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2.2 Role of Social Media in Tourism
The recent advances on the internet and the development of Social Media have facilitated the interconnectivity of
travelers. The potential travelers have social interactions through Social Media such as online forums, communities,
ratings, reviews, and recommendations. These developments have introduced a new promotional medium which
empowers potential travelers to generate content and influence others (Mukherjee, 2013). According to Gohil (2015),
as social media is growing at a significant growth rate, it can be used as a marketing tool for all industries. The Tourism
industry is primed to take advantage of social media outlets, as the industry has long relied largely on destination
reputation, consumer opinion, a spread of information, and positive word-of-mouth advertising. With the globalization
of social media websites and applications, organization and travel agencies have tried to cope up in order to grow
economically and have an increase in tourist visits. It is known that for some agencies like Queensland Tourism, social
media campaigns have given an exponential increase in visitors of its website within a short period of time, but at the
same time dropped in travelers physically visiting the destination (Zeng, 2013)
Dina and Sabou (2012) noted that even with the ease that social media can give in terms of relaying information, there
is a higher chance of misinterpretation by the targeted readers. Zeng (2013) explained that there have been challenges
in using social media in tourism. Different countries and businesses have different realities regarding the social media
used for tourism management. On one hand, the importance of online marketing has not been fully recognized in
tourism management. Tourism has been ahead of the current as far as other states are concerned. It has a
comprehensive social media coverage that gives all the necessary information and much more (Gohil, 2015). The role
of social media in tourism has been increasingly noted and researched as an emerging topic. Social media plays an
increasingly important role in many aspects of tourism, especially in practices for interacting with consumers via
social media channels (Zeng, 2013). Social networking sites are becoming an important way of communication for
promoting products (Yazdanifard, 2014). A good plan to promote marketing is by utilizing social media to sell tourism
goods. Other than that, using social media can also help to announce the latest promotions (Zeng, 2013).
Social media continues to grow. It increasingly influences on many social and economic aspects. The tourism industry
is primed to take advantage of social media outlets, as the industry has long relied largely on destination reputation,
consumer opinion, spread of information, and positive word-of-mouth advertising. Social media plays a very
important role in the tourism industry (Zeng, 2013). The results of certain studies conducted on the use of Social
Media channels for promoting tourist destinations concluded that ever since the advent of Social Media, the tourism
companies have most benefitted as Social Media has allowed them to conduct mass promotions (Mukherjee, 2013).
While there is a growing body of research on social media in travel and tourism, Xiang (2011) argued the role of social
media is not well understood in terms of the way they affect tourism organizations, companies, and travelers’ access
and use of travel-related information online.
2.2.1 Social Media Information
According to Buhalis and O’Connor (2000), Travel information is important in the goal decision process, to evaluate
hypothetical improvements, and the contemplations in regards to the effect of travel information on tourist’ goal
decision. The advancement of technology and social media on travelers had become different from how it was
supposed to be, it is way too easier to access on different websites that include tourism industry. Beyond their
significant role in people’s daily life and social contexts, social media have become an indispensable aspect of tourism
(Zeng, 2013; Yazdanifard and Yee, 2014; Gohil, 2015). Travelers search through the use of social media and become
the basis of their observation and evaluation through pictures, videos, vlogs, and hashtags. These developments in
technology have led to a shift in focus on businesses’ management and marketing strategies, especially in the travel
and tourism industry (Cantallops and Salvi, 2014). Buhalis and Law (2008); Hudson and Thal, (2013) states that
“Travel 2.0” catches the insurgency of the movement business towards another age of stages and social cooperation
on the web, which has changed the manner in which travelers research look, rank, assess, evaluate, buy and expand
items and administrations on the Web. The information was given by the social media influences travelers through
their decision making and their perspectives. They depend on their decisions through the travel reviews that they had
read from the previous travelers’ experiences.
There have been challenges in using social media in tourism. Different countries and businesses have different realities
regarding the social media used for tourism management (Zeng, 2013). According to Avraham (2017), the reality
regarding the social media used as an information is that the tourism industry controls the whole information. The
danger of cooperation with the free media, however, is that the media may publish negative reports with their
consequent effect on the country’s image. Social Media has advantages and disadvantages through the trustworthiness
of travelers. There are complaints about certain media because sometimes, media is incorrect or “biased”, forged, and
manipulated. Despite the fact that Social Media gives travelers information it might be a crucial aspect of planning a
vacation. In addition to that, Varkaris and Neuhofer (2017) noted that trustworthiness is an essential factor in
participants” hotel information search and in the end prompting their last lodging choice.
