UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
BA (HONS) INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
Module Title: E-Tourism
Assignment Topic: E-Tourism
Words Limit: 4500 words
Submission Deadline: 4th, May 2018
Name of Student: Lai Kwan Ngok, Quinn
Student ID Number: 179124389
Number of Words: 4704 words
There are much more different since 20th century, everything keeps improving nowadays. Especially development of technology, we used to receive worldwide message or contact friends through newspaper or letter 100 years ago. But now, social media can help us received the information faster, we just need to type in what we need or what we want, then information will show out in one second.
Because of technology and social media become mature nowadays and In the point of view of business companies (such as hotel industry), they do free advertisements to build their competitive, so there are many of the hotel using this opportunity to promote their brands through social media, not only hotel official website, also Facebook or Instagram these type social online platform, they try to make sure many people can read their advertisement while they searching what they need.
Mr Pedraza-Jiménez- a Spanish writer words can support my point of views in this introduction. According to Mr Pedraza-Jiménez (2015, p. 201) words, he said that: “With the rapid development of social media a lot of corporations use it to their advantage for their brands, services, and public relations. At the same time, the public make the most of social media for daily life including online purchasing, news reading, product information searching, and for many other services and forms of entertainment”.
In this paper, our objectives of this report are to clearly evaluate the use of Social Media in a hospitality business. The planning of the report is starting with the by literature review, in this part demonstrates the contribution ICT. After that, to better know the social media, so this paper including a case study, and discussed by a small and medium hotel industry, I will choose Butterfly Hotel on Prat with social media presence, to evaluate their current social media strategy and create a new detailed social media strategy, Because it is a local brand of hotel industry, not much people know about this hotel, so it can help me easily to identify their problems in social medias and so to develop the recommendation. Since they are limited in resources to advertise widely or promote to other companies.
According to textbook and some web I read in the internet, the term of Web 2.0 was proposed by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 and become popular by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty at the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco in late 2004, it became better known across the industry after the conference.
There is not any clear definition of Web 2.0,becuase it may having many concepts, the usually concepts we hear is it had marked the basic change in how we use the Internet and it is a current state of online technology as it compares to the early days of the Web, it represents the move toward a more social, cooperate, interactive and responsive web. Web 2.0 was a change in the philosophy of a web savvy society. Originally, it called web 1.0, it used to do the data was posted on Web sites, and users simply viewed or downloaded the content. But nowadays, users have more input into the nature and scope of Web content.
Social media is the collective of online communication channels, to work for community-based input, interaction, content-sharing, and cooperation. It is a phrase that we use around a lot these days, often to describe what we post on the websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others.
It can define the term easily or define it complicate, but we can define it in the best way to get a clear understanding of it is to separate it down into simple terms.
According to He and Pedraza-Jiménez (2015, p.201), they wrote that companies are become increasingly to use social media to collect positive and negative information or comments, to improve themselves and communicate with their target audience. Also, they noted that all of the social media strategies can improve their brands’ awareness and market share, such as the internet development in China, the Chinese internet users’ numbers hit 618 million in 2013, the internet penetration rate was 45.8%, it show that the power of internet which can share the information to these 618 million of users.
Moreover, since the fast development of technology, social media become a popular tool for marketing, and it helps the hospitality industry to promote their hotel. Hotel business can build a good relationship between customers in the internet and intensify their brands (Sheriffuddin, et al., 2013, p. 487). Also, Quinton (2013) mention that social media is the tool for the companies collect the data through traditional research. For example, some people who invest in the internet or stay in far away, it is hard to know their own opinion. But, if through social media it will be much more easily to get their respond as conducted in their digital space. Thereby, hotel business can collect their data and information to know what they can maintain, after that analysis what must they change and improve their industry.
However, there are lot of social media in the internet, like blog, forum, review, and micro-blog. So, they need to think about that what social media are the most suitable for them, how to affect the customers to attend in social media. And the following will know the functionality of major types of social medium.
SWOT for the use of social media
Combine the information I learnt and research, SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help an organization to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
It is intended to specify the internal factors (the strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (the potential opportunities and threats) that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving those objectives.
Users of a SWOT analysis usually produce many meaningful information for each category to make sure that the tools are useful, can be identify and build up their competitive advantages. It determines what assists the firm in accomplish its objectives, and what barriers must be conquer or reduce to achieve expect results: where the organization is today, and where it may be positioned in the future.
Strength & Opportunity
• Resources in terms of time and workforce
Team used to reply guest in letter, but now team can respond in the internet quickly and effectively, guest get the respond immediately, make sure guest will not
• Lower costs of communication and promotion
Social media is a tool of lower costs, manager can through social media to upload some information of the products in the internet, then it can reduce the prices to publish an advertisement.
