Effects of Social Media on Hospitality/Tourism
Since the turn of the century, there has been an upsurge in the use of social media. As a result, many tourism organizations that include hotels, travel agencies, and airline companies have started using the internet as one of the important tools in marketing and communication strategies. Many businesses within the hospitality industry rely on good reviews from their customers, and social media is offering this as a natural marketing tool (Bennet, 2012). The use of social media have become very widespread, and the travelers use these sites consistently to brag about their great experiences as well ...view middle of the document...
He further states that social media is helping companies in brand awareness and building brand equity.
In the management of the companies in the industry, Mahmood (2012) states list at least seven ways that social media is benefiting companies in the hospitality and tourism industry. These include soliciting endorsement, maximizing revenue per seat, managing reputation, reach out to new customers, bond with guests, recruit new staffs, and build a buzz. According to statistics that were compiled by Shea Bennett in 2012, the effects of social media on the business performance and customer choice and satisfaction cannot be underestimated. 52% of Facebook users stated that the photos that were shared by their friends on Facebook inspired their holiday choice and travel plans. Of all the customers who used social media to research travel plans, only 48% did not change their original plans after studying the social media reviews and photos. Of the entire population of customers on Facebook, 33% changed their hotels, 7% changed their destinations, 10% changed their resorts, and 5% changed their airlines. Amongst the information that was used to inform the decision-making on vacation destinations airlines, and resorts, the post-restaurant reviews made 40% contribution, post-vacation of travelers post hotel reviews made 46% contribution. 76% of the entire population on vacations stated that they had used post vacation photos on social networks, and another 55% had liked Facebook pages that were specific to vacations. Therefore, according to this statistics, it is evident that the hospitality and tourism industry has embraced the social media management of their business to help customers choose their business as well as improving their services to have positive reviews (Leung, Law, Hoof, & Buhalis, 2013).
Despite the myriad benefits that companies derive from social media, there are also adverse effects that social media have on the same companies. Mahmood conducted a research with his students he wanted to find the correctness and reliability of the reviews that were posted on social media sites. His students visited the destinations with online reviews. The results found out that 28% of the reviews were biased and reliable. It was further found that hotels have been posting negative reviews about rival hotels or posting very positive views about their own hotels. This shows a potentially damaging attribute o social media. There might be malicious individuals who wanted to tarnish the brand image of certain hotels. The rivals might also be involved in publicity battles where they want to portray their facilities as the best and that from their rivals as the worst (Mahmood, 2012). The impacts of these negative campaign are very damaging bearing in mind the number of people who rely on this information and reviews to make decisions that relate to vacations and hotels.
The use of social media has also facilitated the availability of customized...