According to Varkaris and Neuhofer (2017), the dependability of the substance in online life is an essential factor on
looking through a data. Participants affirmed that this may create issues when there is a doubt that content might be
fake, made by organizations themselves to “enhance reality”, or made by contenders, who need to malign different
organizations. As stated in the study of Zeng (2017), future studies should provide solid evidence to demonstrate the
positive effect in the tourism industry. Varkaris and Neuhofer (2017) suggest that quantitative follow-up work should
be applied to test the influence of specific social media channels. In addition to that, Zeng (2017) informs there are
few quantitative research about the impact of social media in tourism compared in qualitative research because most
study focuses on qualitative explorations.
2.2.2 Utilization of Social Media in the Tourism Industry
Social media enables internet users to access, collaborate, and communicate information. Individuals consider social
media as an essential tool for their travel planning and this is the reason why social media plays an important role in
tourism and hospitality management (Osei, Mensah, ; Amenumey, 2018). Caused by the growth of information and
communications technology (ICT) from individuals all over the world who are able to share and publish information
using social media tools with regard to any product or service industry, it is clear that social media is greatly affecting
and influencing the consumer’s behavior and decision making within the tourism industry (Hua, Ramayah, Ping, &
Jun-Hwa, 2017). Moreover, Hays, Page, and Buhalis (2013), stated that social media is not only used by travelers to
easily access information, plan for, and book trips, as well as sharing their travel experiences to minimize travel
uncertainties but also used by destination marketing organizations(DMOs) as a marketing tool and strategy to reach a
global audience with limited resources.
Sotiriadis (2017) noted that, In the context of the increasing influence of social media in interpersonal communications
and the importance of online reviews and experiences sharing in tourism. the topic of sharing experiences on social
media platforms needs a more in-depth understanding of consumer perspective and provider perspective. According
to Simms (2012), Social media has a positive significant impact and a negative significant impact on tourism
industries. It enabled tourists to share their travel experiences online to help future travelers to be informed about a
certain place, but this lessens the power of tourism businesses to control their business marketing. Therefore, social
media certainly changed the power relation between the host community and tourists (Reino & Hay, 2016). Previous
studies show that as social media becomes more popular, users gain more power as the authority of marketers and
institutions deteriorate. Marketers and institutions no longer have dominion over the image of their destination or
product in relation to tourism. (Thevnot, 2007)
The use of social media for travel decision by tourists vary by the social media platform they used in reason to that
some social media platforms act as repositions of information. For instance, Wikipedia is used to acquire in-depth
information on places, attractions, and restaurants. But, some social media platforms like TripAdvisor, Facebook, and
Blogs allow tourists to obtain information from other traveler’s experiences about the products and services at the
destination in which the tourists want to go (Osei, Mensah, ; Amenumey, 2018). In addition to that, tourists agreed
social media is a helpful tool for them to decide what tourist accommodations and transportation they will need to
avail (Ráthonyi, 2013). The latest studies show the relationship between information from online reviews and offline
hotel performance that has been identified and validated, and this creates significantly advanced knowledge to the
tourism industry (Sotiriadis, 2017).
2.2.3 Decision Making of Travelers
Travel and tourism are one of the most promising sectors in the world, and the information is extremely important in
this industry. It is important to consider the travel segment’s generational perspective when designing a marketing
strategy. The profound interest in the general cohorts validated a theoretical model of generational travel decision
making. This led to a better understanding of generational cohort behavior and how it is applied to travel decision
making. Formative referents, specifically societal and personal influences, are what shapes the general mindset
(Gardiner, et al., 2012).
These days, the way of a traveler in utilizing this information throughout their travel decision-making process has
changed (Dwityas & Briandana, 2017). Contemporary studies of vacation decision making have namely five major
themes: the multifaceted nature of the vacation; joint decision making by members of the household; impact of the
type of vacation trip on the decision making process; the role of the internet in vacation decision making; and the role
of socio?psychological variables in vacation decision making (Hyde & Decrop, 2011). The broad development of
Information and Communication Technology, especially in the tourism industry, is one of the factors which made this
change happened. It is mainly associated with the emergence of social media as one of the Web 2.0 platform, which
offers interactivity to users (Dwityas & Briandana, 2017). According to Al-Kwifi (2015), recent tourism studies show
that there is a strong relationship between tourism involvement and destination images and how it gradually affects
individuals’ decision making styles. Destination images, usually found in social media, influence the tourists’
behavioral intention to select a destination for their next vacation.
Studies show that travelers use information in carrying out every stage of travel decision making and it is proclaimed
that social media has an important role as a source of information to help them. According to Dwitays and Briandana
(2017) through the use of social media, recommendations are also provided with the model of travel decision-making
process as well as better marketing strategies that focus more on consumer behavior for the tourism industry.
