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Travel Planning

According to travel market research firm PhocusWright, social networking is one of the most powerful forces driving travel planning today. The firm found that social media use among travelers is growing far faster than the travel industry itself. Unique monthly visitors to social travel sites jumped 34% between the first half of 2008 and the last half of 2009.

The company found that Facebook users who are referred to travel booking sites are far more likely to book travel than those who are referred via search engines like Google.  That's the power of "wisdom of friends," which was a key factor behind TripAdvisor's new Trip Friend initiative.

TripAdvisor, which attracts 34 million unique users a month and houses more than 35 million traveler reviews, worked very closely with Facebook to create the Trip Friends application. Trip Friends harnesses the concept of Facebook's social graph to enable trip planners to get travel reviews and ask questions of trusted friends. The company reasoned that you'll pay a lot more attention to the advice of like-minded acquaintances than complete strangers.