The elaborate convolution of social media, selfies and instant status updates in today's culture is having an immediate impact on where and why we go on vacation. For those who are completely absorbed by the selfie phenomena, determining an ideal vacation spot is no easy task. Gone are the days when temperature and climate took precedence in choosing a travel destination. Today, a new kind of selection process is upon us, one heavily regulated by the proliferation of social media and the ability to instantly share every aspect of visiting a certain part of the country/world.
Receiving a 'Social Return' from Your Trip
Receiving a 'social return' from your vacation is a relatively new concept, but one that's being taken very seriously by travelers nonetheless. Vacation experiences must now encompass feed-friendly moments, ones you can share instantly across social media. Potential vacation goers are attracted to specific destinations with the allure of increasing their influence among their social followers. (After all who doesn't love a few Instagram likes?) For example, the appeal of sharing your vacation to Fiji while paddle boarding among dolphins resonates with potential vacation goers far more than a trip to see antiquated statues in Hungary. Thus, specific locations are being booked far quicker than others, simply because social media is playing a factor in the decision making.
Chauffeured Selfie Excursions
Why take an excursion when you can take a "selfie" excursion? Various companies within the tourism and hospitality industries are capitalizing on the popularity of the selfie and catering to those who cannot resist the temptation to snap some pics. In Paris, at the Mandarin Oriental for example, special trips are offered by the hotel for people on the hunt for the perfect selfie. Guests can book a chauffeur and luxury car for the day, one that has its very own Wi-Fi connection, and be shuttled around "The City of Light" to the most popular tourist attractions. Along the way, guests can take selfies at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, among other popular city landmarks, then instantly upload them to all their social media accounts for friends and family to see.
The Quokka: Possibly the World's Most Photogenic Selfie Taking Animal
Not only are specific destinations a hot spot for selfie lovers, but certain animals are as well. Specifically, travelers are converging on Rottnest Island in Australia to take a selfie with a quokka, a short-tailed wallaby with a ginormous, photogenic smile.
Until recently, few people outside of Australia had never heard of the quokka. Now hundreds of thousands of tourists per year are making the trip to Rottnest Island just to capture a picture with the furry animal. Dubbed the "happiest animal in the world," the quokka is equally cute as it is dangerous, as the creature is known for biting and even hospitalizing tourists. Is it worth the risk? Some people seem to think so...
The Power of the Selfie
The influence of the selfie in today's society has spiraled out of control, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It has become a staple of today's millennials and even an official word in the dictionary. Travel goers these days are actively searching for destination hot spots that cater to social media. For that reason alone, people are going to great lengths to capture a selfie representative of their experience and worthy of a few likes/comments. And when I say great lengths, I literally mean great lengths, as in traveling across the country.
While people go as far as seeking out a cool new vacation spot for the purpose of the social media, there is a cycle to note here. Selfies that users view on their feed, depicting a cool location or attraction, actually act as a catalyst for viewers to travel to that particular destination. It's a selfie world these days, we're all just living in it and traveling through it.