Using Social Media to Plan Family Travel
The days of planning a family vacation with a paper guide book have long gone by the wayside. Although a trusty guidebook can give a wealth of information, the reality of travel planning for families is that the most up-to-date information is found virtually, on the Internet and across social media platforms.
One of the best tools for travel research is social media. The use of social media to plan family travel allows you to find out basic information about destinations, attractions or properties before booking a trip. Travel planning using social media also allows potential travelers to catch glimpses of activities, ambiance and customer service that can be key factors in differentiating between a satisfactory or out of this world vacation. Here are my four tips to use social media for family travel planning:
One of the best sources for travel inspiration and a glimpse into the big and little moments you might experience while traveling to a particular destination is Instagram. Many destination properties, museums, restaurants and attractions have Instagram accounts allowing you to preview potential activities and experiences. Look for the Visitor’s Bureau for your destination city, as well.
A key tool to using Instagram to plan your next vacation is to use hashtags to search. Start exploring by searching for the hashtag (#) of the name of the city or destination and then exploring the other hashtags that individuals use on their images.
My second favorite vacation planning social media platform is Pinterest. Pinterest not only allows you to search and explore the Pinterest boards of destinations or others that might have traveled to a particular place, but it can be used as a virtual collage of all the places and things you are interested in exploring to help craft your perfect itinerary. Start a board to hold all of the links for your next destination — or anywhere you dream about visiting! See Hilton Hotels & Resorts on Pinterest for inspiration.
Pinterest has recently introduced “place pins” which allow you to use a map of a particular location to search for or pin images. This added detail enables users to get information like addresses while they are on the go as well as in the planning stages.
Facebook incorporates many research and planning aspects in one place. In addition to photos or information about special events, a Facebook page for a destination is likely to highlight special amenities and features and allows you to start a conversation with the destination or attraction. Travelers can ask questions or read the questions of others.
Many travel companies and brands frequently offer special incentives for Facebook fans including discounted rates or special promotions just for checking in using Facebook. For example, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Honors often share incentives and special offers on their Facebook pages and many Hilton hotel properties around the world have their own pages.
Additionally, although many small restaurants or stores that you might be interested in exploring during a vacation may not have a dedicated website, chances are good that they have a Facebook page allowing guests to interact and get information before, during and after a trip.
Although all communication on Twitter happens in 140 characters or less, this social media platform is used by many travelers as a place to ask questions of travel brands and destinations. As they do on Facebook, many destinations, properties or attractions also have a Twitter presence to share happenings, special events or amenities.
In addition, I have seen travelers Tweeting questions to airlines about lost luggage, delayed flights, ticketing snafus — and obtaining answers much more quickly than having waited on the telephone as the automated loop of music dulls your senses. Many companies, like Hilton which runs a Guest assistance account for Hilton (@HiltonHelp), are ready to answer questions day and night to help travelers in need of answers.
Hilton also provides information on destinations, news and offers through @HiltonHotels and insider tips for exploring a new city with @HiltonSuggests. Reach out to us anytime with questions or comments — we’d love to hear from you!
One thing is clear: once you use social media to plan family travel, it will be hard to revert back to a guidebook.
You may also like:
- Planning Your Best Family Vacation
- Helpful Domestic Travel Apps
- See all of Hilton Hotels & Resorts social media sites.
Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!