|Social platforms give travelers the opportunity to easily share destination advice and their thoughts on travel.|
While talking with the “35 Under 30” travel agents we profiled in our November 5 issue, one of the topics that generated significant response was the role social media can and should play in an agent’s career and how these social channels should be used for professional purposes. After all, the travel and hospitality industries rely heavily on the use of word-of-mouth for destination suggestions and recommendations, and the consensus is that social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook give travelers the opportunity to easily share destination advice and their thoughts on travel—which can be invaluable in a world driven by technology.
Andrew Browning, AdventureSmith Explorations, believes that “Social media can be used as a tool in a lot of interesting ways, such as focusing on trying to provide a way for clients to interact with the company.” Ann Coleman, Travel Beyond, says “Social media will soon take over the world and travel agents should keep up with the trend.” She adds, however, that these “should only be used for fun, lighthearted purposes” by offering special deals via Twitter and Facebook, and sharing photos, travels and destination advice, which gets other travelers excited about their trips. Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is another great way to promote travel agencies by sharing photos and articles of the places travelers have visited.
Stephanie LeCompte, LeCompte Travel, and Zach Wolf, Tzell Travel Group, both told us that they depend on these media as a platform to stay connected with other young professionals and entrepreneurs from their client base. They and others also agree that Facebook and such also allow agents to meet new clients or build stronger relationships with old ones.
Hotels and the Under-30 Set
Social media also comes into play as global hotel companies focus heavily on attracting technology-obsessed Generation Y travelers. Our 35 Under 30 agents were quick to respond when asked, “If you could tell the industry, ‘Hey! This is what we really want in a hotel stay,’ what would you say?”
Michael Majcherczyk, Classic Travel, recommends that “the best ways to attract a younger demographic would be by targeting the right market, specifically via social media or Internet” because that is where they spend most of their time.
Anna Cropper, All Inclusive Outlet, says young travelers want to be connected to Wi-Fi when they plug in iPads, laptops and other devices, and seek more options in nightly entertainment.
Ryan Mielke, Regency Travel, does not care if Wi-Fi costs a few extra dollars a day. “Just add it into the daily rate.” As young travelers, “We hate the feeling of paying additional for something we take for granted in our everyday life,” he says.
However, Sylvia Betesh, Ovation Travel Group, argues that most young travelers want more than multiple electrical outlets to charge devices. They are looking for a personal connection, whether the concierge and you are on a first-name basis or the “safari ranger specifically tracks a rhino because he knows that it’s your favorite animal.”
Owen Gaddis, SmartFlyer, says that his generation looks for “location, comfort, uniqueness, amenities and value.”
What bothers some under-30 travelers the most is that, because of their young age, they are not taken seriously at luxury hotels. “Every client wants to feel special and important,” Betesh says. “You never remember the thread count of your sheets, but you will always remember the friends you met abroad.”