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HOSP1080 Technology in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Russell): Social Media in Hospitality

Social Media in Hospitality

In the past 10 years, social media platforms, like InstagramTwitter, and Facebook, have dramatically transformed how people interact with one another, as well as how businesses interact with their clientele.

Hotels and other businesses within the hospitality sector must have a thorough understanding of how to use social media channels to their advantage if they wish to remain competitive within the modern business environment.

The role of social media now plays an integral role in the consumer travel experience. In a recent study, it was discovered that more than half of the survey’s participants (52%) had changed their future travel plans after researching their trip via social media.

Mobile

  • In most major metropolitan citiesGoogle’s search volume for “hotels in [enter city name]” has dropped by more than 70% – in the last 6 years alone. In increasing droves, users are turning to websites like ExpediaTripAdvisor, and Kayak.
  • 32% of travelers in the United States, and 22% of non-U.S. travelers, routinely blog about their traveling experiences.
  • 30% of travelers in 2015 used mobile applications to find deals on hotels. Likewise, 29% of travelers in 2015 used mobile apps to find deals on flights.

Approximately 85% of travelers use their smartphones while on vacation or traveling, and 52% of Facebook users admitted that their friends’ vacation photos (posted on Facebook) had influenced their choice of vacation destination.

The Trust Factor

  • 92% of travelers state that they trust earned media, like recommendations from family members and friends or word of mouth, more than any other type of advertising.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 47% of travelers worldwide state that they trust newspaper, radio, and magazine ads.
  • 71% of global consumers say that online customer reviews are their second choice for trusted advertising.

Influence

  • Proving that social media exercises a significant influence on hospitality bookings, of those who admitted using social media platforms to research their travel plans, a mere 48% ended up sticking with their original plans.
  • 33% changed their hotel reservations.
  • 7% changed their entire vacation destination.
  • 10% changed the resort they had initially planned on staying at.
  • 5% changed their airline reservations.

The Power of Review

  • 40% of consumers post reviews about the dining establishments they visit.
  • 46% of travelers post reviews about their travel accommodations post-vacation.
  • 76% of Facebook users have posted pictures of their vacation to their personal Facebook pages.
  • 55% of the pages a person “likes” on Facebook will more than likely be specific to a vacation.The use of social media has affected the hospitality industry in a number of different waysbut it also offers a number of advantages. For example, it offers an effective medium for reaching a global audience. Likewise, it works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; thereby, overcoming time zone differences. It is readily accessible by those who have Internet access and offers ubiquitous versatility for interactive exchanges with consumers.

Source: managerskills.org

Social Media Reviews

Online reviews can, and should, play a critical role in how a hotel operates. After all, this information is from actual customers, offering a first hand look at their experiences. No one wants to be considered "high maintenance," but the internet allows for airing of grievances without personal attachment. Hotel executives will often find the most critical, and most honest, feedback online.

This isn't to say that all online feedback is aimed at the worst parts of a hotel experience. In fact, 80% of online feedback for hotels is positive. Managers in properties should understand that addressing the 20% of negative feedback is a priority.

Another important component of the feedback loop is social media. Facebook and Twitter can be among the most important parts of improving the guest experience. These sites help shift attitudes and respond to grievances, as well as bring in new customers. Negative reviews can be responded to in public, and when done correctly, can greatly change the perception of the hotel to potential and past guests. Responses can define the values of the hotel, to show the human side of the industry, and spotlight positive experiences.

While it's easy to think of post-stay surveys as something that's nice for a hotel to do, surveys can actually have considerably more impact than most people understand. The obvious benefit to a post-stay survey is that it gives guests the anonymity that makes them feel more comfortable in sharing their experiences, while giving the hotel access to a more robust set of data. The hotel sending the survey can control what's being asked in order to pinpoint problem areas and reduce future negative feedback, as well as glean more thorough responses from reviewers.

Generally speaking, information and data gleaned from post-stay surveys tends to be 4-8% more positive than online reviews, so this information can actually have positive impacts on internal metrics and customer facing numbers. On the latter point, many hotels pipe this information into the scores and search result details that customers performing a search will see. This means hotels can positively influence the ratings customer will see on sites like Google, Kayak and Hotels.com with real reviews.

Source: hospitalitynet.org

Feedback Platforms

  • GuestRevu

  • TrustYou

  • Revinate

  • Loopon Post Stay

  • Flexkeeping

  • ReviewPro

  • TripAdvisor

  • CustomerCount Survey

  • Customer Experience Hub

Source: hoteltechreport.com