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Social media travel hospitality - paper
 

Social media travel hospitality - paper

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    Social media travel hospitality - paper Social media travel hospitality - paper Document Transcript

    • Social media, important in travel andhospitality business?1  Introduction ................................................................................................... 2 2  Defining and positioning social media ............................................................ 2 3  The online community .................................................................................... 3 4  Social media cases in travel and hospitality industry...................................... 3 4.1  Customer publishes location of accommodation with Foursquare ............................. 3 4.2  How the city tourism board of Oostende uses social media ..................................... 4 4.2.1  Corporate website ......................................................................................................... 4 4.2.2  Twitter ......................................................................................................................... 5 4.2.3  Facebook...................................................................................................................... 5 4.3  How a tour operator uses social media ................................................................ 6 5  Popularity of social media in numbers ............................................................ 8 6  Advice from experts........................................................................................ 9 7  Epilogue........................................................................................................ 10 8  Sources......................................................................................................... 10 
    • 1 IntroductionThe use of social media is a fact, also in travel and hospitality business. Some think its anopportunity to improve online reputation of actors in sub-industries of travel and hospitalitybusiness while others are convinced that the potential impact is overrated. The answer issomewhere in between. The exact effect is hard to measure, especially when searching forshort term, quantitative results but several practical examples have shown that both positiveas negative scenarios can occur.Nowadays, holidays are no longer a product. More than ever they are an experience. Booking aholiday is a large investment in terms of money spent and happiness returned. As aconsequence people want clear information and reassurance that their holiday will be asperfect as possible. Whereas in the past they found this information in written press, from touroperators , travel agencies or stories from peers, now they can double check this informationusing several tools on the internet.2 Defining and positioning social mediaSocial media consists of websites used as a conversation tool. The key feature is that userstalk to each other. They are online media that allow users to participate in the creation of thecontent while traditional media delivers the content but doesnt allow the audience toparticipate.Table 1 shows the differences in use between social media and e-commerce in general. Theyalso count for tourism industry. Social media E-tourism • marketing • marketing <communication < selling • B2C + B2B + C2B +C2C • B2C or B2B every direction one direction • public • private • harder to manage • easier to manage harder to measure results easier to measure results • focus on networking • focus on service Table 1 - Tourism on the internetBoth e-tourism and social media are part of the marketing strategy but e-tourism can beconsidered as the whole system of selling and booking holidays and accommodations online.Social media are the tools used for communication and networking in several directions. Notonly business to customer or business to business but also customer to business and customerto customer. While this communication is public and traceable on the internet, the one waycommunication of e-tourism in general is private. Using the interface of travel websites, thecustomer provides the companies database with input. As a result these kind of information iseasy to manage and the company can measure the results. The cost of this system can be putin figures. The communication via social media are harder to manage because of theconversation which is harder to control. There are no databases to support the strategy. Howcan a company measure the benefits? In which term using social media should increase thecompanys profit? How can reputation been measured? What is the correlation between onlinereputation and sales volume? All this questions, in combination with the restraint of using newtechnology stimulate the hesitation for social media.
    • 3 The online communityA company can offer a conversation platform on its corporate website. In the past an onlineguestbook and the possibility to contact by e-mail were common. Today companies use socialweb applications and integrate them in their website.At this moment in Europe the most frequent social networks exist on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr,blogs, Foursquare, You Tube and Linkedin.4 Social media cases in travel and hospitality industry4.1 Customer publishes location of accommodation with FoursquareThis is a small case in which an individual customer uses social media to share a travelexperience with peers. The smart phone proposes nearby locations where the user can checkin. If wanted, the user can add comment and a picture as a small review. This information canbe shared with the social network on the Foursquare application only or even with Facebookand Twitter where a conversation with peers is possible.Used on a larger scale this will affect online reputations and as customers are much more likelyto trust peers instead of companies advertising, good reputation has a positive impact on thecompanys success.
    • 4.2 How the city tourism board of Oostende uses social mediaIn this example of a good practice, social media is used to stimulate conversation with andamongst visitors of Oostende, a city at the Belgian coast with a large range of culturalactivities.4.2.1 Corporate websiteOn the corporate website not only information can be found, people can book a hotel andparticipate in the conversation about what is going on in Oostende. As a Facebook user youimmediately see which of your friends like Oostende and you can push on the I like button ofthe different posts. This kind of interaction is not only attractive for the user, it is also avaluable feedback for the city to understand the preferences of their target group.With images and videos on Flickr and You Tube, the charm of the city is emphasized andparticipants have access to images of the events they attended. This content is even public foreveryone.
