Learning the Ropes: Social Media’s Role in Luxury Travel

Market ResearchLuxury VacationSocial Media

Learning the Ropes: Social Media’s Role in Luxury Travel

What do first-generation college students and luxury travelers have in common? More than you might think.

Our 2022 US Luxury Traveler Breakout Report on Income Differences contains some incredible findings that companies and brands can use to appeal to their luxury clientele. Here is one such finding: 

Households with incomes of $100k - $249k
are more likely to turn to social media
for luxury vacation ideas and inspirations
than their wealthier counterparts.

Why would these travelers turn to social media for vacation inspiration? For the same reason I used social media to help me navigate a Ph.D. program as a first-generation college student – acculturation and learning the ropes.

I was the first in my family to attend college (much less graduate school), and with that came some learning curves. Conversely, some of my classmates came from families with advanced degrees, and they understood some of the intricacies (and bureaucracy) of the collegiate world that I had to figure out for myself. They understood what a doctoral dissertation entailed their first year, and they had help from family members who knew the ins and outs of academia. I had a world of support, but it was still tough figuring it out on my own.

When possible, I turned to other people to help fill in the gaps. I turned to social media and spoke with other doctoral students – both in my cohort and those further along in the process. I needed to develop a community to navigate a world I was not familiar with but was determined to succeed in.

Those same feelings of newness and determination might be driving some luxury travelers to social media sites, online travel agencies, and travel review websites.

While the comparison between luxury travel and being a first-generation student is based on my own experience, it makes intuitive sense. Generational knowledge is powerful, particularly because it shapes future behavior. The experiences we grow up with and enjoy carry through to adulthood, where we build upon those experiences.

If you grew up around college graduates, you are more likely to go to college and feel more confident that you can succeed. Similarly, if you grew up flying first class and vacationing in the French Rivera, then that is probably how you like to travel. Regular luxury travelers know where to go, what to do, and what places to visit.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have those experiences or generational knowledge to fall back on, then you may look to others to lead the way. That means going online and learning from your peers on social media.

People don’t know what they don’t know. And if luxury travelers don’t have that generational knowledge and experience, they may not even know what questions to ask. This provides an opportunity for companies that offer luxury brands and experiences.  

We know from our research that all luxury travelers want to be treated like a VIP and have new experiences, whether they make $100k or $250k+ per year

Luxury travel companies can provide information via social media and show them the way. Answer the questions they don’t know to ask. Be their community, show them the ropes, and guide them into the world of luxury travel.

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Published On: January 12th, 2023 / Categories: Market Research, Luxury Vacation, Social Media /

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