The Social Media Impact on Customer Purchasing Process in Hospitality Industry
Technology has given the customers a new way of checking out the products that they intend to use. The technology improvements over time have increased the difference that is in the marketing sector of the economy. The internet to be precise has been a major contributor in reshaping the business sector and the marketing of the economy. The internet has brought massive changes in the marketing sector of any economy. There are both positive impacts as well as negative impacts that have been realized with the increasing use of the internet. The social media section of the internet has been an important tool in defining the marketing strategy that most modern companies develop. The effect that the social media has over the purchases made by the customers is massive. Social media has increased the customer purchasing power in different areas of the economy. The hospitality industry is no different to the other industries that social media affects. The hospitality industry creates interaction between lots of members in the society. The social media has been a tool in enhancing the purchasing process of the customers in the hospitality industry. Even though there have been negative effects that have been brought about by the use of social media, the positive effects have been huge, and the effects have overshadowed the negative effects that are brought about by the use of the social media. There are numerous research studies that have been conducted in determining the extent of the use of the social media together with analyzing the change caused by the use of the social media.
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The social media has been of paramount importance in the defining of the marketing of the hospitality industry. However, there are reports that indicate how the use of social media has negatively impacted the purchasing process of customers in the hospitality industry. The social media has created an avenue where customers can interact and how the business people interact with their customers. Studies reveal that most of the adults that use the internet have access to social media sites. The social media sites create forums where the customers exchange ideas and reactions to the use of different products offered by different companies (Kasavana, M. L. 2008). There are members of the society who are out to criticize the simple mistakes that happen in the different companies that they interact with. The way that the critics express their ideas is paramount in the determination of the purchasing process of the customers. The critics paint the whole picture of the company based on the mistakes that the company makes. The first time buyers will, therefore, not find the right information that they are looking for. Therefore, the buyers may find the negative picture of the company and proceed to reject the services of the company without regarding the positives of the company. The increasing numbers of people who use the internet increase the probability that they will most likely confirm their products online before they move on to buy them (Kasavana, M. L. 2008). The hospitality industry has not been represented well in the social media. The people who are interested in acquiring the services of the hospitality industries are thereby forced to enquire from their friends in the social media sites. Social media allows people to interact through text messages as well as pictures, audio files as well as video files. The video files and audio files convince the buyers and those who seek services of the different companies that they seek.
The modern marketers have been vibrant in embracing technology as a tool of advancing the marketing skills. The internet for instance has helped many firms in the interaction with the customers as well as getting customer reviews in the quest for the development of better goods and services that are to be offered to the customers. Hospitality industry is concerned with the services that are offered in hotels, travelling as well as tourism. The studies show that the technology has been important in the promotion, production, distribution, research and communication. These are paramount and integral architectural functions of firms. The functions help in the creation of perfect organizations. The social media has been used for different purposes over the years that companies and people have been active. There are different functions that the people who use the social media sites assign these sites. The companies have been particularly vibrant in the marketing of their products over the social media. In 2009, research was conducted on a group of 100 top companies. The results showed that over 79% of companies had representation in the Facebook social site, 69% in Twitter and 59% in both. The same research showed that a majority of customers read online reviews about the products that they buy (Kang, M., & Schuett, M. A. 2013). The different research groups have come up with different results for the use of social media in the marketing scenes.
The social media has been critical in the evolution of better products and services that are offered by the different companies in the hospitality industry. In analyzing the different stages that the customers pass through in the purchasing process, we take an example of the travelling sector to represent the hospitality industry. In the travelling part of the hospitality, research shows that 84% of the travellers use the internet for research. The travellers require insight from the people who have already used the travelling agencies. The social media sites provide the platforms where the two groups can interact ( Leung, D., Law, R., Hoof, H., & Buhalis, D. 2013). Many travellers see that the information that they gain from the social media as being more accurate in the provision of important details in the travelling section. They see the sites as forums where unbiased information can be obtained. Irrespective of what the marketing forums provide in the social media, the travellers always find previous travellers’ experiences as being vital in the decision making involving what company to use for travelling. Trustworthiness of the travel-related company is what the travellers seek most in the planning process of the travel. Most travelling companies have created pages in the social media sites. The online pages have enabled the easy communication between the proprietors of the travelling businesses and the customers ( Leung, D., Law, R., Hoof, H., & Buhalis, D. 2013). The customers find it now easier to confirm facts and information regarding their interests in the areas that that want to travel to. In this way, the social media has helped speed up the purchasing process in the hospitality industry. In other hospitality companies such as the hotel industry, the customers find the channels of paying for the services in the social networks sites.
