Digital transformation: the role of social media in the hospitality industry
5 min read
5 min read
WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE
Do you have a Facebook, YouTube or Instagram account? Given that you are one of the 3.773 billion internet users worldwide, chances are you also belong to the steadily growing digital community of 2.789 billion active social media users. According to Digital in 2017 Global Overview report, there are 1.871 billion active users monthly on Facebook, 1 billion on YouTube and 600 million on Instagram which highlights the pivotal role of social media in society. It has transformed the way we communicate, learn, have fun, and even affects how people choose to eat or travel.
WHY BE THERE
Used strategically, social media can become a real asset for bussinesses within the hospitality industry. A focused approach to social media can help build a strong brand, allow a greater exposition world wide, boost reservations, create and maintain better relationships with customers and, last but not least, provide the perfect tool to interact directly with them.
Social media channels could be viewed as an extension of the company’s website as they give you the tools to invite new customers and for previous customers to follow the business page, to comment and give feedback, to share transparent and honest reviews and pictures. This is a great opportunity for creating user-generated content turning your guests and customers into your brand ambassadors.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
148.3 million people use the Internet to make reservations for their accommodations, tours and activities which represents more than 57% of all travel reservations each year. And when it comes to online reservations, customer reviews do matter to the extent that they could make the difference between gaining or losing a potential guest. Now, how does the pattern of usage of social media by customers of tourism and hospitality look like?
It all starts with a thorough online research on different tourist destinations by searching for reviews and other relevant information on social media. After the destination has been selected, the search continues to evaluate various accommodation options. This is a very important touch-point for travel brands because if you manages to present yourself to the vacationer properly, this could influence the 33% that change hotels, or the 7% that change their destination. According to a survey by Fuel Travel, 83.4% of respondents said that they will not book a hotel without reading online reviews first and 85% of TripAdvisor users agree that a thoughtful response to a bad review will improve their impression of a hotel.
DURING THE TRIP
When the vacation is on, the search for information continues regarding activities to do at the destination or restaurants to visit. A study by COMSCORE reveals that during the trip travelers mainly seek information regarding activities to do (58%), restaurant information and reviews (37%), and hotel/accommodation (36%).
Apart from searching for information, travelers share real-time experiences. Facebook is one of the prime destinations for sharing life events and travel related content, according to AdWeek. 52% of users surveyed said their friend’s photos inspired travel plans, and 76% post their vacation photos to social networks. When it comes to Instagram, with more than 200 million posts tagged #food and 23 million with #drinks, food and beverage photos are easily some of the most popular types of content there.
The end of the vacation doesn’t mark the end of the social media sharing around it. On the contrary, when returning home, the travelers start evaluating the quality of their experience. An online survey conducted by Statista in Germany shows that vacation, travel & accommodation is the second most popular topic when it comes to customer reviews with 93.4% of respondents stating they have posted online ratings about it. Every minute, more than 280 reviews and opinions are written on TripAdvisor.
With 98.5 million photos related to travel shared during the course of 2016, Instagram is another social media tool, highly used by travelers to share their vacation experience. This type of user generated content could be extremely valuable for your businesses if used strategically. According to Daily Insights, a user-generated photo has 4.5% higher chance for conversion. It is very likely that your customers are posting with or without your interaction.
ALL IN ALL
What is clear is that social media has become a key tool for the hospitality industry with the power to transform and help you grow your business. By using it to learn more about your customers, engage with your audience and extend your brand reach, you’ll be able to build a long-lasting relationship with your guests, foster loyalty and create a strong recognizable brand identity.
So, are you ready to take the steering wheel and drive your business into the digital reality of social media? If you are looking for a professional, simple, fast and effective solution for your hotel, restaurant, bar or other recreational facility, get in touch with us and see how Aryxe’s Social Media team can boost your social media strategy.
COMSCORE (2013), p.24, Base: leisure travelers who searched for information through social media during the trip (n= 581), Question: “What type of information did you seek for each of the following travel phases for this trip?”