I didn’t find it particularly odd when my wife checked her Facebook account every day while on our honeymoon last year. To begin with, I was just as guilty, perusing my e-mail for news from family and friends while relaying some of our own sun-soaked adventures. But more importantly, her Facebook habits, I thought, were nothing more than a habitual practice that a 700-mile flight couldn’t disentangle.
My wife is not alone, it turns out. According to new survey findings from Wyndham’s Women on Their Way program, almost half (46%) of women access social media through smartphones while traveling.
Now, before you run into your manager’s office screaming about the need to allocate five full-time employees to monitor Facebook, let’s dissect those findings for a minute.
First, the respondents don’t represent all female travelers; the group is skewed noticeably in favor of social-media users. The survey polled 500 women between the ages of 18-50 who had social media accounts and who had taken an overnight trip during the past 12 months.
Second, just because they used social media during doesn’t mean others will be influenced by their updates and tweets and photos and blogs and reviews and litany of other avenues for expression. Remember, findings from Ypartnership suggest social networking sites have a limited influence on travelers’ purchasing habits.
“When we asked those travelers to tell us the extent to which they consult content on the social sites when it comes to getting recommendations about destinations and travel suppliers, the numbers are in low single digits (6%),” the firm’s chairman and CEO Peter Yesawich said during an interview earlier this summer.
However, that’s not to say social networks aren’t growing in use and influence. To say otherwise would be akin to saying the Internet in its entirety is a passing fad.
So perhaps we should focus on the biggest reason WHY women are using social media while traveling: to stay in touch with friends and family and share their experience with others.
That second part deserves particular attention. If travelers are communicating something about their experiences at your hotel, it had better be a very good something—a statement which not only underscores the continued need for exemplary customer service but also continued tracking to make sure all comments and updates are framed within this positive context.
This goes for women and men. Thank God for the impersonal gender neutrality of the Web.