Social media has had a wide reaching impact on the tourism industry. The channels that hospitality organisations choose to utilise range from Facebook to Twitter, and Pinterest to Instagram, as well as the most direct user-generated-content channel, TripAdvisor.
Social media platforms are now part of many hospitality organisation’s customer relationship management strategy and act as a customer service portal. Customers are taking to social media and making observations both good and bad.
They are expecting real-time responses from the organisations that they are discussing on these platforms. This is particularly normal for the millennial generation, (those between 20 to 35 years of age) who are predicted to replace the baby boomers as the dominant consumer group by 2017.
In order to stay ahead of the curve and to capture the need to meet customer’s expectations, hotels, peer-to-peer tourism initiatives, restaurants, airlines, public transport authorities and visitor attractions have had to get on board with these platforms. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with 800 million active users, a statistic that simply cannot be ignored by the tourism industry. It allows its users to post and comment on topics, upload videos and photos, check into locations and interact with friends online and people they know.
TripAdvisor has 50 million unique monthly visitors and the platform is dedicated to enabling its users to seek out trip information and advice from other travellers. It also has over 200 million reviews and opinions which have been logged by its users since it first began 15 years ago. Today, if your organisation is not within the top five places on TripAdvisor and certainly if it is not in the top ten, you are losing out to your competitors.
User generated content on social media sites is huge. It is a game-changer within the tourism industry and when you consider that 160 contributions are posted on TripAdvisor every single minute for example, you can see why. To view more interesting facts and figures about the impact that social media has had on the tourism industry, check out this infographic produced by Ard na Sidhe Country House.