Marketing to Moms: 75 Percent of Moms Do Not Use Social Media for Travel Planning

February 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the most surprising discoveries in travel planning for 2010 was 75 percent of Moms say they do not use social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube) when planning their family vacation.

In our new WhyMomsRule.com 2010 Family Travel Survey, there was a majority of each generation group not using social media for planning the family getaway (Gen Y, 65 percent; Gen X, 73 percent; Baby Boomers, 86 percent).

How can that be? The results are even more shocking when you look at the amazingly high level of social media participation by Moms.  The findings of a recent BIGresearch survey published in January 2010 found that Moms are much more likely to use Facebook, MySpace and Twitter than the average adult. In fact, the number of Moms using social media has jumped 462 percent since 2006.

There is no doubt of the importance of the Internet in planning.  In fact, 52 percent of Moms are using the Internet more to read and learn about destinations and accommodations.  And 30 percent are using the Internet to book their vacations.

Of those 25 percent who are using social media for vacation planning, they read reviews on destinations and accommodations, look up pictures and ask others for advice.

Reliability of Social Media Is the Issue

But while Moms recognize the wealth of information sources, they do not consider all of them reliable. The social media sources that appear to be the most trusted are user review sites such as TripAdvisor. More than 56 percent of Moms rated user reviews as somewhat or very reliable. While all other sources fared worse, the one additional surprise was in mobile usage. Gen Y Moms specifically considered mobile updates just as reliable as blogs.

Source                              Reliability

  • User Reviews                      56%
  • Blogs                                    22%
  • Facebook                             21%
  • Mobile Phone                     17%
  • YouTube                              13%
  • MySpace                              11%
  • Twitter                                 10%
  • Flickr                                     8%

According to Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer, the number of people who view their friends and peers as credible sources of information about a company dropped from 45 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2010.  Edelman thinks that consumers have to see and hear things in five different places before they believe it.  With Facebook and Twitter “friends” growing in number, credibility goes down.  Consumers no longer just trust an opinion; it must be the opinion of someone they know and share similar views.   Another 2010 study sponsored by ARAnet also shows that consumers rely less on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace when making consumer-buying decisions.

Implications for Mom Marketers

I know that many of you are rushing to experiment with Facebook, blogs and more.  It seems so easy, so inexpensive, so trendy.  But beware.  The implication for travel marketers is that social media is very important to Moms but there is still a trust factor that must be developed in social media.  And social media should not replace the trusted forms of communication that Moms are currently relying on for information and deals:

  • Online travel agents                                   51%
  • Friends and family                                     41%
  • Airline/hotel/destination Web sites      39%

Some Effective Ways of Using Social Media for Travel

Social media will continue to become an influencer, so the key to marketing is to begin to learn how to use it effectively.  Here are some tips:

  1. Last Minute Deals.  Airlines like United Airlines and JetBlue and hotels like Hard Rock are telling their customers about last minute inventory that can be had at bargain prices.  They are using real-time platforms like Twitter to communicate these bargains.  These deals are probably good loyalty reinforcements for current followers.
  2. Add Reviews to Your Site.   Mashable.com reports that one-third of retailers have experienced 13-20 percent increase in conversions as a result of adding reviews to their site.  And adding reviews from a source like TripAdvisor would be the most important.
  3. Use Social Media As a Listening Post.  Learn from what people are saying on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  See how often people use your destination in sites like TripIt.
  4. Enhance Their Visit with Mobile Applications.  Turn their cell phone into a concierge and information service.  Allow them to see what is going on in your destination and book services. Allow them to share photos from your destination.

For more information, download the travel survey results by clicking here.

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