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Internet and Social Media in Hospitality Industry (Dissertation Review Sample)


the sample is about the use of the internet and social media in the hospitality industry on customer engagement and information sharing across the globe.


Internet And Social Media In Hospitality Industry
Internet and Social Media in Hospitality Industry
The last decade has resulted in unprecedented growth in the development and the use of the internet and social media. The new overall development of the internet and the new technologies has brought significant effect in the hospitality industry. This industry has experienced remarkable development since the beginning of the internet and the social media era. Today, the utilization of the internet and social media has transformed the operations of the hospitality sector through the creation of new online opportunities and progress facilitated by the ease of communication. Additionally, the internet and the popularity of the social media platforms have provided new opportunities for marketing and strategic decisions for firms in the hospitality industry. Utilization of the internet and the social media websites also boosts customer engagement and information sharing across the globe.
Literature Review
Many organizations today are using the internet and social media to project themselves in ways that suit specific audiences whereas other users embrace an open approach. According to Deloitte (2015), social media and new trends in technology have played an important role especially in the hospitality industry. This is attributed to the ability of millions of individuals having access to the internet and social media platforms across the globe. The numbers of people with the ability to access and use to the internet have increased by over 50% by 2015 (Deloitte, 2015). According to Computer Economics (2010), the internet and web-based tools such as the social media websites enable individuals to have the ability to publish information on the Web in data, audio or video formats.
The traditional word-of-mouth forms of publicity have drastically transformed into online publicity owing to the growth of the internet and social media. Accordingly, this development has become a powerful tool to promote the hospitality industry in every nation, region and the world. According to Reactive, (2007), the social media can be referred to as websites built on Web 2.0 technologies to offer space for extensive social interaction, community formation and the dealing with mutual projects. The internet and the social media is currently the biggest development that has reshaped the traditional marketing methods in the hospitality and tourism industry (Reactive, 2007). Many benefits accrue from using the internet and social media in the hospitality industry. The benefits include low-cost investment, live customer interactions, and brand communication unlike the commercial advertising using other media (Hailey, 2010). Direct communication facilitates a live and two-way communication between a firm’s representative and the customers using social media platforms and other internet-based applications such as Viber and Skype. This type of communication enables both parties to uphold honesty and transparency regarding any topic of discussion. This form of communication further promotes firms in the hospitality industry to promote their brand and build brand awareness in the market (Labbrand Consulting, 2010).
The majority of customers today put a lot of emphasis on other customers’ reviews available in the public domain during a purchase decision-making process. Both positive and negative reviews of firms in the hospitality industry provide insight on the products available and help customers to make a decision on what to buy or not buy (Hospitality Industry, 2010). According to Nielsen (2010), about 57% of customers always do an online research and carefully go through the available reviews before buying any product or service. Firms in the hospitality industry have included the internet and social media as a marketing tool that is included in the marketing budgets. A blend of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are necessary, print media and other commercials help in promoting hospitality brands to local, regional and global customers.
According to Starkov and Mechoso (2008), the factors of social networking websites facilitate exclusive impacts for the hospitality industry including visitors, personnel and management. Social media platforms and the internet offer a rating system that can be utilized to create, monitor and assess the reputation and image of the firm. On many occasions, the online consumer-generated information regarding a product or service is perceived as highly credible especially content related to the hospitality sector. Hospitality firms’ involvement in online social networking is to be cost-effective and allows easy interaction with existing and potential customers. The utilization of the internet and social media websites offers firms with direct access to active individuals without installation of additional hardware or software. Today, the internet and social media websites are accessible, user-friendly, and appealing to individuals despite their age, ethnicity or cultural backgrounds. As such, many hotels, restaurants and travel firms have been largely involved in the internet and social network platforms. The main reason behind the internet and social media involvement by the hospitality firms include the ability to interact with customers by establishing innovative tailor-made solutions and quick responsive customer service (Kasavana, Nusair & Teodosic, 2010).
The increased usage of customized websites and social media platforms offers potential customers with an opportunity to assess the features of different products and services available and compare what different firms are offering. Other customized websites offer individuals with the opportunity to create personal profiles and share their experiences, give feedback, share photos and suggest possible changes to make the next experiences even better. The internet and social media has helped some firms in maintaining their competitive advantage. Additionally, may hospitality firms have developed company-specific websites used to advertise their products and services to the global market. Under such company-specific websites, existing customers provide testimonials and experiences from the specific facilities. Such information from existing customers is crucial to marketing the brand and providing crucial information that can be used to attract many potential customers (Green, 2009).
Other forms of internet use such as blogging have shown immense effects on the firms in the hospitality industry. The blogs possess both positive and negative impacts, especially if not managed properly (Thevenot, 2007). Blogs are normally used to post content regarding a given subject that is later subjected to reviews from the online customers. Bloggers are capable of uploading content in the form of still images, audio or video data for people to respond and comment. Some of the information contained in this blogs is readily available for the internet and social media users all over the world. As such, many hospitality industry firms exploit the blogging trend by meticulously following the comments that relate to their business operations, products and services. Research shows that hotels that engage their customers using the internet and social media platforms have a larger number of regular clientele and receive more customer referrals from their satisfied guests. According to Kasavana (2008), it is crucial for a firm in the hospitality industry to consider the good, bad or ugly since no comment goes unnoticed and any form of criticism is a benefit to the firm. Negative feedback is also considered significant as much as the positive feedback. Suggestions are also important and responses to every feedback and suggestion are required in order to avoid unfair criticism and negative publicity in cases of unaddressed issues.
Many hospitality businesses today exploit the social media and the internet for marketing, branding, PR and other forms of customer service operations. Social media plays an important role in any aspect of a business that requires the business to cover a large geographical location in the most cost effective way possible (Berkowitch, 2010). Further research by Stelzner (2010) found out that 90% of marketers utilize social media platforms and the internet to market their commodities. Additionally, over 50% of the businesses that use social media spent at least 6 hours a week online. Many other hospitality industry firms are also joining the online community by creating their profiles and spending time interacting on live chats with existing and potential customers. The majority of the companies involved in online marketing through social media platforms confirm that brand awareness and publicity as the main benefits. The online platforms also help in increasing physical traffic, finding new business partners and getting additional leads.
Using the internet and the social media platforms helps firms in the hospitality industry to significantly reduce costs related to information storage and inventory management (Robert, 2001). Additionally, the firms can also cut sown of the funds dedicated to infrastructure to conduct business, thus saving considerable amounts of money and sustaining profitability. The majority of firms in hospitality industry used complex infrastructure for advertisements and value chain and inventory management. However, the integration of the internet and social media networks helps the firms in cutting the costs of installing the physical infrastructure. Using the internet provides companies with a convenient platform to conduct such operations. The internet also helps in reaching existing and potential customers from restricted geographic boundaries where the physical structures could not reach. It is also easier to ...
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