    • 4.2.2 TwitterMany companies and organisations have made a Twitter account but then it stops. They ‘areon Twitter’ but that is not enough. If you don’t have interaction on Twitter, it is better to stayaway from it.This screenshot of the Twitter page of the tourism board of Oostende shows that they have agood balance between following and being followed which indicates a good level of two-waycommunication. The timeline confirms this with the next examples of efficient tweeting . Alocal newspaper shares a hyperlink to the pictures of an event organized by the tourism board.The tourism board asks who lost the teddy bear they found during the event. They answer andshow interest in other users.4.2.3 FacebookFacebook is used as a platform for communication by publishing messages on the wall of theenterprise page of Oostende. The screenshot shows that they publish a lot of pictures andwithin the hour 19 persons liked the album about the last event. Some give reactions such as‘I really liked the event’ or ‘I was there’.Notice that the tourism board very quickly shares content about a past event on all socialmedia. Every piece of content sharing is part of an integrated marketing campaign on theinternet. People really can participate in the conversation while in the traditional media such astelevision, the only are informed or receive a general summary. On Facebook the audience isreached on a more personal level. People feel connected and a part of the big picture which isa totally different experience.
    • 4.3 How a tour operator uses social mediaThis example is about Jetair, one of the biggest tour operators in Belgium and part of the TUIgroup.Instead of launching a marketing campaign under the brand name Jetair, the tour operatoruses story telling. Two cute children, a girl and a boy with the very famous first names inBelgium Marie and Louis, have a mission for the customers. They check the holidays. Peoplereally adore these kids. They only have to put a smiley on Facebook and people start to pushthe I like button. Children imitate their quotes. Comparing to the number of fans of the brandJetair (954), the page of Marie and Louis is a success (20 652). Marie and Louis tell a storyand it’s working. People participate in the conversation on the Facebook page while at theJetair page there is no interaction. Only Jetair itself is publishing without response. This provesthat brands have to be creative to make social media work.In the first place, people know Marie and Louis from the television campaign with verycharming and funny advertisement videos. Marie and Louis check for example if the airplane isgood enough as if they were providing this as a service for the customers of Jetair. This moviesof Marie and Louis can also be watched and commented on You Tube. Posters of Marie andLouis at the airport wish the customers a nice holiday.
    • 5 Popularity of social media in numbersWith statistics and figures, one should be very careful to make statements. What do thesenumbers really mean? Is it a hype that will end soon? Its not a hype. Social media are here tostay. At this moment this is only the beginning of the booming period. All sources on theinternet will confirm this. Some brands are still in the first stadium of exploring social mediabut playtime is over. What is the impact for business?Table 2 gives an idea of the worldwide range of social media that are used for general content.The tools in Table 3 are especially tourism or travel related.Notice that the influence of social media is hard to measure with numbers. Because, how manyreviews on Tripadvisor are written by companies themselves? Also, some start twittering todayand quit next week because it is hard to network on Twitter when you are a newbie. Howmany inactive accounts, how many unread posts are there? Nobody knows. The question isnot, how many people are on a platform such as Twitter. It’s about how many people read thecontent and let this content influence their behaviour.In the Netherlands, f.e., there was an incident with T-mobile this year. Someone startedcomplaining on Twitter about the T-mobile help desk and many people joined the conversation.The damage was estimated over 200 000 euros.As for travelers, 70 % trust online recommendations, while only 14 % trust advertisements.Social media also determines destination selection strongly. As a result, most of the travelcompanies plan to increase their budget for social media.As a conclusion, closing your eyes for social media is wrong because they are here to stay.They improve or damage the reputation of brands, companies or organizations. The industriesshould invite customers to talk on their own platform. If not, they will talk anyway on placeson the internet were it is very hard to join the conversation such as on discussion fora,consumer blogs or consumer made Facebook pages. who? sharing what? how many? facebook conversation + multimedia + 500 million users twitter conversation + multimedia + 200 million users blogs storytelling + multimedia + 113 million blogs youtube video + conversation + 700 billion plays (in 2010) flickr photography + conversation + 30 million visitors/day delicious bookmarks + 4 million users Table 2 - General social media tools who? sharing what? how many? tripadvisor travel + hotel reviews + 34 million visitors/month virtual tourist travel advice + experience + 9 million visitors/month foursquare check in to location + 6,5 million users yahoo travel travel + hotel reviews + booking no statistics available Table 3 - Specific social media tools for tourism
    • 6 Advice from experts• Tourism business should have a strategy for online social networking. This includes interaction on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. (Jennifer Huber - social media consultant)• Use social marketing in conjunction with all your web presence. (Axses – travel marketing company)• Social media are not advertising tools. It’s an online public relations medium. Show sincere interest in your customer. Let your customer talk and listen attentively. Talk about what concerns your customer. (Peter Desmyttere - marketing consultant)• Stimulate interaction. Ask questions. Be creative and funny. Tell a story.• Develop a useful web app. (Polle de Maagt)
    • 7 EpilogueI made this presentation for the International Week of Tourism on e-tourism in April 2011 atthe Akdeniz University Antalya, Turkey.I was sent by the KHBO University College where I’m a lecturer in ICT, statistics & marketresearch.I would like to say thank you all the people who published useful content on the internet,especially Olivier Dujardin from Travelmedia Belgium, marketing consultant Peter Desmyttere,my employer KHBO, my collegues, my contact in Antalya Yιlιdrιm Yιlmaz, my parents, mypartner and my children.8 Sourceshttp://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/socialmedia/g/socialmedia.htmhttp://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7219-what-do-users-do-on-travel-websites-2http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7134-what-do-customers-want-from-travel-websiteshttp://www.tnooz.com/2011/01/25/news/tripadvisor-accuses-tv-star-and-hotel-owner-of-intimidating-hotel-guests/http://www.visitoostende.be/http://www.stikkymedia.com/articles/social-media-and-the-tourism-industry-statisticshttp://www.suite101.com/content/5-social-networking-sites-for-tourism-businesses-a174939http://www.axses.com/encyc/archive/arcres/Social-Media-Travel-Marketing.cfmhttp://www.slideshare.net/PeterDesmyttere/sociale-media-voor-bedrijvenhttp://www.slideshare.net/maxmanagement/online-travel-marketinghttp://www.penn-olson.com/2010/04/05/how-to-promote-tourism-through-social-media/http://www.emedium.nl/social-media-een-hype/http://www.nrcnext.nl/blog/2010/10/25/youp-vant-hek-brengt-t-mobile-imagoschade-toe/and many more on http://www.delicious.com/cattoor/socialmedia