Whenever a new technology takes the world by storm, innovators are quick to ponder what the next big thing will be. However, once every few decades, a new technology makes an impact with permanence that is undeniable. The birth of social media is undoubtedly that rare next big thing that’s more than a fad. Many researchers agree that we as a society are entering a boom period with more people utilizing social media now than ever.
This blog has specifically explored how the hotel industry has been quick to jump on the seemingly endless possibilities that social media has to offer. Going forward, it would be wise to assume that this industry will continue to develop new techniques to market to a contemporary audience on a global scale. It is important to know that the hospitality industry has not simply taken their 20th century marketing formula and placed it online. They have revamped their approach in its entirety and continually alter it for a 21st century platform/audience. Recent studies have shown that now more than ever, travelers (both leisure and professional) increasingly prefer to book their hotels online thanks to social media marketing/brand marketing online.
Looking towards the future, several things seem inevitable. First, the continued growth of social media will tighten the marketing hold the hospitality industry has on hoteliers. Secondly, perceptions of specific hotels and hotel franchises as a whole will be almost entirely determined by online reviews from past visitors. More importantly, hoteliers will be exposed to these reviews on social media sites thanks to the concept of sharing. There is also a down side to the ‘out-in-the-open’ aspect of hotels’ reputations on social media sites. If a hotel does not deliver a pleasurable experience to a customer comparable to that of another, that person may write an extremely negative review to be shared online. An extremely negative view is far more likely to spread down the social media ladder than a positive one. Regardless of the negative impact to the hotel industry that the exposure social media provides, the fact of the matter is, it’s still exposure. In the future, increased exposure will continue to drive social media, the hospitality industry, and most intrinsically, their relationship to each other.