I’m of an older generation. A boomer apparently. I remember when cell phones were huge and heavy and required a separate case with a handle to carry them around. When I went on vacation I sent postcards that required a stamp and used the postal service, so the card usually found its way to the recipient several weeks after we got home. We took photographs with cameras that had film that got processed at great expense and took days before the prints could be picked up. Sharing the vacation experience was delayed. I remember the excitement at going into Boots the Chemist (a British equivalent of Walgreens) to collect the package of pictures only to find that most were blurred and the remainder were of groups of people missing either heads or feet.
Still, we shared those with our workmates and talked excitedly about what a great time we had until the memories faded to a pleasant recollection. Oh, and we used travel agents to book vacations after spending hours poring through the glossy brochures, or took our chances on a villa rental via a classified ad in a newspaper with varying degrees of success.
Those were the good old days of being accepting of the vagaries of vacation rental – the odd mouse poop or spider web made no difference whatsoever; if the roof leaked when it rained, we just put down pans and bowls, and when the power went out we played Monopoly by candlelight and told ghost stories.
I’m not saying that was better – if you ever met me in person, you would notice fairly quickly I have a passion for technology. My purse contains a tangle of Apple device chargers; my briefcase contains both a Windows laptop and a Mac Air and I am usually carrying a Canon T3, a Sony digital camcorder and a smaller digital camera. Plus the iPhone of course…and an iPad.
Where I’m going with all this is that our guests are mostly savvy with sharing devices now. They don’t need to wait till they get back from vacation before they write a blog post, send a tweet or update their Facebook timeline with some pithy comment about their stay. If something wows them, they will take a photograph and share it with Instagram; a video featuring your place can find its way to Youtube in an instant with mobile enabled videocams, and a comment on the state of your knives is winging its way to Twitter before they get through cutting the first tomato.
There’s a great advantage to this if what is shared is positive – it’s a form of viral marketing that doesn’t cost a cent and when it’s spread to friends and family of your guests, there’s a good chance it is reaching your preferred demographic. So, it’s worthwhile giving some attention to making the experience special and creating something your guests are likely to share.
What do you share while on your vacations? Is is before or after you get home?