To Show Off or Switch Off? Travelzoo Survey Finds Travelers Torn between Social Media and Desire to Disconnect
If you didn’t post it on your social media channels, did it even happen? As social media continues to influence the way people travel, the Travelzoo Fall Travel Trends Survey* uncovered that travelers are finding themselves at a crossroads of FOMO (fear of missing out) and the desire for relaxation, as they’re torn between their need to share their vacation adventures on social media and a wish to digitally disconnect while away.
Drive for the Out of the Ordinary
FOMO is impacting travel decisions, as more than half (53%) of respondents said they feel pressure to book unique or exotic vacations, and 40% feel pressure to take more adventurous vacations. In fact, adventure is a growing theme among travelers, with one in six respondents feeling compelled to be more adventurous than they really are, while one in three (34%) feel a vacation is actually wasted without adventurous experiences. Younger travelers were most likely to say that they felt they had wasted time on vacation, with 24% of millennials and 29% of Generation Xers saying they didn’t experience enough at their vacation destination.
Much of this drive for fun, unexpected experiences can be tied to how vacation photos translate on social media. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed agree that social media is driving up the need to experience more on vacation, and almost a third (30%) of travelers are booking trips based on whether they think the destination or activity will serve up visually compelling social media content.
The Digital Disconnect
Despite the desire to put up a positive and exciting front on social media, there is a growing interest in trips that allow travelers to disconnect even more. In fact, half of respondents said cutting digital ties enhances the appeal of a trip. Rationale for wanting to cut the cord was due to feeling they check email too often (28%), are jaded by the news (27%) and feel too tied to a phone (22%). With the mounting stresses of everyday life, it’s not surprising that the top goals of most travelers are still relaxing (56%) and enjoying great food (44%).
Meaningful Experiences Count
Regardless of age, nearly half of respondents (44%) feel an original or meaningful experience is important when booking a vacation. Spiritual benefits or personal growth resonates with a quarter of all respondents, with Generation Z (58%) and millennials (39%) placing more emphasis on those outcomes than those of the baby boomers (18%) or those born before 1946 (28%). 10% of travelers stay active by contributing to the local community when on a vacation. Millennials are more likely to feel to need to give back, while just 2% of boomers say the same.
“With newsfeeds full of envy-inducing photos, it is no wonder that travelers feel torn between their desire to post their instagrammable vacation experiences while also stepping away from it all,” says Mike Stitt, Travelzoo’s President of North America. “It’s important to get real memories and experiences on your next vacation and not just post about them—actually tasting the truffles before tweeting about them!”
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About the Research
*The Travelzoo Fall Travel Trends Survey was completed by 1,000 consumers in the United States who responded to an online questionnaire distributed by third-party research agency SWNS Media Group. The questionnaires were completed July 21–23, 2017.