Social media for sustainable tourism development dissertation manoj kumar

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This dissertation’s objectives are To understand consumer point of view and Create an internet based marketing plan Aiming at Increasing consumer awareness and recognition worldwide, Create a consumer facing entity which is loved by people Thus making it profitable for companies to behave responsibly and to Build loyal communities which will support efforts in difficult times and Lastly increase sales

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Social media for sustainable tourism development dissertation manoj kumar

  1. 1. Social Media Marketing for sustainable tourism development Manoj KUMAR June 2011 Vatel International Business School, Nimes, France
  2. 2. Abstract The world of communication is fast changing today. The modes of communication are changedby the advent of internet based social networking websites. The social networking websites areshrinking the contact time and contact base. Most people, companies and entities can reach aworldwide audience at phenomenally lower costs. The strength of this new channel lies in the easeof use, availability to consumers and most importantly the effectivity of the communication. Theresults can be seen in real time and constant stream of analytical tools are available to better marketyourself or products. It has been noted that the implications of social media for the hospitality industry is immense.But at the same it also has been noted that there is void of real and creative strategy to effectivelyuse this medium. Most large organizations outsource the working and operations to PR agencies.Smaller organizations meagrely shadow the strategies of larger organizations. There are few gamechangers which are able to benefit from its social media efforts tremendously. Sustainable tourism development will gain popularity and strength by increased consumerawareness. For e.g. Nike changed because of the constant glare of the public. Companies and localeconomies and population will tremendously benefit from increased awareness. A raised awarenesswill translate into profits for partner companies and development of local population. With an al-ternative source of income the environment is pardoned. Thus I felt an effort must be made to givecompetitive edge to sustainable tourism development projects. This dissertation‟s objectives are To understand consumer point of view and Create an internetbased marketing plan Aiming at Increasing consumer awareness and recognition worldwide, Cre-ate a consumer facing entity which is loved by people Thus making it profitable for companies tobehave responsibly and to Build loyal communities which will support efforts in difficult times andLastly increase sales i
  3. 3. AcknowledgementsI would like to thank the Vatel Group and specifically Mr Parag Joshi, Internet marketing manager,for all his assistance in better understanding the essence of social media and digital marketing. Iwould also like to thank Madam Ferhat Partouche for her assistance and guidance on this project.Lastly I would like to thank Vatel international school, Nimes, France for giving me this opportuni-ty. I would also like to extend my gratitude to all the participants to my online survey who took outtime to give their valuable feedback making this project a success. ii
  4. 4. Table of ContentsAbstract .................................................................................................................................. iAcknowledgements ............................................................................................................... ii1 Introduction...................................................................................................................... 12 Why social Media? .......................................................................................................... 2 2.1 What is social media? .............................................................................................. 2 2.2 Types of social media platforms............................................................................... 2 2.2.1 Social media websites most widely used ............................................................ 3 2.3 State of art (current situation) Social media usage worldwide................................. 4 2.3.1 Social media statistics - worldwide..................................................................... 4 2.4 Activity on various social media platforms.............................................................. 53 Vacation frequency and spending patterns ....................................................................... 6 3.1 Vacation Patterns ...................................................................................................... 6 3.2 Vacation spending pattern ........................................................................................ 64 Vacation Booking Patterns ............................................................................................... 8 4.1 Mode of vacation/holiday booking .......................................................................... 