The emergence of social networking websites means a new form of business-to-customer communication unlike any other before it. Compared to traditional advertising, there are new rules at play here: transparency, credibility, and an audience that primarily controls the message.
If you work in the hospitality industry, there are specific websites you should know about and be active on, and methods of leveraging mounds of social media content.
Social Media, in General
Social media is, for the most part, user-generated content published on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. It’s not advertisement, and should not be measured or perceived in the same manner. A successful social media campaign is not sold out of a box, and it is not delivered using a clever sales tactic. It requires meaningful participation, authenticity, and real engagement.
The goal of investment and participation in social media should be to open new channels of communication and foster lasting relationships with potential customers.
After all, a “friend” is much more likely to buy from you than a stranger.
How Social Media Affects the Hospitality Industry
Research shows that there is a growing proclivity among web users to tune out “corporate speak” that has come to define the landscape of business websites. More than likely, your message is being diluted by the tidal wave of meaningless blather and vapid website copy on competing hotel sites. However these “controlled” messages are now being replaced by what customers say on third party travel and hotel sites like Expedia and Trip Advisor. Therefore past visitors to your hotel are now influencing the decision making process of your future guests.