Just when travel companies were perhaps beginning to see some opportunities with Facebook then a survey comes out saying the kids are already losing faith.
In a study by consumer research group OTX the popularity of the omnipresent social network was found to be on the wane with 13 to 17 year olds.
Although clearly not within the sweetspot of the travel-buying public (yet), such a drop in enthusiasm for Facebook could be spreading elsewhere within the network's user group.
The survey found a third had had stopped using the site since April 2010 and two-thirds having turned away from the site in the past six months.
The reasons for such a snub are varied but, interestingly, not related to the privacy issues that surfaced earlier this year.
Almost half of those questioned who had become lapsed users said they had lost interest ("it's boring"), 28% said other sites on the web were drawing their attention away and 27% complained about the number of notifications.
Interestingly only 20% cited the number of ads on Facebook as a reason for turning their back on it.
The survey paints a gloomy picture for those hellbent on trying to make Facebook work as a channel to inform and engage with customers - but perhaps it isn't all bad news.
Travel is blessed with being an aspirational and, generally, enjoyable activity (different from purchasing a washing machine, for example), where those that buy its products want to spend countless hours researching, talking about it, showing off the results (actions, it's worth mentioning, which are carried out on and offline).
Apart from a few exceptions, such as the slim number of airline carriers that boast thousands of consumer fans on Facebook, why have so few travel brands managed to make Facebook really work?
Perhaps such problems are around these core issues:
- Facebook is too restrictive in terms of real estate and functionality.
- Perennial problem of "I'm here to chat to friends, not talk to companies".
- Customer acquisition/marketing.
- Servicing the channel (keeping it up-to-date and active)
Perhaps only when functionality such as the Facebook Questions project
is rolled out and there is some integration of the NextStop technology
will travellers and travel companies find themselves, and find themselves useful.