When Kids Help Plan Vacations, Great Brands WinTravelSpotlight

Do you trust your child enough to plan your family vacation? Maybe you should. This week, a feature in The New York Times travel section highlighted the virtues of bringing teens and children into the process of selecting destinations, vetting hotels, and drafting an itinerary. The reason is simple: Today’s middle and high school students are more plugged into trends, social media, lifestyle branding and word-of-mouth than their Gen X parents could ever hope to be. In many cases, their taste is just better.

These days, teens vicariously experience their friends’ vacations, from the things they eat to the places they stay. Using platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, they absorb highlights and mishaps of their social circles’ trips across the country and around the world. Ultimately, the piece suggests, this vests adolescents with great authority about where to go, what to do, and what not to miss. Instead of asking “Are we there yet?” from the backseat, media-savvy teens exert influence over where “there” is in the first place.

“My daughter is 13, and if you scroll through her Instagram feed, you’ll see pics of her friends’ vacations,” Karen Cicero, travel editor at Parents magazine, told the Times. “It gets kids excited and gives them ideas. If you think back to even 10 years ago, school ended and you didn’t find out where your friends had gone until you went back.”

The Times also met parents who, left to their own devices, defaulted to booking overnights at chains like Motel Six. Their unimpressed kids, with many more devices (and apps) at their disposal, expressed disappointment with those accommodations. Your best travel agent may be the guy (or girl) with braces, geometry homework and a keen eye for style—not to mention an enormous circle of connections.

This provides an opportunity for boutique inns to mobilize young guests as unofficial brand ambassadors. A property can create its own Snapchat geofilter so those visitors can share their location—and its social media cache—with followers. At Bespoke, we’ve curated Spotify playlists for residential properties which set a unique soundtrack for those pint-sized influencers to enjoy and share. Shareability (on visual platforms) is all about presentation, so design updates to a hotel lobby or an imaginatively composed avocado toast doesn’t go unnoticed. You’ve simply given that young audience one more thing to brag about.

Teens are guaranteed to make your property look as luxurious, trendy, and coveted as possible because they want their vacations to look enviable as can be.

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