Millenials: The Next Wave of Hotel Social Media
Last week, Marriott announced plans to import a European hotel chain aimed specifically at Millenials to the United States. I was actually thinking about Millenials when I was writing about TripAdvisor last week, and Marriott’s announcement just drives home my feelings about the future landscape of hotel social media.
Most of the people I know on Facebook have about 300 friends, and I’d say we’re mostly in the 30-50 age range, but the friends I have that are in their mid-twenties often have five and six hundred (or more!) Pew Internet Research reports that Millenials (18-34) have a mean of 318 friends, while Gen X (35-46) has a mean of 197. Millenials have about 60% more friends on average. It makes sense since they’ve effectively grown up with Facebook; it’s truly a part of their social framework and the volume of their networks shows it.
Social media savvy Millenials with money are the future (and realistically, the present) of the hotel industry, and there are a lot of implications. Marriott obviously gets this, as they import a hotel chain known for keeping its guests connected. What’s been on my mind in terms of social media and the Millenials, however, is TripAdvisor’s ability to show you not only the hotels reviews and recommendations of your friends but also of friends of friends. This has explosive potential when you’re talking about someone who’s 25, has growing amounts of expendable income, and has 600 or more Facebook friends… so how many friends of friends is that? A lot, that’s how many!
Interestingly, as the Marriott article notes:
Millennials value speed and convenience, are more likely to trust advice from peers than people with professional credentials and use technology to connect with more people in real time, the study found.
Peers. We’re not even talking about about friends and family as the leading factor for travel decisions, but peers. A much broader, less defined category. Peers: the new catch-all for trusting the advice of people you don’t necessarily know very well but with whom you’re connected by some commonality (Facebook).