In an effort to better understand the younger generation of traveler (and justify messing around online on the company dime), I’ve started browsing the popular website Reddit a lot recently.
For those not in the know, the website essentially provides crowdsourced entertainment that distills the entire Internet down to one page. New stuff is posted constantly and upvoted or downvoted by an army of “Redditors” that number in the millions. The front page is a hodgepodge of interesting news stories, links, humorous memes, and user-submitted photos all swirling past you as they are elevated or buried by the crowd.
But it’s when you get into the “subreddits” that you start to really fine-tune your experience. There are subreddits for nearly every subject under the sun, from food to art to world news. There are also subreddits devoted to the absurd, from showerthoughts (random moments of clarity, e.g. “A plastic dinosaur may well be made from a real dinosaur”) to explainlikeimfive (seemingly obvious questions that still demand a straightforward explanation, e.g. “How do animals know when to start collecting food for the winter?”).
For our purposes, we’ll focus on the subreddit “/r/travel.”
While browsing the travel subreddit last week, I came upon a series of amazing photos from a Redditor named Brendan McDowell’s trip to France. Fascinated by his journey, I contacted him through Reddit and asked if I could round up a few of his photos and share his story here on the site. He obliged, and that story wound up being shared by a ton of travel agents who passed McDowell’s story around Facebook as the love letter to travel that it is.
But if you look at the Redditors of /r/travel, you’ll see that McDowell is not alone. Right now the top story is just a simple image, titled “Hiking in the south of France.” And there are thousands like it, travelers sharing their experiences and their mutual love of travel. This is a whole untapped market of millions of travelers and travel fanatics.
And they’re waiting for some guidance, because for every Brendan McDowell, there are a few more that want to take that dream trip, but want answers first. As I write this, there are posts in the travel subreddit asking, “Anywhere I can travel in the U.S. in January that will be a mountainous area but no snow?” “Visiting Colombia (Dec 17-28) Need ideas/suggestions,” and “Help with logistics of traveling South America.”
That’s where travel agents come in. I’m not saying set up an account on Reddit and start spamming the travel subreddit with links to your agency, but it might not hurt for someone, anyone, to get in there and represent today’s travel agent on this subreddit. It’s a wide open field for someone to position themselves as an expert in front of millions of travel-savvy young clients. Just read the rules first, which clearly state, “r/travel is a place about going places. Articles, questions, stories, or any good content is welcome. Blogspam, spam, memes, ads, brochures or surveys will be removed.”
Right now, the Baby Boomer generation rules travel. But if you’re looking to get in on the ground floor with the millennial traveler, and possibly spread the travel agent gospel to a generation that might not consider using one, /r/travel isn’t a bad place to start. Just be sure to follow the proper “rediquette.”