A Facebook take on travel in 2014 – silent, blurred and visual

What a difference a year makes – or does it?

A year ago during Enter 2013, Facebook global marketing solutions specialist Aoife Desmond shared some insight into Zucks Law, travel companies being creative with social media marketing and Millennials.

Fast forward 12 months and Desmond steps up again, this time at Enter 2014 in Dublin last month.

Again, she hat-tipped some brands – KLM, Starwood and Secret Escapes – for their social media successes and touched on Zucks Law but she also shared her “top five travel trends for 2014” (most of which were outlined by a colleague back at the PhoCusWright conference in November 2013 and also a few summarised as below in a trends report on Skift in January this year):

  • The rise of the silent traveller – consumers who have adapted to mobile and are big online users, they want to carve their own path and don’t want/need hand holding. They are aged 35 to 55 and seeking authentic experiences. Why is the trend important? Because travel companies need to collect and use data to find these people and address them in a relevant way that adds value and saves time for this segment of travellers.
  • The continued blurring of business and leisure travel – this one has also been tipped by Expedia in recent months in terms of how do travel companies cater for this tourist. Desmond cites Mygola as a great example of a company solving the “dynamic itinerary debacle.”
  • The rise of local in hospitality – guests don’t want to know the hotel has got a bed but what is local and what is the experience they are going to get. Desmond points to the success of companies such as Airbnb and suggests hotels could work with other suppliers in a locality to help boost the overall product. And, a quick reference to graph search here which Desmond says is ‘really nice’ for travel and adds that a lot of people question why it has not been monetised yet.

“It is something we are evolving, there is not a roadmap but it is something we know people really want.”

  • Curation – you only have to look at check-in around the world to see people are becoming curators of their own content, seeking out advocates and interacting with them. She also talks about the Paradox of Choice and how curation can help with the growth in last-minute booking in terms of saving time and adding value.
  • Visuals are the new language of travel marketing – Desmond points to the 600 emerging photo applications on the market last year and shares the Instagram short film (Thomas Jullien) created by compiling more than 800 images from the Facebook-owned image sharing service.

Brands such as Tourism Australia are really tapping into this trend. The organisation makes good use of fans to promote the destination and says Desmond:

“Tourism Australia has just posted one of its brand advocates. Some of the comments are so heart-felt, it makes me feel really good about the destination.”

What does this all boil down to – one big marketing push for Facebook? Of course, with mentions of custom audiences and lookalike audiences (frequent fliers, business class passengers etc) to help businesses tailor their messages to different segments – premium brand buyer, Android user, adventure travel etc.

But, there’s also a take-out here about using data that exists already.

“Think about your consumer and all the things we can share. Working with that is a first good step, there are loads of opportunities for you to not have to spend time gathering your own data but leveraging what’s there. We’re going to be in a world where those that don’t personalise are not going to be there.”

facebook marketing

It also feeds nicely into Facebook’s own research, published in November, on its role in the travel cycle with key findings including:

  • People are trying to navigate the infinity of data and make decisions about their lives and travel, which is the biggest industry on Facebook. More people share travel than talk about births, deaths and pets.
  • 51% of people say travel is one of the top three posts they see on the social network.
  • 64% agree they would not know about friends holidays if it was not for Facebook and 84% are inspired by friends’ holidays.
  • 70% say they can easily imagine going to a place if they see friends and family have been there.
  • 52% say when they use FB they start dreaming about a holiday even when they did not have one planned.
  • 74% agree they will only book once they feel confident to do so and friends and family play a role in this.
  • 83% agree even more confident when friends and family validate/recommend.

NB: Paris image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda is Managing Editor for tnooz. For the past decade, she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine. In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management, and research companies. Prior to her freelance career, she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. divyanshu

    Very informative post giving some insightful stats. Kudos!

  2. Mike Nobi

    Great insights, thanks Linda!

    Can you provide a link or name of the Facebook research published in November that you mentioned?

  3. Matt Zito

    I definitely believe we will see the rise of local in hospitality. Nice article

    Matt Zito
    Founder, TravelStartups.co

  4. Sarah Blinco

    Great piece, really informative and I agree with the predicted trends. Thanks for the article.

  5. Joah Spearman

    Probably one of the most informative post on Tnooz in awhile and one that makes me nod my head throughout.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @joah – yup, it’s interesting…

      When Aoife’s colleague Sam Lessin talked about most of these trends back in November last year, quite a few in the audience were nodding (perhaps some reluctantly), because – at least from a Facebook perspective – this is perhaps a kind of a new wave.

      But it’s also worth mentioning that for all the predictions and apparent changes in behaviour, much of how the industry still works and no doubt will continue to work goes unnoticed or scarcely mentioned.

  6. Tony Carne

    Couldn’t agree more with “The rise of local in hospitality – guests don’t want to know the hotel has got a bed but what is local and what is the experience they are going to get……. and suggests hotels could work with other suppliers in a locality to help boost the overall product”. Any hotel groups looking to plug straight into this – give us a shout. We’re ready with value add practical solutions that are simple and painless.


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