Social Media in the Hospitality (Travel) Industry

The travel industry is zooming ahead in social media adoption. According to this article on USA Today, intense competition within hospitality and travel is driving this accelerated adoption of social media tools. This same article provides a list of notable social media integration:

Social media are being incorporated at a rapid rate into every part of a journey, from making the reservation to finding out where to eat. For instance:

•As of August, Delta passengers can buy tickets on Delta’s Facebook page.

•Southwest has three staffers dedicated to monitoring and responding to queries made through social-media channels.

•Marriott is launching its Marriott Courtyard Facebook page Tuesday to issue messages about the chain and related information that might interest customers.

•Hyatt Hotels launched a Twitter account last year to serve as a virtual concierge. Staffers, based in Omaha, Australia and Mumbai, are instructed to respond to requests and questions within an hour, and are fielding queries ranging from where to find good sushi to alerts that a guest will be checking in late. The account has 12,000 followers. Hilton has a similar Twitter account.

Compared with other industries, the travel and hospitality sector is ahead of the curve in engaging social media, says Carl Howe, a director with the Yankee Group, a telecommunication market research firm.

It’s “mainly because there is so much concern about consumer perception,” he says. “There are a lot more choices for hotels than there are for cable providers, and the same is true for airlines.”

One thing the article doesn’t point out are the social media disasters that have hurt the travel and hospitality industry over the past few years. From “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube video to the story of  Kevin Smith – who was deemed too fat to fly by Southwest – so he took his case up on Twitter. It’s good that the industry has taken note and is taking a proactive approach.

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