their broader community, creating a positive ripple effect among people who share their interests and backgrounds. This helps us promote sustainability by reaching an audience already primed to be influenced.

Here is another relevant data point: 78% on Facebook and 73% on Instagram say the content of our posts influenced them to increase the length of their stay – by 2.1 days for Facebookers and 1.6 days for Instagrammers. That translates into even more economic activity with no related increase in traffic.

You are probably wondering about the difference between the two groups. Both are overwhelmingly female, about 75% for both Instagram and Facebook, and each group is better off than the average American household. The Facebook crowd is older (54 years) and more settled (70% married or partnered) than Instagrammers, and less likely than Instagrammers to have children younger than 18.

Instagrammers average 37 years of age and more than a third (36%) are unattached. They are more likely to have a college education (70% vs. 53%). Instagrammers have a higher average income ($88,154) than our Facebook fans ($80,226), though each group is well above the national average.

The power of effective social media is not only worth millions to Sedona but it will continue to serve as an eloquent voice for stewardship, responsible travel messages and sustainability.
You can read the entire report at under ‘Reports and Research.’

Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO