Moving Away From Facebook

VACAYA has built an incredible community of followers on the various social media platforms – TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, X, and Facebook – and we hope you’ve enjoyed our efforts. Our team works tirelessly to create fun content that will hopefully give you a laugh and/or inspire you to join us on a future trip. And while we want to encourage you to continue engaging with us on ALL the platforms, we’re making some substantive changes in how we specifically use Facebook for our business…

On August 1, 2024, VACAYA will begin archiving and deleting all of our trip-specific Facebook Groups. We’ll no longer host an “Official Facebook Group” for each trip. The reasons are many, and we want to be completely transparent with you as to why we’re making these moves. So, grab a drink and join us on this journey through Mark Zuckerberg’s once magnificent, but now absolutely unruly Frankensteinian creation. Bottoms up and here we go!

  1. In recent years as we’ve gone through the pandemic and the shifting political landscape, the conversations have changed. Once light and fun in nearly all outlets, there’s been a dramatic and seismic shift in many peoples’ demeanor online. No doubt you’ve seen it as clearly as we have. Some people have gotten craaaaazy, y’all. Vitriol that was once targeted at those railing against our community has now turned inward by an unsavory few, and in our opinion, unfairly so. There’s a long history of “throwing shade” in our community, of course, and we actually LOVE that, but this is not that. Shade is an art, built on refined language skills. In the last couple years, more posts than we can count have simply been mean-spirited and unkind. And those are not the characteristics of true Vacayans, who overwhelmingly embrace love.
  1. Because of all the “extra stuff” out there, legitimate service questions oftentimes go unanswered. Let us explain…
  • Someone will post a question regarding the trip in the Group.
  • The V Team sees that question and does our best to find the answer (on those things we don’t know immediately). This can sometimes take days.
  • We go back to the Group to reply with the answer, and the question is nowhere to be found. It becomes a “needle-in-a-haystack” approach to customer service that doesn’t really serve anyone and becomes a waste of time for all.

And while we appreciate others chiming in to help answer questions (which really is the spirit of VACAYA), the information provided is sometimes incomplete or no longer applicable. The rules in the charter business bear almost zero resemblance to standard non-charter cruises, and the rules change from trip to trip. And as we’ve seen in our Groups (and really across every social media platform), “experts” are everywhere, speaking with definitive authority, but oftentimes they’re simply wrong. This creates a whole other level of recovery that has to be done for the originally-posting guest. It’s a tidal wave of misinformation, disinformation, misplaced comedy, and in an unwelcome evolution, occasionally unkindness.

  1. Facebook’s algorithms and the uncontrollable bots have made these Groups almost unmanageable. The moment someone posts and the “likes” begin, Facebook’s algorithm kicks in and begins manipulating who sees what and when. As we’ve all known for some time (viewers of the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma are all too familiar with this conceptually), algorithmically enabled forms of behavior modification and psychological manipulation are changing our world at an exceedingly rapid pace. So, we’re going to put a stopper in our small world by specifically cutting off Facebook’s ability to manipulate us where we can. Taking on a behemoth like Meta isn’t easy, of course; you’d be amazed how much control they have in our everyday lives, but to regain our agency, we have to start somewhere.
  1. Facebook has refused to make meaningful strides to combat homophobia and the direct assaults on our community. This gives us very few options other than to begin moving away.
  1. These Groups are hurting our business in ways that might not be immediately apparent. Of course as we’ve noted above, these Groups were created to be fun gathering spaces for our guests, but they’ve evolved into something else altogether. And with Facebook’s algorithms amplifying the worst posts, the issues are compounded. We’re in a new phase of our marketing efforts, expanding our reach far outside the United States and Canada. Put bluntly, we’ve had potential non-US-based guests come to us directly after receiving a bit of our marketing to tell us: “After joining an Official VACAYA Facebook Group to see what fellow passengers might be like, we don’t think VACAYA is a good fit for us. The negativity is just way too much.” Each time we hear it, our hearts break. Of course, we recognize that the number of positive people out there overwhelmingly outnumber those who are negative, but Facebook intentionally drowns out those more positive voices, amplifying the worst of the worst posts (because they tend to have higher engagement).
  1. As a business, it’s nearly impossible for us to ban an abusive user or even call them out for their abuses. In spending thousands of dollars to travel with us, there’s an “I’m entitled to say whatever I want whenever I want to say it” mentality that’s taken hold. While the overall number of these particular abusers is incredibly small, we’re expected to just shut up and take it. And that type of bullying just doesn’t sit well with us. Because we never want to upset any of our guests, our hands become tied in these situations. And while it’s easy to think, “just ban them and let the chips fall where they may,” that’s very very difficult for a company like VACAYA who’s still recovering from the global travel shutdown.

All that being said, we recognize there are certain aspects that remain great – mainly connecting socially to other travelers in advance and sharing great tips. And we’re already working on ways to enhance those connections, just not on Facebook. The ideas around this will take a while to fully form, but we’re hoping the results will ultimately be better for you and for VACAYA.

After August 1, the following VACAYA Groups will remain:

In addition, we’ve added a new one for those looking to sell/buy a room on a VACAYA trip:

And as always, our main VACAYA Facebook page will remain a resource for everything happening at VACAYA, including the announcement of new trips. You can Like/Follow that page HERE.

For general questions about a VACAYA trip you’ve booked, we encourage you to email your V Team Vacation Planners at Requests that come in there will be responded to quickly and personally, allowing us to serve you in a much more efficient way. If a question comes in multiple times, we’ll then address it more globally on the trip’s GET READY page.

And so you’re completely “in the know” with our communication timelines (which will help avoid questions like “when will we get our booking numbers?”), here are the communication milestones you can expect from us:

  • 120 Days Before Your Trip: Party Themes (as a reminder, some of our smaller trips don’t have themed parties beyond This Is Me and our Bathrobe Night)
  • 45 Days Before: Booking Numbers (for the trips that have them)
  • Approximately 30 Days Before: An Entertainment Preview

Of course, we’ll communicate other items by email as they come up, as well, but inevitably, you’ll use our emails and the tools we provide (chiefly, your trip’s GET READY page) to stay informed about your trip. Yes, reading is fundamental to staying “in the know,” but we’ll always be as concise as we can with issues that are inherently complex and require deeper explanation (like this one).

If you’re looking for the social high of connecting with other Vacayans pre-trip, we can recommend the VACAYA LGBTQ+ Super Fan Group. The folks behind this page are great, but keep in mind that they’re unaffiliated with VACAYA (other than being big fans and frequent travelers with us) and they will call out anyone whose behavior warrants. Of course, we also recognize some of you may want to start private groups of your own. If you choose to do that, despite all the challenges outlined in this blog, please make yourself familiar with the policies surrounding Private Social Group Formation.

Thank you for your time and your understanding here. We’ll leave you with this: no matter where you choose to engage, be kind, patient, and generous in spirit. If you do, you’ll be greatly rewarded with the real-life connections that come with every VACAYA vacation.

Thank you,
Your V Team



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