8 4.2 Vacation decision preference.................................................................................... 95 Vacation Decision Making influencers .......................................................................... 10 5.1 Destination discovery ............................................................................................. 10 5.2 Social media as an influencer ................................................................................. 106 Sustainable Tourism awareness and Decision Making .................................................. 11 6.1 Sustainable tourism Awareness .............................................................................. 11 6.2 Sustainable tourism decision making ..................................................................... 127 Research Conclusions .................................................................................................... 13 7.1 Social Media Communication Hexagon (SMC Hexagon) ..................................... 13 7.1.1 Understanding the Social Media Communication Hexagon ............................. 13 7.1.2 Definition of terms in social media communication hexagon .......................... 13 7.1.3 Using the social media hexagon - ..................................................................... 14 7.1.4 Social Media Communication Hexagon ........................................................... 168 Digital marketing plan ................................................................................................... 17 8.1 Broad marketing plan ............................................................................................. 17 8.1.1 Digital Marketing vision ................................................................................... 17 8.1.2 Goals ................................................................................................................. 17 8.1.3 Ideal Online follower ........................................................................................ 17 8.1.4 Digital Market Description ............................................................................... 17 8.1.5 Remarkable Difference ..................................................................................... 18 8.1.6 Differentiators ................................................................................................... 18 iii
  5. 5. 8.1.7 Core digital Strategy ......................................................................................... 18 8.1.8 Core Online Elements ....................................................................................... 18 8.1.9 Marketing Materials .......................................................................................... 18 8.1.10Web Plan Refer Fig 6.a ..................................................................................... 199 Recommendations .......................................................................................................... 20 9.1 Developing a Social Media Strategy ...................................................................... 20 9.1.1 Social Media for beginners ............................................................................... 20 9.1.2 Next Steps ......................................................................................................... 20 9.1.3 What to post? .................................................................................................... 21 9.1.4 Tracking Returns ............................................................................................... 21 9.2 Social Media Officer – ........................................................................................... 22 9.2.1 Duties and Responsibilities ............................................................................... 22 9.2.2 Skills and Specifications ................................................................................... 23 9.2.3 Education and Qualifications ............................................................................ 2310 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 24 10.1 Summary ................................................................................................................ 24 10.2 Evaluation .............................................................................................................. 24 10.3 Future Work ........................................................................................................... 24References ........................................................................................................................... 25Appendix 1 .......................................................................................................................... 26 iv
  6. 6. 1 IntroductionI am Manoj KUMAR and I am a final year master degree student at Vatel International businessschool. I have 6 years‟ experience in the Hotel and Tourism industry. I have also worked as a hospital-ity consultant. Due to deep interest my major for the masters‟ degree is marketing and for the same I completeda 6 month internship in the internet marketing department of Vatel group. Vatel group‟s major SBU‟sare Vatel hotel schools, Vatel Hotel and Vatel Gourmet. During this said period I worked exclusivelyto understand the working of social media, digital marketing plan creation, utilization of online toolsto improve visibility, achieve competitor intelligence, awareness improvement and successfully plan-ning and running online campaign‟s. During the said period I observed and analysed the online activities of many hotel and hospitalityorganizations. During my research I realised what each company is doing to improve and increase itsonline reach. But through a cross market analysis I also realised that the hospitality industry wascommitting far less of its resources in the online marketing arena. The ideas and plans were fairlybasic and were far from creating any real benefits. But there was also a changing trend that I noticed. The industry giants are slowly adapting theironline offering and incorporating social media in every part of their outward communication. For me the most unique and interesting set of hospitality organizations are the sustainable devel-opment organizations. They were comparably smaller in size and were the least active in the socialmedia segment. Somehow they still remain obscured from the glare of the majority of the human pop-ulation. At the same time they are the most spectacular entities with the most enriching vision andmission which truly have objectives which go far beyond revenue generation but pursue real valuecreation. This value is also unique because it is created for an eco-system which includes its local hu-man population. Sustainable tourism is a unique balancing act between mass tourism,industrialization, economy and at the other end with nature, environment, ecology and local humanpopulation. And thus my concentration was to create a viable digital marketing plan for sustainabletourism entities. To achieve the objectives of this dissertation an international market survey was organised whichwas administered specifically on social media. The market survey was designed to understand holidaybooking patterns, involvement and respectively the effect of social media on decisions made, level ofawareness of sustainable tourism development products and finally gauging the level involvementexpected by consumers. The survey was analysed to compute the best possible marketing plan/s. The-se said plans were then gauged on their financial potency and effectivity. 1
  7. 7. 2 Why social Media?This section will help to understand the current global/regional trends and why should companies fo-cus on the social media platform2.1 What is social media?[1] Social media is media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communicationtechniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication intointeractive dialogue.Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based applicationsthat build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, which allows the creation andexchange of user-generated content."Peter R. Scott and J. Mike Jacka define social media as “the set of Web-based broadcast technologiesthat enable the democratization of content, giving people the ability to emerge from consumers ofcontent to publishers.”Businesses may also refer to social media as consumer-generated media (CGM). A common threadrunning through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction forthe co-creation of value2.2 Types of social media platforms  Podcasting – [3] [A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common use with the success of the iPod and its role in the ris- ing popularity and innovation of web feeds.  Blogging - [4] A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descrip- tions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.  Social bookmarking - [5] Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves arent shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.  Social networking - [6] A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., 2
  8. 8. who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a repre- sentation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional ser- services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Online community services are some- times considered as a social network service, though in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and in- terests within their individual networks.2.2.1 Social media websites most widely used  www.facebook.com - [7] Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. As of January 2011, Face- book has more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Facebook users must register before using the site. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteris- tics.  www.twitter.com - [9] Twitter is a website, owned and operated by Twitter Inc., which offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the users pro- file page.  www.linkedIn.com - [8] LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003,[3] it is mainly used for professional networking.  www.flickr.com - [10] Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.  www.youtube.com – [11] YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. 3
  9. 9. 2.3 State of art (current situation) Social media usage worldwide [A] Thus the study was then directed to understanding time spent on Internet Social media gains importance due to high consumer participation. Through figure 2.3 we can suc- cessfully demonstrate the need to create online marketing plans is far greater today than ever before. Time spent on internet3025201510 5 0 Less 1 to 3 4 to 5 6 to 8 9 to 12 12 or Than 1 Hours hours hours hours more hour hours Time on internet Fig 1.a – Time spent on the internet - 2011 [A] Fig1.b- Marketing implications of social media [2] 2.3.1 Social media statistics - worldwide Social Media today is the largest co-ordinated communication effort the world has ever seen. The sta- tistics are absolutely stunning. [2] Twitter has 75m user accounts, but only around 15m are active users on a regular ba- sis. Twitter now officially claims to have 175m registered users, although its unclear what percentage regularly user the service. Twitter states that 95m tweets are written each day. This is a staggering 250% increase from last year. LinkedIn has over 50m members worldwide. Officially, LinkedIn has grown 100%, now having over 100m professionals who use the platform worldwide. There are now 20m+ EU LinkedIn mem- bers. More than one million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages (formerly known as company profiles). Facebook officially hit the half-billion member mark in 2010. There are now some 640m Face- book users worldwide. With a 50% active rate, using the official 500m figure, this means at least 250m users every 24 hours. This is more than a 40% increase in 12 months. More than 30bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) are shared each month, which is an average of 7bn pieces a week. The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content each month. 4
  10. 10. Flickr continues to grow at a steady rate, having increased by some 25% in the last twelve months.At the end of 2010, it was hosting more than 5bn images. Flickr members upload more than 3,000images every minute. Wikipedia now has more 17m articles. The site now has an army of 91,000 active contributors. YouTube - More than 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are morethan 2bn video views on YouTube every 24 hours.2.4 Activity on various social media platforms In the controlled survey to a global au-dience the question was to assign peak 80activity to different social media websites. 70 60Score „5‟ being the highest activity and 50score „1‟ being the lowest. As we can see 40 5 30from figure 2.2 the highest activity is seen 20 4on Facebook and twitter. What we can 10 3 0also see is the blogging has medium activ- 2ity. Thus we can successfully state that 1the 2 most important avenues to marketproducts would be –  Facebook Fig 1.c – Peak activity on social media websites [A]  Twitter[A] Time spent on Facebook and twitter To further understand the consumer activity 35 30 25patterns the study was also directed to understand 20 15 Time spent onthe amount of time being spent upon the 2 major 10 5 Facebooksocial media websites. In figure 1.d we see 2 peaks 0 Time spent onclearly showing 2 types of users. The twitter spent Twittermore time due to the ease of use and at the samemore qualitative time is spent by Facebook users.The implications of this data would be in deter- Fig 1.d – Time spent on Facebook and Twitter [A]mining the frequency of communication on the variousnetworks. Which we would see in section 2.5 5
  11. 11. 3 Vacation frequency and spending patternsIn this section the consumer survey asked the participants about holiday patterns, booking patternsand spending patterns for their annual vacations.3.1 Vacation Patterns Total Number of International vacations vacations Once a year 3% 14% 18% Once a year 24% Twice a year Twice a year 3% 8% 65% Thrice or more 65% a year Thrice or more a year Once in 2 years Fig 2.a– Annual vacation frequency [A] Fig 2.b– International vacation frequency [A] On the global scale the 65% of participants claimed that they took at-least 2 vacations a year. Thesurvey also asked the no. of international vacations taken. The same 65% which took 2 vacations yeartook at-least one international vacation a year.3.2 Vacation spending pattern Global Spending per person for a vacation 6% 14% 500 $ or less 501$ to 1000$ 28% 1001$ to 2000$ 52% 2001$ or more Fig 2.c– Vacation spending per person globally [A] 6
  12. 12. Region-wise Vacation Spending80%70%60%50% 500 $ or less40% 501$ to 1000$30% 1001$ to 2000$ 2001$ or more20%10%0% USA Australia Belgium Canada China France India Fig 2.d– Region-wise vacation spending [A]In fig 2.c it can be seen that globally a single vacation per person budget is about 1000$ to 2000$.When a region-wise split is made the trend continues with only exception being India. We could verywell call this the mass tourist/traveller segment.Frequency and spending patterns are an important step in understanding consumer psyche. Further onthis data will be used in determining communication frequency and marketing budgeting. 7
  13. 13. 4 Vacation Booking Patterns4.1 Mode of vacation/holiday bookingThe survey asked how people preferred to book their holidays. Through fig 3.a, 3.b and 3.c we can seethat travellers are seeking freedom to make choices. The reliance on the mass tourism has considera-bly waned for the social media active population. This considerably reinforces the need to create anonline marketing plan. Holiday Planning 82% of the global audience preferred 5% 13% Tour Operatorto book and design their own holidays.13% preferred to design their own vaca- Self Designed Viations via a Tour operator. And very small Tour operatorpercentage still preferred the tour opera- Completely Self Designedtor. 82% Fig 3.a– Holiday planning channel preference [A] Local Travel Travel reservationsFig 3.b reflects the booking medium Agent 8%preferred by travellers for booking traveltickets. 44% preferred online travel Online Travelagents OTM. 48% preferred to book Agents likedirectly via travel company website. Expedia, Airline/Train Liligo etc.Booking via travel agents is clearly out website eg 44% SNCF, Britishof trend. arlines etc. 48% Fig 3.b– Travel ticket booking medium preference [A] 8
  14. 14. Local Travel Hotel Reservation Agent 6% In fig 3.c it is again noticed that travel Online Travelagents are clearly out of vogue. 45% pre- Agents likeferred to book via Online Travel Agents. booking.co Hotel m etc Websites49% preferred to book directly via Hotel 45% 49%websites. Fig 3.c– Hotel booking medium preference [A]4.2 Vacation decision prefer- Vacation Decsion reason ence 80 70 60 50 40 In the survey respondents were also 30 20asked what made them choose a specific 10destination. As we can see in Fig 3.d the 0destination itself forms the most im-portant pull for the selection. The pricepaid is at second position. While the 1 2 3 4hotel, its services and local culture areclosely tied. Fig 3.d– Vacation booking preference [A] These observations present a unique understanding for promoting the hotel. This will definitelyhelp in formulating which medium to focus upon to get the best results. 9
  15. 15. 5 Vacation Decision Making influencers5.1 Destination discovery 70%The respondents were also asked how 60% 60%they discovered new destinations for 50%their next vacation. 40% 60% responded saying that the pri- 30% 25% 20%mary source for information was Web 10% 10% 3% 3%2.0 which includes all social media web- 0%sites, online conversations, online newsarticles, videos, forums, online travelmagazines etc. 25% responded to word of mouth. 10 % responded to travel magazines(print medium) and a meagre 3% for Discover new or next vacation destinationTelevision advertisements and newspa- Fig 4.a– Destination Discovery medium [A]per articles.5.2 Social media as an influencerWhen asked how much importance do Relative importance to vacationfriends and family status updates, pic- destination decision makingture, videos from their vacation has on 1 40their own decision to choose a vaca- 30tion destination, twitter ranked the 20highest with maximum audience as- 5 2 10signing the highest score. Facebook Facebookfollowed a close second. 0 TwitterRespondents were asked rate as im-portance of updates, „1‟ being thelowest influencer and „5‟ being the 4 3highest. Fig 4.b– social media as an influencer [A] 10
  16. 16. 6 Sustainable Tourism awareness and Decision Making6.1 Sustainable tourism Awareness sustainable tourismTo start of the respondents were asked if they destination experiencehave ever been to a sustainable tourism desti-nation. 17% replied yes. They were thensubjected to further questions to understand Yes 17%how and why they choose sustainable tourismvacation. No 83% Fig 5.a– sustainable tourism Firsthand experience [A] Sustainable tourism definition awareness 27% 22% 15% 15% 13% 4% 4% Improved local Local producers Better education Dont know/ Better for the A cheap Adventurous economy of the will have a and social Cant say environment vacation vacation to destination market to sell to benefits to the dangerous locals locations (not for the faint hearted) Fig 5.b– sustainable tourism definition awareness [A] A series of options were then given to the respondents to understand their awareness of what sus-tainable tourism stands for, definition. These questions were based to all the respondents. 27% understood that it was better for the environment. 22%thought it improved the local economy.4% answered „don‟t know‟ and adventurous vacation. 11
  17. 17. 6.2 Sustainable tourism decision making For the 17% who had experienced sus- Medium used to find out abouttainable tourism first-hand were then the destinationasked how did they find out about the ho-tel/destination. Others 9% Blogs 4% 35% responded word of mouth. 17% Newspaper article 9%responded travel magazine. While 9% Travel Magazine 17%said facebook/twitter. And only 4% said Facebook / twitter or other web… 9%blogs. Word of mouth 35% Tour operator website 9% Google search 9% Fig 5.c– sustainable tourism definition awareness [A] Suggested Contact Plan Through the survey the respondentswere also medium of preference to be Blogcontacted and for circulation of market- Other Social Media 1ing materials. Twitter 2 News/Social 3 Bookmarking 4 Facebook 5 Email 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%120% Fig 5.d– sustainable tourism suggested contact Medium [A] 12
  18. 18. 7 Research Conclusions7.1 Social Media Communication Hexagon (SMC Hexagon)The Social Media Communication Hexagon is strategy tool which will assist Digital marketers tohave insight into creating effective digital marketing plans.7.1.1 Understanding the Social Media Communication HexagonSome of the questions answered by the SMC hexagon are –  What content to communicate  How much to communicate  Through what medium to communicate  How to create a balanced Push and Pull strategy.7.1.2 Definition of terms in social media communication hexagon X axis – Frequency of communication – No of times the entity decides to communicate with its customers Y axis – Type of Communication (Fig 4.a, 5.c, 5.d) o Static – Traditional forms of communication. Generally one way communication o Social – Social media based communication. 2 way communication Elements of the hexagon – The elements were derived from fig 3.d. A weighted average was de- termined the relative importance to consumers of each of the element. o Destination and environment – About the destination where the entity is based and envi- ronmental aspects of the entity. o Local Culture and community – About the local community and its culture. The commu- nication could also include local handicrafts which could be sold online. o Prices and offers – Various offers and packages that the hotel holds o Hotel and services – About the hotel and the various services provided by the hotel. Also can include activities like nature walks, wind surfing, sightseeing etc. o Local cuisine – About local flavours and food. For eg. How the hotel is fusing or show- casing the local flavours to create unique signature food. o Consumers and Users – Consumers and user comments. Post stay comments and recom- mendations. User generated videos and articles. Elements of the matrix – o Involving – High Frequency, High use of social media. 13
  19. 19. o Interacting – Low Frequency, High use of social media o Informing – Low Frequency, High use static channels o Selling – High Frequency, High use of static channels Quadrant Classification – o Involving and interacting – These quadrants create the awareness and act more like a pull strategy. o Informing and selling - These quadrants create the marketing effect and act more like a push strategy.7.1.3 Using the social media hexagon - The marketing department of the hotel should try to first analyse their current marketing andcommunication plans on the hexagon elements. Identify areas where they are lacking and then adapt-ing their plan as per the SMC Hexagon. The SMC hexagon is marketing strategy tool and will provide a road map to be successful inachieving digital marketing objectives. 14
  20. 20. 7.1.4 Social Media Communication Hexagon Social Consumers Destination and Awareness efforts Facebook and users environment Twitter Trip advisorSocial Bookmarking Interacting Involving YouTube/ Flickr Pull Strategy Communication Local Local Culture Type Cuisine and community Blogs/ Email Push StrategyWebsites/ Write-ups Informing Selling Wikipedia News/Articles YouTube/ Flickr Price and offers Marketing efforts Hotel and Services Static Low Frequency of Communication High Fig 6.a – Social Media Communication Hexagon 16
  21. 21. 8 Digital marketing plan8.1 Broad marketing planAssumptions – The following marketing plan has been done for 100 room property which is both sus-tainable and responsible.8.1.1 Digital Marketing vision Create and manage online entities which will be the face of the entity, the said online entity willspeak of the core values of the property, create awareness and carry out a 2 way communication withcustomers, enthusiasts, government/non-government organization, experts, other online entities andgeneral populous.8.1.2 Goals8.1.2.1 Business Goals:  Achieve a 20% from online activities  Exceed 1000 leads8.1.2.2 Tactical Goals:  Achieve monthly growth of 20% follower/likes on Facebook an twitter  Create 30 unique posts each month which will be of value to the online community.8.1.3 Ideal Online follower  Enthusiastically follows the blogs, updates, videos and other updates by the hotel.  Will readily share and retweet to his/her follower.  Will recommend the hotel and its services  Will actively participate in all online activity  Will assist in building online community  Will help in creating sales conversions8.1.4 Digital Market Description  Highly competitive environment with almost every major hotel/chain fighting for an online market share.  Highly volatile market with a120% annual growth.  Extremely effective to capture a global audience and create effective online community. 17
  22. 22. 8.1.5 Remarkable Difference As being a sustainable tourism Hotel there is great and unique difference between us and the regu-lar hotel industry. Our hotels have a unique set of values and we are proud to be a responsible entity.We are responsible for the local ecology and local community. We create sustenance for the localpopulation with the help of jobs and education. We aim to improve the lives of the future generationwithout destroying the local environment. In many ways we are the future.8.1.6 Differentiators Case to case Basis. Needs to be identified. Key heads  Hotel  Services  Destination  Local culture  Local community  Destination  Environment  Sustainable practices8.1.7 Core digital Strategy To create awareness on a global scale, specifically in source markets. Constantly communicatewith potential, current and past customers. Create strong and very active online communities. Driveonline impressions to actual sales. Use social media to understand changing consumer needs andwants. Adapt to changing needs and wants. Refer to Fig 6.a8.1.8 Core Online Elements  Non-static webpage  Facebook page  Flickr stream  Youtube channel  Twitter  Employ digital story-tellers to write blogs  Feature blog on hotel website8.1.9 Marketing Materials  Website 18
  23. 23.  Email newsletters  Direct mail - postcards and letters  Facebook ads  Google adwords  Digital story-tellers  Marketing kit for corporate business development8.1.10 Web Plan Refer Fig 6.a  Create a SEO optimised website which will be non-static.  Social connect options on the website  Hotel Blog to be hosted via hotel website  Feature guest reviews and comments (text and videos)  Communicate via website about community involvement  Communicate via website environmental involvement Booking related plan –  Feature hotel on all major OTM‟s  Feature booking via website 19
  24. 24. 9 Recommendations9.1 Developing a Social Media Strategy9.1.1 Social Media for beginners These strategies would work well for hotels who currently do not have a social media strategy andwant to dabble in social media without a significant investment. The main social media objectives forsuch hotels can include:  User Generated Content Channels -- Trip Advisor. If Trip Advisor is not your most effec- tive channel, then determine your most influential channels (where you get a lot of guests from)  Facebook Profile.  Twitter profile  YouTube video channels  Flickr photo profile  Blog Hotel can set up each of these channels on their own without any external help or alternatively,they can use an outside agency or a consultant. Either way, here are a few items to keep in mind whilesetting up the channels:  Channels should be tagged with appropriate keywords  Link the channels back to your hotel website and vice-versa  Interlink the channels so that the hotel gains from cross-fertilization between the channels. There are apps and plug-ins available that can be used to interlink the channels. The bene- fit of interlinking is that a "new special offering" post on your blog automatically shows up on Facebook and Twitter. Any pictures posted on Flickr automatically show up on your Facebook account9.1.2 Next Steps The key to social media optimization is that you have to be actively involved in these channels. Ofcourse, actively could range from allocating a full-time resource (Social Media Officer Refer to 9.2)to the initiative as several of the upscale hotels and brand s are doing to manage the channels on aweekly basis. 20
  25. 25. 9.1.3 What to post?Refer to Fig 6.a9.1.4 Tracking Returns There are 2 different levels at which one can measure the success of your social media optimiza-tion strategies:  Measuring Social Media Buzz  Measuring Returns -- evaluating website leads and revenue generated Although both the items above are related, there are different mechanisms for measuring the 2goals.9.1.4.1 Tracking Social Media Buzz There are several tools available in the market. These tools tell you what people are saying aboutyou on different channels, video views, photo-views, etc. and benchmark your performance monthover month to determine whether the social media strategies are being effective or not. For example,you can track the number of video views month over month or track your Facebook fans month overmonth and determine that the social media strategies are effective in generating a buzz about your ho-tel. An added advantage of such tools is that it offers a single interface for all your social mediamonitoring.9.1.4.2 Tracking ROI The return on investment from social media channels is harder to track vs. the buzz created by thechannels. The reason for this is because the conversion from Social Media Marketing efforts occurson channels different from the social media channels -- for example, either a client will book on a ho-tel website or on the phone even though they found the hotel on Facebook or on Twitter. The bestmechanism to track conversion from social media channels is to measure the leads (website traffic)generated from the social media channels. This can easily be done using simple website analyticstools. In addition, you can determine how many visitors from the social media channels went intoyour booking engine. Using your conversion ratios, you can get a very good estimate of the ROI fromyour social media channels. A secondary measure of the ROI and effectiveness of your social media strategies is to look at theimpact of social media optimization on your search engine results. For example, when you type yourhotels name on the search engines, you will find that after the first couple of listings which should beyour hotel website, the search engine page shows results from various 3rd party affiliate sites. Withaggressive social media optimization, you should see that universal search results will help your ho- 21
