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    Influences of Social Media on Travel Industry

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    If people are asking what is the most important industry in the state of Hawaii, the answer will be the travel industry certainly. However, the travel industry is also becoming more and more influential besides Hawaii but worldwide since the industry has boosted the economy and along with other industries. Following Weston 2015, the travel industry had built up 9.5% to the global economy, and there were 4.7 million are job opportunities provided by the travel industry in 2013. The travel industry is expected to acquire an additional 299 million international tourists from 2012 to 2017 since there were a mass of new hotels opened and 1.3 million hotel rooms added roughly(Weston, 2015). There are many destinations and tourist cities worldwide is trying to develop and promote the tourism industry by providing excellent travel experiences, unforgettable memories for tourists, therefore, for those businesses like airlines, restaurants, hotels that related to the tourism industry should be having great marketing strategies that help the business to attract more tourists and contribute the revenue is important to them undoubtedly.

    To choose a good place to stay is one of the most important things when people are trying to plan their trip. Thus, the hotel that the tourist going to stay will be the priority matter, and they want to finalize before they make any else tourism decision. The hotel industry is not only providing the core service of lodging services to tourists, but most of the hotels will also be providing some of the supporting products and augmented products such as the Mini-bar, food services, Freeride, personal tour guide, atmosphere, and the customer service to the customer. All this can be the factors that affect the quality of the trip; hence, how can the tourist find the perfect hotel that matches all the expectation from them’since we are in the digital and wireless generation, social media may be the best tool to assist tourists to find all the information that they want to inquire. According to the World Travel Market (WTM) Industry Report and Global Trends Report, 30% travelers have used mobile apps to find hotel deals and 44% of travelers use their phones to research travel while they’re actually traveling(WTM, 2015). Thereout, tourists tend to use social media to seek out the information when they needed, also the traveler loves to share their travel experiences on social media. The Big 3 social networks which are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; when people are sharing their travel experiences on these social networks and some travelers are learning the previous travel experiences from those posts meanwhile. According to Guta 2018, 97% of the respondents indicate the reputation on social media is important to the business(Guta, 2018), by this taken, the social media does not only influence the tourism decision-making by the tourist but also the advantage of the tourism business.

    TripAdvisor is one of the most popular and largest social media in the world that traveler can seek out the information on the website when they needed. According to Smith 2019, TripAdvisor has over 455 million users and 570 million reviews and many options of wide services for consumers, and more than 90% of the topics will be replied to within 24 hours on the website(Stikky Media, 2013). The website offering over 7.3 million hotels, airlines, restaurants, and attractions. Consumers can compare the pricing of over 200 hotels worldwide to find the best deal, and consumers can book the hotel, flight ticket even the attraction ticket on the website directly(Smith, 2019).

    According to Statista 2018, the data shows the number of hotels listed on TripAdvisor from 2014 to 2017. The number of hotels listed on the website has increased almost 300 thousand in the past 4 years obviously, the data has indicated the hotel industry should realize the influence that social media may bring to the industry. The data from Stikky Media 2013, there are 46% of traveler will share their hotel experience as the review on social media. How these review influence on travel bookings? There are 33% of the traveler indicated that changed their hotel after they research their travel plan on social media and read about the reviews(Stikky Media, 2013). According to ReviewPro 2015, there are 95% of TripAdvisor users have indicated before they plan a trip and choose a hotel, reading the reviews it is an important step for them, and 83% of the TripAdvisor users have indicated will take the suggestion from the reviews before making any booking decision. Hence, social media can be the reason that has a direct effect on the tourism decision once the traveler gets offered from the social networks with their friends or families’ previous travel experiences or the reviews from the website like TripAdvisor.

    However, the influence that social media brings to the hotel industry can be considered as a positive influence or negative influence. It is about the reviews matter to the traveler, if the hotel has received most of the positive reviews and great ranking on TripAdvisor, the hotel will receive more reservations, higher average daily rate, and revenue. According to Lyle 2015, the hotel has ranked number one on TripAdvisor, and the hotel received 56% of the direct bookings more than the hotel ranked 40th places each month. If the hotel has the most reviews or the most interaction with consumers, the hotel will be positioned to the very first page which is mean when travelers try to search hotels on the platform, the hotel with high reviews will be the first result on TripAdvisor. In addition, TripAdvisor is offering the top three hotels can be included in a TripAdvisor newsletter with no additional charge as the bonus. If the hotel has a high ranking and best reviews on TripAdvisor, the hotel does not only get benefits from TripAdvisor but also from online travel agencies. Most of the OTAs will take advantage of TripAdvisor to help their consumers find the perfect hotel. In other words, if you are the top ranked on TripAdvisor then you will be received extra consumer from different platforms.

    Although all of the data above have shown that social media is beneficial to the hotel industry, however, we cannot neglect the negative reviews or malicious comments, even fake comments by the competitors. Every bad review has received, it may lose part of the consumers who read the bad review. According to the survey by TripAdvisor and Pho Us Wright in 2012, there are 84% of participants out of 2800 claimed that if the managements has a proper response to those negative reviews and address the issues, it will enhance the impression from the previous negative review; and 64% of the participants claimed that if the management has emotional overreaction for the negative reviews then it will make the possibility of choosing the hotel lower. Therefore, even one proper response to the negative review can increase engagement with consumers. In addition, managements can take advantage of those negative reviews arise constantly, then the management should take action to address and improve the issue because most consumers are not satisfied if the management just responded with a simply apologize, but if they see the explanation and actions to address the issue that they have experienced, the consumer may be returning in the future potentially(Smith, 2015).

    In view of the importance of the review matters on social media for the hotel industry, and fake review is becoming one of the most important issues that people are concerned. Fake reviews fall into three categories; personal bias positive reviews, personal bias negative reviews and paid reviews. Those fake reviews on social media probably from the customer who comment with some personal bias; probably from those strong competitors because of the intensive competition and some businesses try to attract more consumers and writing positive fake reviews for their own business. The hotel industry should be proactive with those fake reviews; if received any negative fake reviews; the managements should take less than 48 hours to respond, and be respectful since the social media is a public platform, the management should address the issue to improve consumer’s impression from the negative reviews.

    The relationship between social media and hotel industry can be considered as reciprocal. Hotel industry should take advantage of the traffic from those social media; to formulate a great advertising campaign marketing strategy can be a good idea to promote the business. For instance, encouraging the consumer has a good connection with the hotel or loyalty consumers to post their experience or something extra offer to consumers if they rate the hotel on the social media website to achieve the win-win outcome. In addition, social media should address the issue of fake reviews; such as TripAdvisor should be having the policy to resist the existence of fake reviews to ensure all users’ rights. The real-name registration system which is mandatory required the user to provide identification credentials such as ID number, legal name, this system is not used extensively yet for social media in the U.S, but this can be a good topic to discuss if the real-name registration system can control the issue of the fake reviews on social media and improve the lack of transparency between the user and social media.

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    Influences of Social Media on Travel Industry. (2021, Aug 24). Retrieved from

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