• Easily to complete business transactions online
Managers can plan an online payment, it is convenient for both business processes and customer, thus customer can stay at home and complete their transactions on time, it can save the time and do not need to go out to shop, just need to ‘click’ once, then it will be done.
• Expansion to China
According to 21th century, China will unblock most of the websites in the internet, such as Facebook… That means it will be more than 13 million people can read the information or advertisement online, that will be having more chance to know by other users.
Weakness & Threat
• Difficult to measure the marketing effect of social media:
Most of companies just focus on their business and reputation of brand increase or not, thus neglect their market outcome of social media.
• Weak protection of users’ information and privacy issues like identity theft
Nowadays, internet security protect is too weak, it is easy to get users personal information from hackers, some of the companies will exchange user’s personal information to confirm they would got more users sources
• Users have ad-block extensions
Companies or hotel industry used to through social media to do the advertisement, force the users to watch it, but nowadays users can block the advertisement and choose to not watch it.
Although everything also has their own strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat, and they are relative to each other’s, but in my opinion, there are few of things to keep in mind about SWOT: They are every strength is a potential weakness, every weakness is a potential strength, every opportunity is a potential threat, and every threat is a potential opportunity. So, if we can consider more carefully, it would be so many potentials for the industry.
Types of Social Media
There are six type of social media we can classification, which is social networks, blogs, wikis, podcasts, forums, content communities and microblogging (Mayfield, 2008, p. 6). And as Hoosuite.com post that, I would integrate both I had research on the websites.
They are using for Linking people or keep connected to each other or brand in online communities (Hutchinson 2008) (Kim et al 2010). It sometime calls “relationship networks” and will help people and organization or ideas. These channels start as relatively simple services for example Facebook, or Twitter. Twitter, it has more than 1 million users, and almost 90% of Twitter interactions are through mobile text message, Instant Message, or a desktop application. Also, Twitter can keep in touch with people to contact and share what they thoughts, like Barack Obama has taken it also.
The word blog is a combine words of web log. But that alone doesn’t really define blog at all. Blogs are difference to other websites, because blog is prone to personal and conversational style. They had defined what to write about in their blog and talk about those scope in all the posts. They can also insert links to other websites, to provide further information of their topic to audiences. Moreover, there are message board for audiences to comment.
Internet forums are One of the oldest type of social media, it can discuss some of the special topics or interests, like games or news. Also, internet forums are normally built into websites as an added function. Forums can be a strong argument places, because who can join into those forums. It can be also can be an amiable communicate place. They can start the topics they are interests to seek opinions, share information, or free chat together. According to Hoosuite.com noted that “Discussion Forum is excellence for market research”. Certainly, it has some unsuitable posts or junk message, administrator can remove it, and this is their rights.
Consumer review networks
It uses for check or write a review for a hotel or restaurant, share the information about brands, products, or service, let the other guests can know more about the hotel, and have more chance to choose the hotel. To hotel, they may know what the hotel should improve or what type of things do the hotel need to maintain. If there are positive reviews, it can attract more guest and bring more revenue. But if you get low rating, they may know, what they need to improve and make it better. For example, C-trip and Tripadvisor, both of the review webpage for guest comment their stay in the hotel.
ICT in Hospitality Industry in focusing on social media
Information and communications technology (ICT), is the basic parts that enable modern computing. Although there is no any definition suitable, but normal definition of ICT, is generally mean all devices, networking components, applications and systems that combined, allow people and organizations to interact with their stakeholders for achieving their mission and objectives in the digital world.
The list of ICT components is detail, and it trends to grow. Some components, such as computers and telephones, have lived for decades. Others, such as smartphones, digital TVs and robots, are more recent product.
There are many benefits of using the ICT, such as enable effective data processing or communication for organizational benefit, besides that it may also offer opportunities & challenges for suppliers in all industries. One of the main advantages of the ICT is social media, it is the ability of companies to see exactly where their audience is coming from, what interests them and the best way to market to them.
The industry is now become more active online and on social networks platform. Almost all hotels, restaurants and travel agents are active in the internet, such as Facebook and Twitter page. But nowadays it has been slower in the uptake since social network sites are yet incapable of displaying live, up-to-date prices in relation to flights.
It is the research method that we will use in the report, Itside methodology, there are two research method, primary research using the data collect by yourself or secondary research, the data was generate by someone else, both of the method have their advantage or disadvantage also, this time I am going to use the secondary research to the report. Now I will introduce the characteristic of primary and secondary research
It refers to the collection of data for the first time. This data is first handed data, without any integrate. As Gratton & Jones said that, primary research is more expensive and time consuming, but it will give better results than secondary data (Gratton & Jones, 2010). There are some methods that can be used for research that we usually do. Such as interviews, questionnaire, surveys.
