Of the industries impacted by the internet, the travel and hospitality industries are amongst those impacted greatest. While companies within these industries have faced numerous digital challenges, there can be little doubt that the web has benefitted forward thinking players immensely.

When it comes to hotels, however, a survey conducted by TravelClick found that a full quarter were still ignoring social media for purposes of "[increasing] occupancy and revenue per available room."

In the hotelier's social media marketing mix, Facebook is, not surprisingly, the most popular social media hub. Of hotels using social media, 65% are active on Facebook. That number drops to 20% for Twitter, 10% for Groupon and just 8% for Foursquare.

According to TravelClick, 57% of the respondents to its survey are increasing their spend on display ads and 20% are increasing their spend on paid search. But not investing in social could be a mistake.

Jonathan Cherins, TravelClick's CMO:

It’s important that hotels don’t rely solely on advertising to increase bookings. Hoteliers should be incorporating a mix of online marketing, GDS media as well as social media in order touch their key audiences.

He may be right. According to the latest L2 Digital IQ Index for travel, social media is a significant source of traffic for 78% of travel websites.

More importantly, "for 90% of sites, social media [is] a top destination site after visiting their site (accounting for 11% of downstream traffic overall)." It makes sense that travel is a research-driven category. After all, who would want to book a hotel room if other travelers report rude service or bed bugs?

When it comes to monitoring and defending reputation online, promoting bookings in the process of course, it would only seem logical that hotels become more invested in social media.

At the same time, there are certainly challenges. One of the biggest: consumers are very price sensitive. Indeed, two thirds of the hoteliers TravelClick asked indicated that "rate is still a key factor in bookings." Only 4% disagreed.

As always, the devil is in the details and just like in every other industry, hotels will need to balance the importance of social media with the need for ROI.

Hyatt's Twitter concierge may or may not be the type of social media initiative that works (read: produces real ROI), but in the coming years it will almost certainly become more difficult for hotels to ignore social media altogether as some still do.

Patricio Robles

Published 14 June, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)



Thanks for the great post. It's surprising to me that I still find hotels choosing not to participate in social media. They are still waiting for the fad to end...
The hospitality industry I think has a unique opportunity to engage not only with their potential guests, but also with their in-house guests on social media, to further enhance their hotel experience.
Don't just offer a special to get them in the door, but grant them even more special offers in-house. Treat it like a "Groupon Now" platform. If a Spa appt cancels, tweet it ONLY to in-house guests at a discounted rate, or if a table frees up at their restaurant.
This experience will certainly get them talking after their stay, creating a very positive buzz for your hotel.

about 7 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

Depends what is right for them really, whilst it would be useful and beneficial to set up a facebook page, realistically a small hotel probably won’t get many more bookings by having a Facebook page unless there is something unusual or special about it.

Any hotel businesses do need to be looking at TripAdvisor and similar sites, replying to negative reviews, providing open honest info. This is where people look for information before booking rather than Facebook

about 7 years ago


Patricia Evans

I definitely agree to this one. As I see it, hotel websites are not that into Social Media Marketing. Almost all Travel and Hotel Sites has a good PR compared to other niches but if you notice its Backlinks and Popularity, you can see the big difference compared to other category. Almost all links and referral of a Hotel Site comes from Travel Directories and Local Directories. This simply shows that these Hotels are Waiting and not Advertising.

about 7 years ago

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