I have a confession to make. I love looking at pictures of food my friends post while they are on vacation. As a mom, wife and entrepreneur (not always in that order) I can’t travel as much as I used to for leisure. So I have become addicted to living virtually, or should I say “eating virtually” through my network on social media and looking at pictures and reviews posted by others as well.
The explosion known as “eat and tweet” has spread tremendously across all network feeds showcasing a delectable array of culinary masterpieces. It appears I’m not alone in my obsession. I just read in an Australian survey that over half of millennials post pictures of their meals. New Mintel research shows that posting food pics equates to approximately 29.2 million hungry amateur food photographers every month. It also seems that woman post more regularly than men when it comes to sharing their dining experience.
Why share food photos especially when you are taking time off the grid to relax and enjoy some special moments with your family? The experience of dining together over a delicious meal stimulates some of the happiest memories for all of us. There is something about being away from home and anticipating that delicious local dinner experience that adds to the specialness and uniqueness of any travel journey.
In a time when we are all busy and often are not able to eat together, it’s no surprise that when on vacation meals actually become a major part of the daily travel itinerary. For some, it’s the excitement of being served an array of fresh caught lobster off the coast of Maine paired with a beautiful glass of Chardonnay on the ocean. For others, it might be taking the kids to the Max Brenner restaurant in New York and sharing a marshmallow fondue tower with a side of O.M.G. Chocolate Chunk Cookie. Whatever the motivation we want our dining times to be fun, tasty and create a memorable experience that gives us time away from routine. The problem is how do we remember all the good stuff we see others posting when it’s our time to travel?
Travel companies have an opportunity to help their customers by proactively incorporating curated content around the traveler’s itinerary as well as providing travelers with an easy way to incorporate recommendations from their personal and social networks into the trip planning experience. In fact, 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media (source: Vocus). Being able to socially collaborate on such granular details as, “Where was it that you had the best steak dinner in Buenos Aires?” to “what are the best Broadway shows and events happening in New York?”
By solving the problem, a TMC, agency, hotel or DMO can virally capture the attention of a consumer’s friends within their social networks. Revenue streams open up while also providing a genuine collaborative and social experience to customers. Our inherent love of food along with a passion for travel makes it easy to share ideas, experiences and things that become “bucket list worthy” with our friends. Having one place to capture and organize trip details, whether its food, hotels, events or attractions, is worth sharing, liking and re-tweeting about!