Questionnaire: Questionnaire is a statement that having a series of questions that will be asked from the respondents. But sometimes respondents prefer not to give correct information. And researcher can also do control the information that is already obtained.
Focus Group: In this method, there will be five to eight members sit together and discuss the topics. All members give their own opinion which is about the topics, this can help to get the required data. It is more useful in organization (Green, 2000).
Surveys: It is the method of collecting information by sending mails or letter of questionnaires to the respondents. It can reduce the traveling cost and cost less time.
Data which are not collected or gathered by researcher, also name second handed data. It just like people search for other people’s journal or web and use it, that call secondary research. This type of data has previously collected by someone else for some other purpose (Hodges and Videto, 2005).
This method is cost cheaper and faster. using this method, data can obtain easily and quickly, but it is also not authoritative. On the other hand, this data is not fit according to the need of researcher as it is collected by third party for their own purposes.
Background of the case study
In this paper of the case study, this is a hotel we need to discuss in detail, which is Butterfly Hotel on Prat. Butterfly Hotel on Prat has been evaluated by hotel association to four stars hotel, it is one of the fastest growing boutique hotel chains in Hong Kong area, Heartfelt service are theirs goal, they try hard to satisfy guest, and to hope the guest to explore living in a metropolitan style beyond mere accommodation. it locates in the main district- Tsim Sha Tsui, customers will be more convenience to take the transport to everywhere of this city. Moreover, on a side, there is a mega size shopping – K11 and some site-seeing place (Avenue of star, Museum) which can satisfy different type of guest needs.
It has 158 rooms in total that include superior rooms, deluxe rooms, and family rooms with just less facilities. (I-Mac Center for the guest to enjoy the internet), it subdivides smoking rooms and non-smoking rooms to avoid the inconvenient for customers.
Apply the hotel’s social media issues
For Butterfly Hotel on Prat Hong Kong, there are some issues of their social media: Firstly, about Facebook page, they have a quite long time did not update anything, and the recent post is 3rd November 2017, it is not an appearance that a hotel social page is, the post is almost half year ago. It looks like no body to update and forget this social media platform already. Furthermore, even though they get a 4.2 rating in Facebook, but it is only a few visitors following and reply in their Facebook page, it just has around one thousand people to like the page with no one click “like” in the previous post. So, it is easily to see that Butterfly Hotel on Prat Hotel Hong Kong are not enough promotion about their Facebook page, and which is nearly silence.
In addition, whatever TripAdvisor, or Facebook, when some people left some question or some comments on the social media, but managers will take longer to give the feedback or answer to those person, which is unsatisfied behavior that who want to be ignored by someone.
Evaluating the hotel’s social media platform of the hotel
Talk about Butterfly Hotel on Prat, they have used the social media platform to promote their hotel since they open, and their social media platform which is a Facebook, C-trip, and TripAdvisor. So, Facebook, C-trip and TripAdvisor are showing the information of their hotel, like location, opening hours and official website.
They had posted some photo and content on their Facebook page, such as nice view appearance of rooms, some awards of hotel, and some famous restaurant around the hotel. The photos of hotel rooms can increase the imagine by the guests; the awards of hotel can increase the confidence of service quality; and nice restaurant around the hotel which mean there are many nice restaurant surround hotel and it will increase the chance of the guest prefer to stay in their hotel, in order to update those information to guests. It simply that the role of Facebook is going to attract more guest who feel interest and realize Butterfly Hotel on Prat Hong Kong.
For C-trip and TripAdvisor
Which has some reviews and rating in here, customers can rate the hotel after you leave. For example, a comment said that: “We stayed at this hotel for a whole week with my elderly parents and my 1.5 yr old toddler. We were really pleased with our stay. The staff were friendly, good English, and the pocket wifi was handy to have. Location was just perfect with walking distance to TST station, and restaurants/cafes surrounding the hotel. They also accommodated our request to have a free late check out. With reasonable price, I can’t really fault the hotel” (Hendry/ Melbourne/ May 2018). Also, there are some photos of Butterfly Hotel on Prat, which is taken by travelers and Butterfly Hotel on Prat social media Team. Customers can through on the reviews to understand the comments and quality of hotel, because this social media is more information than Facebook.
Analyze in using social media platform to the hotel
For Butterfly Hotel on Prat Hong Kong, there are some purpose that to achieve, which is increase their awareness and customer loyalty. So, they should plan a new social media strategy to themselves and mention in the following strategy.
