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The Impact of Social Media in the Travel & Hospitality Industry

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As the world of online marketing continues to grow, and new ways of communicating with niche markets are sought out, Social Media has withstood the onslaught of critics and has proved to be a winner. That being said the challenge for business is to use Social Media in the most creative way in their own organisations so that they can reach their prospects and customers in a manner that builds strong and healthy long term relationships. Mobile Technology & Social Media Marketing The parallel rise of mobile technology has proven to be a boon for social media marketers. The soaring popularity of android and iphone based applications has seen social media take over from email in mobile comm

As the world of online marketing continues to grow, and new ways of communicating with niche markets are sought out, Social Media has withstood the onslaught of critics and has proved to be a winner. That being said the challenge for business is to use Social Media in the most creative way in their own organisations so that they can reach their prospects and customers in a manner that builds strong and healthy long term relationships.

Mobile Technology & Social Media Marketing

The parallel rise of mobile technology has proven to be a boon for social media marketers. The soaring popularity of android and iphone based applications has seen social media take over from email in mobile communication, so much so that mobile phone companies are vying to outdo each other by offering Social Media browsing as part of their plans to customers.

Spotlight on the Travel & Hospitality Industry

Several new industries will be spotlighted in 2011 for the innovative use of Social Media. Among these the Travel & Hospitality industry will see a greater use of Social Media Technologies to promote their business. Travel & Hospitality industries will use mobile Social Media platforms as promotional and operational channels to win and retain customers.

Creative use of Social Media

While it is up to individual travel & hospitality businesses to think of creative ways of using Social Media, one example could be by using a Social Media site such Twitter or Four Square or Facebook (or all) to post updates of special off-season discounts that travellers could take advantage of. Since only followers of the travel business will be notified, this would encourage more customers to follow the business on these sites. A Social Media sites such as Twitter, Four Square or Facebook (or all) could also be used to promote local events by hospitality businesses such as a theme night at a hotel.

Instead of spending huge amounts on video tours, hotels can take a video of their hotel and post it on their YouTube channel for a much lower cost. When new features are added, the video can be easily updated, saving time and money.

Similarly Flicker updates can be posted by resorts and hotels showing “then & now” photos, celebrity visits and other attractions. What many tourists seek is assurance that the photographs they see on the hotel website are actually what they will get to see when they travel to the destination. Geotagging and photographs generated by users reassure visitors that they will get what they pay for.

Viral Marketing – the fast & low-cost option to attract loyal customers

Viral Marketing is what makes the internet so special as a marketing tool. By offering incentives such as discount vouchers and frequent flyer points to their loyal customer base for referring customers to a hotel or restaurant, these businesses can increase their sales faster and at a much lower cost than through mainstream advertising.

While it may appear that putting such initiatives into place are time consuming and take away from the day-to-day operations of the business, there are a number of automation tools that simplify the task of social media marketing. Seeking out these tools and making use of them makes it easy for employees to optimise their time in using social media for acquiring & retaining customers.

While social media has emerged as a marketing tool that needs to be integrated into the marketing plan, travel and hospitality businesses need to keep abreast of the emerging trends, evaluate the ones that are best suited to their marketing efforts and implement them before they are outmanoeuvred by the competition and lose out on market share.

About the Author:

Logan Nathan is an author and entrepreneur who divides his time teaching entrepreneurs about how to implement social media in their businesses and in running his successful internet marketing business. Among the e-books Logan has authored are the popular Twitter Secrets for Your Business and Social Media Secrets for Your Business. Details of the workshops that Logan regularly conducts can be obtained from http://www.socialmediaforbusiness.com.au/.

Logan’s social media marketing expertise is highly sought after and he has spoken at marketing events in Australia & Europe. Visit ICTIP for more details on how you can take advantage of internet marketing and social media to grow your business.