Travel Is Facebook’s Most Popular Subject, So Why Isn’t The Industry Taking Advantage?

CellPhoneColiseum650Last November, Facebook revealed that more people share travel and vacations on the social network than anything else. Our money would have been on pictures of kids or food, and that’s pretty interesting in itself — it suggests that travel talk and pictures of famous landmarks don’t actually bother us that much. If they did, they’d be up there with baby photos and restaurant dinners and everything else we hate about our Facebook feed (like BitStrips and fake video links).

And, really, it makes sense. Whether you admit it or not, Facebook is a form of escapism — a chance to get away, dip into other people’s lives, and be somewhere else. That’s why travel works, and why pictures of sticky babies and half-eaten spaghetti do not.

If you think about all the travel advertisements you’ve seen, you’ll notice they all rely heavily on visuals — deserted beaches, bustling cities, sunsets, clear skies. Images allow you to imagine yourself there.

Then, if you think how many people use Facebook to make their lives seem glamorous, exciting, or enviable — and then add Instagram filters into the mix — you have millions of users taking beautiful, scenic travel shots and posting them online to make themselves seem more interesting.

Obviously, this is great news for travel companies, so why aren’t they taking full advantage of it?

If Facebook users are pretty much advertising for them, and friends of these users are getting inspired by the pictures they see in their News Feeds, then surely the best place to get people buying their own travel would also be on Facebook.

A handful of businesses do seem to have realized this, but not as many as you’d expect. There’s Delta Air Lines for flights:

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 13.25.54

And Direct Ferries for cruises:

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 14.15.01

But even so, it seems strange that more businesses aren’t offering this service. It’s obviously possible, or else the above brands wouldn’t be doing it.

Airbnb’s Facebook application will direct you to its website (but only once Airbnb has access to your email address, basic info, and permission to post on your wall), so despite having more than 1 million users, even it isn’t totally streamlining its services.

But why? Perhaps it all comes down to privacy concerns, the cost of app development, or the fact that users might not be comfortable booking vacations through social media.

Readers: Would you consider buying your flights or cruises through Facebook? If not, why not?

Colosseum image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Facebook Marketing

Facebook MarketingStarting Janaury 13, work with the group marketing manager of social media at Microsoft/BingAds to build a fan base and grow your business on Facebook! In this course, Geoffrey Colon will teach you how to set up and enhance your company page, understand best practices and measuring your success, execute a monthly content strategy, and incorporate Facebook into your overall marketing efforts. Register now!