Social Media is a platform which has changed the way people connect with each other. With the advent of rampant social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a dramatic impact on the perception of consumer behaviour is seen. Thus, the service industry has access to consumer’s wants and needs via these big social platforms. One such industry that is benefiting from the social media is Travel and Tourism Industry.
Today, user generated content is the best form of marketing available. Prospective travellers rely more on the word which is spread by a traveller who has already been there. According to MindShift Interactive, a digital research and outreach agency, the increased dependency on Social Media by travellers is growing faster than the travel industry itself. India’s travel category garnered the second largest share (42%) of total Internet visitors in Asia, with 17.8 million average monthly unique visitors in the 1st quarter of 2011. Their analysis of Ímpact of Social Media on Hospitality and Tourism Industry’, shows Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most popular and effective social media networks for marketing within the tourism and hospitality industry. They cater to the need of consumers to review brands, locations and read user experiences, whilst also responding actively to queries and comments. Twitter, Facebook and forums such as indiamike.com and flyertalk.com were the major platforms for conversations on hospitality and tourism.
For the accommodation industry, social media is more than a trend—it’s a necessity. Budget travellers have always been flexible, but the instant information now allows travellers to actually plan to be flexible, which means they require 24/7 access to the most current promotions and information. Real-time interaction with the consumer means that the tourism industry can react almost instantly to trends among customers and by monitoring their status become ever more proactive rather than reactive. In effect services can be redesigned and constantly updated according to reports generated by social media activity.
More than ever, budget travellers are tapping into the wealth of online travel information to find the best promotions and the most current information. And by foregoing brand name hotel chains, they have even more cash for activities, food and those irresistible last minute deals.
It’s current statistics show that travellers trust other travellers, who are doing more online travel research than ever before. It’s happening in real time, so travellers can stretch their budgets by taking advantage of last minute deals, contests and information. And if you’re travelling alone, there’s nothing more comforting than going online and seeing dozens of other travellers with the same interests (and worries).`
Social media can make it easier for both large brands and small independent hotels to tell their stories. In the case of large brands, hotels have the opportunity to highlight individual properties. While, smaller companies can use social media to reach their customers without a national advertising budget. Various hotels use Twitter, for instance, to communicate promotions and remind customers what they’re about.
Hence, with huge revolution in the E and M Commerce, the service industry is finding it easy to accelerate the conversation with the customer and enabling easy and free flow service.
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