About the social media of their Facebook page, they need to post some information irregularly, such as new recommend of near attraction or restaurant, new promotion, or some awards. Thereby, it will not have a misconception that the Facebook page was not use anymore.
Also, Butterfly Hotel on Prat can post poster in their hotel that they have a Facebook page, C-trip page, and TripAdvisor page, to pass message to customers that they have those social media that the guest can visit, to attract guests to follow their Facebook page and give rating on their TripAdvisor page. Therefore, customers can keep receiving the information and trends of Butterfly Hotel on Prat on C-trip or Facebook page, and increase their brand ranking on TripAdvisor, which can attract new customers to visit to become global brands.
Moreover, Butterfly Hotel on Prat should check their social media that is that customers to provide some opinions or recommends to hotels, and reply them with an thankful words, such as ” Thank you again for taking the time to share your recent experience, and do hope that we would have the pleasure of having you back to the hotel” (Trip-advisor Jack Ng Front Office Manager Butterfly Hotel on Prat). However, if customers leave a negative message, it should have a deeply understanding the problem, apologize to the customers, and promise will be having the same mistake again. So, it can provide a sincere attitude to customers, and increase their satisfaction and customer loyalty.
In addition, there are other social media to promote Butterfly Hotel on Prat, which is Twitter. According to Weber (2009, p.8), he noted that Twitter are used by 6 million people around the world, which is the most popular site for microblogging. Also, this social media can let the target customers to find out your hotel themselves, and without the need of advertisements to attract people. At the same time, Weber wrote an example that One of the takeout food business in Los Angles, it updates their location on Twitter and customers will following the company’s updates to find out their food trucks, and which had gained thousands of new customers. Thereby, Butterfly Hotel on Prat can try to follow the way that the food business did, try to use those social media to attract more different type of new customers around the world.
Establishing operating program for running social media platforms
In my opinion, I think social media should be in charge by sales and marketing manager, which is job duties is to promote hotel to some new customers and maintain the loyal customers. They should pay more attention on the social media and use it more sufficient. For example, they can update a new information or happening about hotel on Facebook every weekend or week start, thereby guest can receive at update information. Certainly, they can also update details more frequently to change their social media from silence to active.
And the reviews and question on the social media, sales and marketing manager should check it every day and reply one by one. Also, they can hire someone to do the reply job, and reply the comments a whole day. But, if they are going to employ the person for this specific task, it should be cost a large budget.
Discussion and conclusion
About the social media, it has some application for business. According to He and Pedraza-Jiménez (2015, p. 201), they consider that business can through social media to build up their brands, services, or public relations. It can be collect the information of positive and negative also, then to improve their products and become global brand’s awareness and market share. Moreover, Quinton (2013, p. 403) noted that social media can help for traditional research, which can collect the data from online users. Afterward, business can through on the data to analysis the result to improve their products and services and consider that how to attract new target customers and maintain loyal customers.
According to Gillis (2010), he noted that social media is necessary, although it has lot of resistance inside those companies, but they must be realized the important of combine both social media and use Web 2.0 technology in the workplace. Moreover, they should fully invest in social media which can make them stay competitive, attract more people, and reduce lot of cost.
However, it is unfortunately that hospitality and tourism industries are not fully understand social media’s potential, but they know the effect of social media (Nassar, 2012). Such as the case study of Butterfly Hotel on Prat, there are lot of issues with their social media as they did not update information a long time, takes long time to respond customer’s question.
Social media strategy
There are a lot of social media in network, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Thereby, companies need to find out which social media network is the most suitable, and which is the best promotion for their industry. So, I use my knowledge that I learnt in lecture and obtain some research from the internet (hootsuite.com, hausmanmarketingletter.com) and decided six steps of develop a winning social media strategy:
1. Tie social media to marketing goals
To establish their marketing goals, we should be focusing on the S.M.A.R.T. strategy for the goal setting to ensure the objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.
2. Know your audience
To know the interests, behavior patterns and motivations of audience, we need to decide how to attract them by social media. Some of the platforms can help the industry to listen audience’s voice. Such as brandwatch, Mention or Sysomos. Also, companies need to define their target customers, because they must understand who they are, how they think, and what they want.
3. Create a content plan
To decide a content plan, it can be linking the business objectives and audience interests together. For example, to build a media empire.
4. Find ways to integrate social media
To combine social media into overall marketing mix. There are two ways that we can do, first is repurpose content and the second is using social media as amplifier.
5. Choose social media tactics
To become more humanity and relative, such as having some people to solve their problem and answer their question.
6. Develop a basis for measuring impact
To measure the social efforts. For example, we need to draw up a business goals and track their progress toward goal achievement, so that we can evaluate their social efforts and adjust tactics to accomplish their goals.
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