Understanding the developing customer and travel behavior urges marketers to build and develop new marketing
strategies. The information in line with travelers’ decision making can give input to the industry of tourism and other
industries related to the understanding of consumer behavior. It will help those in the industry to implicate more
effective marketing and positioning strategies based on the identified attitudinal characteristics of the traveler
segments for destination marketing organizations. It is helpful to the industry in particular for learning motivational
and strategic planning drivers that result in destination visits; research focusing on realized behaviors is helpful in
particular for learning tourists’ reports on done activities and consequently what experiences likely encourage and
discourage repeat visit (Atadil, et al., 2018).
2.2.4 Consumer Feedback and It’s Influence in Marketing
One of the way hotel and tourism industry tried to market their product is by posting pictures and videos of their
product online. These products receive various comments and feedback from previous customers who already
experienced the place. Potential customers tend to take in considerations these feedbacks hence the make or break
situations for a lot of companies in the tourism industry (Castaneda, 2018). According to (Rivera, 2015), Growth of
academic interest are based on the intrinsic and personal recall through time that proffers an increase in value to the
offer. Because of the easy access to information and technology, consumers are increasingly empowered and more
connected with each other and with suppliers. Previous studies that have been conducted suggest that there is a positive
impact on the customers’ attitudes and decisions, yet these studies were mostly done in travel planning in Europe and
that there are still huge research gaps need to be filled by other empirical studies (Song, 2016).
Gathering information is the actual first behavior during the customers’ decision-making process and the information
obtained in the pre-purchase stage has a significant impact on the purchase decision (Tsiotsou and Wirtz, 2012).
Hence, these feedbacks would trigger their needs, provide more truthful information and ultimately encourage
purchase intentions (Song and Soon, 2016). Chen (2014) stated that information quality of experience consumption is
subjective and can vary depending on the context of a study. Chen’s study was enhanced by Seva (2011) stating that
individual often makes a decision based on perception rather than actual experience, especially for experience
consumption like tourism.
People in social media tell their own story and their travel experiences full on, so there is a tendency that people would
give an exaggerated and impractical review (Kim and Gupta 2012). Chang and Tsai (2015) studies also stated that the
most impactful CGC (consumer generated content) is from popular tourist places internationally. The intensity of
frustration sensation results in different verbal descriptions of negative emotions, unpleasant experiences and/or
situations as well as nonverbal cues expressing negative emotions (Tuzovic, 2010).
2.2.5 Effects of Social Media in Tourism Marketing
With the power of internet travelers have overflowing information, the internet constitutes an important platform and
bridge for information exchange between the consumer and tourist attraction and hotels, etc. (Werthner & Klein,
1999). Different technological interfaces, such as search engines, online travel booking sites, and Websites of
destination marketing organizations facilitate the information exchange between online travelers and the so-called
”online tourism domain” (Xiang et al., 2008). Social media is a great platform to endorse and market tourism to the
young generation, but it can also lead to a negative effect to the industry because social media is also an opinion
sharing community and people tend to remember the negative reviews rather than the positive ones. The researchers
concluded that social media has a strong effect both positively and negatively on the tourism preference of the young
generation. This helps in understanding how social media can have a negative impact on marketing tourism (Sahin &
Segun, 2015).
While traditional marketing practices, such as advertising a specific event, can and do obtain responses via social
media, it allows much more than simply duplicating other marketing strategies on a newer technology, some social
media sites declare that they are giving the power to share and make the world more open and connected to the mass.
The web and travel, if combined, may have a huge impact on the travel and tourism industry. If social network websites
will continue their growth in the future, tourism related topics will be of central importance for travel planning. Online
communities have proved to have a strong influence on consumer behavior and, consequently on the image and the
marketing of hotels. Social media is the reason for interaction between online consumers and this is the big part of
Tourism marketing all over the internet (Milanoa, Baggioc, & Piattelli, 2011). With the fast-paced technology, we
have today, mostly everyone nowadays has the grasp of the power and benefits of the internet and its overflowing
information and the ability to distribute it (e.g., Tapscott & Williams, 2006). Technology such as search engines
especially “Google” is a big part in the context of tourism marketing. The tourist is making the most of the internet
nowadays and this shows the appreciation of the people on the offerings of our technology today. Some companies
that have declining performances take advantage of this strong component in this poor employment of modern
technologies (Milanoa, Baggioc, & Piattelli, 2011).
The study that was presented here is a further confirmation of the importance online social media may have in
promoting single operators and the destination. On their part, hotel owners and managers need to acknowledge this
role and should intensify their efforts to develop and expand their usage of today’s online interactive technologies in
order to improve their position on the market (Miguéns, Baggio, ; Costa, 2008). Most people are still not currently
utilizing social media to their full effectiveness when it comes to the ability to interact and engage with customers,
also, social media is still not widely recognized and respected as a vital tool in marketing strategies, and thus is
frequently underfunded and or neglected. Also, people will benefit from the internet if they will become more creative
when it comes to their social media strategies, in order to fully differentiate these efforts from traditional marketing
methods (Hays, Page ; Buhalis, 2012).

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