Is Social Media for Hotels Overrated?


Is Social Media Overrated?

Yesterday I had an interesting telephone conversation with Olivier Soares of Quickwin Solutions on the subject “Am I a Believer”?

I answered that possibly a hotel can not afford to miss out on the opportunity and that it might be a “necessary evil”, similar to using OTA’s as a hotel’s billboard and when using such channels paying commissions for reservations.

That discussion brought me to the above question. I personally feel that like any tool, social media has its pros and cons. But how far stretches its relevance? Is it so that word of mouth can make or break a brand in the social media space? Is it so, that consumers have more power than ever, and that power grows with every follower, fan page and blog?

Seeing this, I thought of having the underneath poll in hearing your opinion.

In my opinion, social media is just another way of connecting – a channel, which cannot replace the value of human interaction, so intrinsically important for the hospitality industry. Sure, social media in itself is powerful – it is significantly affecting the way we interact, but “social media” needs to be taken with a little nuance in approaching, while integrating with other tools and channels. So, it requires answering some basic questions, not any different of other marketing tool:

  1. “Who are you trying to reach”?
  2. “Is the channel appropriate for the segment”?
  3. “What are the objectives of your social media activities?”

When done correctly, social media allows hoteliers to target more effectively than ever before in reaching a greater, relevant population. Its viral capacity at a – in principle – lower cost than conventional media is a great benefit, besides offering the possibility of converting (potential) guests into loyal, vocal advocates. The instant feedback of social media allows for highly dynamic, interactive marketing campaigns and opportunity for improvement in servicing our guests.

In an earlier post I already referred, that there still a lot is in the dark with respect to a hotel’s ROI as we are still writing the book and little referencing material to benchmark. Having said this, when being clear on targeting, telling a hotel’s story, in actively listening and by constant measuring, I am confident that Social Media is a vital and effective part of any successful modern hospitality business.

Every day social media represents a larger and larger audience and it should be incorporated as a specific channel in a diverse marketing mix. I would argue that if anything, social media is underrated as a marketing tool and efforts can bring measurably positive results. Examples are out there, although not (yet?) in the hotel industry e.g. Ford, Old Spice and Starbuck’s just to name a few.

What do you feel?  Share your thoughts and experiences here!

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5 Responses to Is Social Media for Hotels Overrated?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is Social Media for Hotels Overrated? | Hospitality Marketing Chronicles --

  2. Great post, Marc, and a very relevant question. I don’t think the *potential* of social media is overrated, but I do think a lot of time is being wasted by hotels because a clear strategy is not in place. Also, way to much time is being spent socializing on Facebook and Twitter when the real decision-making is taking place on online review sites. Only when priorities are shifted in that direction will social media not be overrated. DEC

    • marcsontag says:

      Hi Daniel, thank you very much for your response. Could not agree more with the apparent lack of strategy – in Marketing as a whole I would suppose – ; Social Media is not a “stand-alone” tactic. It needs to be intergrated in the marketing mix, while assessing which channels serve the target segments best. I hear you on the review sites and have been following your articles on Management Response keenly and you are spot on with those. However, still doubtful about the potential of the Tripadvisor Business Listing though.

  3. Pingback: Are you a believer ? Or, “Is Social Media for Hotels Overrated” (follow-up from @marcsontag) ?

  4. Pingback: Is Going Social Always the Right Path to Take? |

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