  26. 26. tels social media channels dominate the search results pages. That ensures that all the leads come di-rectly to you and is also an indicator that your overall search engine recognition is increasing. Although, the techniques above are less objective than measuring conversions from paid searchadvertising or banner advertising, above mechanisms do give the hotels a fairly good idea of the re-turns and effectiveness of the social media campaigns. As the technology advances happen, we arepositive that there will be ways to measure social media effectiveness more accurately. The big ques-tion for us as hoteliers is whether we wait until then, when several of our competitors are ahead of thecurve or do we invest today in the media that is bound to be the future of internet marketing.9.2 Social Media Officer –It is always a good idea to train a social media officer who can constantly monitor and materialize thedigital marketing plans of the hotel. Social media is not a very technical arena. Social media was cre-ated was for the general population. An enthusiastic and motivated could be trained for 6 months tocarry out effectively the responsibilities and duties mentioned in the sample Job Description. This is atested fact as I myself went through a six month internship to achieve the desired level in social mediaand digital marketing.9.2.1 Duties and Responsibilities The social media officer is responsible for developing and executing a clearly defined social me- dia strategy and has to report to the marketing head of the company The marketing strategy should comply with the marketing and customer support initiatives of the company He should make sure the strategies increase brand equity and awareness He must evaluate, plan, organise, manage and contribute to social media channels to reach the company targets and objectives He must ensure that a consistent marketing message is delivered to the market and the company‟s position is strengthened He must analyse existing and potential media activities He should be able to identify and interpret social media trends He should conduct, gather and analyse market research to find out the business opportunities He must plan, manage and implement all social media activities He must work in collaboration with other marketing organisations and develop unique marketing strategies and partnerships 22
  27. 27. 9.2.2 Skills and Specifications A social media manager needs to have good communications and writing skills He must have strong analytical, forecasting and research skills He should be able to multi task and meet targets Experience in online marketing, advertising and public relations is also helpful He should have good networking, leadership and negotiation skills9.2.3 Education and QualificationsIn order to be a social media manager, one needs to have graduate degree in any field preferably inhotel management. He should be proficient in the computer programmes and software required in thisfield.A company sponsored 6 months training will able him to carry out his duties and responsibilities ef-fectively 23
  28. 28. 10 Conclusion10.1 SummarySocial media for sustainable tourism was conducted purely on social media platforms. A consumersurvey was done to understand key aspects of consumer awareness and consumer psyche towards sus-tainable tourism development. The study was then used to make the Social Media CommunicationHexagon and broad recommendations.10.2 EvaluationThe dissertations objectives were – 1. To understand consumer point of view towards sustainable tourism entities 2. Create an internet based marketing plan Aiming at Increasing consumer awareness and recog- nition worldwide 3. Create a consumer facing online entity 4. Build loyal communities which will support efforts in difficult times 5. Improve sales I managed to achieve partial success. Objective 1, 2 and 3 were achieved via the Social MediaCommunication Hexagon. The SMC Hexagon Fig 6.a is a culmination of the research done and myown inputs. When put into practice it will assist in forming a strong and viable roadmap to achievingobjective‟s 4 and 5.10.3 Future WorkTo completely achieve success in the mentioned objectives the SMC Hexagon needs to be adopted bythe industry. With continued testing and larger surveys the SMC hexagon will naturally evolve to amuch broader entity appealing to all segments of the hospitality industry. 24
  29. 29. References[1] Wikipedia page on social media, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media#cite_note-13[2] Worldwide statistics regarding social media growth and usage - http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7334-social-media-statistics-one-year-later[3] Wikipedia page on podcast http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast[4] Wikipedia page on Blog http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog[5] Wikipedia page on Social Bookmarking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_bookmarking[6] Wikipedia page on Social Networking service http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking_service[7] Wikipedia page on Facebook http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook[8] Wikipedia page on LinkedIn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linkedin[9] Wikipedia page on Twitter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter[10] Wikipedia page on Flickr http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flickr[11] Wikipedia page on YouTube http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtube 25
  30. 30. Appendix 1[A] http://digitalhospitality.info/surveys/ 26

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