Social Media and Hospitality Industry
Social media is increasing on the internet very quickly, with millions of people, who have already joined it. It is a young phenomenon, impulsed by the desire of meeting and chatting with friends, on a single platform, such as Facebook® or Twitter®. But, social media means to join groups and pages, to participate to debates, to give feedbacks or reviews too. In this way, how is it useful for hotels and hospitality companies? What are the advantages? What are the drawbacks? In the first part, this essay will analyse the different advantages for hotel marketing, of employing social media.
Then, it will study the drawbacks that social media pages can create against hospitality establishments. What kind of advantages could a social media page create? Since 2010, companies have understood that, social media could play an important role, as an advertising and marketing tool. In fact, companies, such as Best Western International® (the largest hospitality company in the world), which dispose of a powerful marketing system, have understood, that a social media page, is read by millions of people, and so, by customers too.
In this way, if a hospitality company makes his own page, this one, will be ridden by a lot of people and then, will increase the reputation of the company. Of course, reputation isn’t the only goal of a social media. On its page, a hotel group will be able to inform people about special offers and events in their different establishments. The page will be able to work as a newsletter too. Indeed, in addition to special offers and events, a hotel can actualize the page with news to tell customers what’s happening in their hotels and business in general.
As mentioned before, people are able to give feedback, reviews and their opinion on social media. Here as a consequence comes one of the most important roles of social media in hospitality industry: feedback and reviews. Indeed, hospitality companies can tell customers to give their opinions about their hotels around the world. In this way, companies are able to increase, upgrade the quality service and see all different problems in their establishments (broken tiles, leaking showers, stained carpet and many others…).
Furthermore, social media can be used as powerful spyware tool. It looks like very strange, but thanks to social media pages, hospitality businesses are able to keep an eye on competitors. For example, they will know what happens in others companies, what sort of programs are they launching (loyalty program for example) and if rave reviews are increasing about their hotels. In addition to be a “competition tool” social media stimulates hospitality companies to offer the best quality service. But, there are not only good points about social media.
Indeed, as I said, these networks, can be used to spy others companies which are in competition. In this way, we can be sure that hospitality companies have some strategies, to “eliminate” competitors. Social media as a consequence can be considered as weapons, and more precisely, with reviews. Who knows if a hospitality organization isn’t going to join a competitor’s platform and post harsh reviews like A. A. Guill, just in the aim to create a drop in customers? There is the same problem with customers.
If one of them had a bad experience in one of the hotels of a company, he will certainly post a very bad review on its Facebook®, or Twitter page®, which will be ridden by millions of people. These same people as a consequence, (and sadly, a lot of won’t stand back), by reading this review, will become more suspicious and will try to avoid this establishment. So, it represents a loss of money for this establishment and for all the company at last. Now, imagine that millions of customers do the same deviousness. I don’t think that it will only represent a “little” loss of money for the hospitality company.
There is another problem with a social media page which could affect the quality service of a hospitality group: actualization. Yes, if it doesn’t actualize its page, customers would be able to think, that the hospitality company, doesn’t pay attention to them. As a result, it will have a lot of repercussions on the quality provided by the hotel, such as the argument of the competitor with a social page. And of course, we have to raise another point about the idea of actualization. Yes, to update the page, someone is required.
It means that a firm must pay a new employee to develop, update and actualize the social media page. In other words, it means: a loss of money, less benefits. To conclude, hospitality companies, have big interests to create their own social page. But, they have to anticipate at all costs the drawbacks created by these networks and pay attention to this terrible vicious circle which can push them to their loss, to their decline. This young phenomenon, which attracts the most well-known companies such as Best Western International ® or Accor®, is a double-edged sword.