While I was studying abroad at Oxford University over the summer, I planned a weekend trip to London with some other students. It was our first weekend trip, so we did what any traveling college student on a budget would do on their first week abroad… we looked for the cheapest hostel available to ensure that we had enough money to spend on other trips for the rest of the summer. That first week, we committed the biggest mistake that many travelers make: we didn’t read enough reviews.
Now, thanks to various websites (and that less than positive hostel experience), it is easier than ever to make a study of customer reviews a priority for every vacation planning process. Whether you are checking out a condo to rent at the beach, a boutique hotel in a foreign country, or a rental on AirBnB, there are review sites for all of your accommodation needs. For Millennials like me, Getaroom.com is the place to go. There are numerous reviews of smaller, more budget friendly boutique hotels that appeal to my generation of travelers who aren’t afraid to try a quirky B&Bs or an artsy independent hotel.
Getaroom is capitalizing on the most common behavior of Gen Y individuals, which is sharing information and opinions online. Peer reviews and the opinions of friends and family influence many day-to-day purchases, and they are becoming greater influences on how we choose where to stay and what we do on vacation. The best part: it’s never been easier to share or discover reviews thanks to review sites and Social Media.
Customer reviews are great resources for guests who are looking for potential places to stay, but they can present a challenge to hotel management. When I am planning a trip, I look for reviews that have been acknowledged by the hotel staff. I see this as a sign of hotel management’s dedication to improving guest experiences and it makes my confidence in the hotel increase. Even if a hotel has a negative review, a response from management shows that they value the opinions of their guests and will try to accommodate them.
Millennials are a generation of Social Media loving, content creating, review reading travelers who love to have the inside scoop, so it will be important for hotels, restaurants, and “local” specialty destinations to see customer review sites as another tool to reach their audiences.
With UGA Miracle’s 24 hour Dance Marathon coming up this weekend, the only thing on my mind has been fundraising. I still have some work to do to meet my fundraising goals for the year, and to accomplish my goals, I turned to social media. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been occupied by other UGA Miracle fundraisers, who, like myself, have more money to raise before the big event. I’ve been using these platforms to share the link to my personal fundraising page where family and friends can donate to my fundraising total online. Many student run philanthropies at the University of Georgia have turned to online fundraising platforms like Donor Drive (used by UGA Miracle) to help them maximize their fundraising footprint and to provide an easy and safe way for everyone to give to the cause.
Now, everyday fundraisers and people who give to philanthropies via online transaction have a way to measure their impact, almost like a Klout score measures social media impact. A new tool from the Australian peer-to-peer giving site Everydayhero is designed to measure not only the impact of your online donations, but also your social engagement with various causes.
Much like Marc Jacobs did last week in their Tweet Shop, Everydayhero’s Giving Footprint tool recognizes the importance of social media engagement and the direct impact it has on the causes that are being shared. That’s right, this tool shows how your volunteer work and your engagement with the cause on the social web adds to the cause’s success. Fundraising totals are just one measure of philanthropy. Data gathered from an individual’s social media fundraising efforts as well as their volunteer records incorporated with a fundraising total help tell the whole story of their passion and devotion to their favorite cause. This tool will provide users with encouragement and a sense of achievement as they see their holistic efforts recognized and quantified in relation to the overall success of the organizations they support.
For college students like me who devote time, passion, and social media newsfeed space to causes like UGA Miracle, Giving Footprint can illustrate the many ways in which our online campaigns for causes have made a measurable impact in the same way that a monetary donation can.