During the travelling phase, the customers use the social media sites to post their feedbacks on the findings of the travelling companies. The customers in a travel provide the feelings that they have over the services that are being offered by the company that they are using for travel. They post video files, audio files as well as several pictures in the social sites either in praise of the services of in criticism. The posts help the travelling companies in determining the areas that they need to improve or change. The reviews that the customers give out in the social media sites have helped in the creation of better service especially the purchasing process ( Leung, D., Law, R., Hoof, H., & Buhalis, D. 2013). The activities that go on while the person is being offered the services by the particular hospitality industry are always inter-related and that the customers will always post something that will define the experience that they are undergoing at that moment.
The post-trip phase of travelling phase, the customers use the social media in the posting of post-holiday reviews and experiences during the travels and holidays where the people travelled for holiday purposes. The customers post is supporting information to the claims that they make over the social sites. The bloggers for instance find the chance to write about general experiences, appearances and expectations that the hospitality companies provide. There are different reasons that determine the amount of publicity that a company will receive over the internet from the customers (Kang, M., & Schuett, M. A. 2013). The social benefits, hedonic benefits and functional benefits that the customers receive when they are receiving the benefits will push the customers into posting the feelings and experiences of using a particular hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry has heavily used the social media in the quest for provision of better services to the customers. More and more companies are creating online pages in the social media sites where the companies can interact with their customers. In the modern world, the companies have employed analysts who provide the company with the right information that is collected in the form of feedback from the customers. These companies have set out funds that are set aside each fiscal year for the purposes of social media monitoring and analysis of the services that they offer. The funds allow the hiring of analysts who monitor the social media sites. The analysts gather the reviews that the customers give out after receiving different types of services from these hospitality companies. These analysts help the companies if the creation of marketing strategies that are used for marketing the services that these companies offer. The customers who are available on the social networks may provide feedback on how they find the services to be. The feedbacks are used in the rectification of the areas that the customers find displeasing. In addition, according to researchers, the social media monitoring provides the direct marketers an avenue of analyzing the success percentage of their campaigns. When the marketers unleash a certain marketing campaign, they observe the chances of success by the evaluation of the response of the customers through the social media.
Apart from data mining, these companies see the social networks as a good forum where they can market their goods and services. Most companies in the modern era have created jobs for people who are assigned with the marketing jobs over the social networks. The people who are hired create video advertisements, audio advertisements as well as pictures. These forms of media emphasize the effect of service or product more than the current forms of advertisements. The increase in effects can be attributed to the fact that the social networks can be accessed at any time in any place that has the right mediums. The difference is seen when the social networks are compared to the newspapers and television advertisements. The social networks are thus advantageous, and that is why more and more companies are delving into the use of these sites in marketing their products. In terms of improving the purchasing process in the hospitality industry, social media has been used by the companies in developing access points where the customers can purchase their products, as well as pay for the services (Naylor, R. W., Lamberton, C. P., & West, P. M. 2012). The social media sites are used in the provision of links where the customers can make purchases and pay for their services. For instance, when offers are available in the air travels industry, the customers are mostly notified through the social media sites.
The effect of the social media on the tourism sector of the hospitality industry can be used to explain the use of social media in marketing the services that the host companies and countries offer. The tourist firms employ the bloggers as well as people who manage the social network sites for marketing purposes. However, the marketing methods employed here are different from the ones employed in the traditional marketing of products. Attractive stories, tourist’ experiences and additional information are the tools that are used in the marketing of the tourism activities. Most researchers have found this to be a cost-effective method in understanding tourists’ experiences (Kang, M., & Schuett, M. A. 2013.). The social media forums have been used in other activities such as enhancing the business-customer relationship even after transactions have been carried out. The relationships enable the different companies enlarge their revenues with the continuous support from loyal customers. The reputation of the company, as well as the public image, is improved with increased contact between the business and the customers.
The online environment has been used to explain the different behavior patterns that are seen in the consumers. These patterns arise out of the presence of the social networks that define the shapes that the images of different products take. The decisions that buyers make are influenced by the amount of information that is present in the society at that time. Researchers have conducted several studies in investigating the extent to which the decisions are affected. There are a number of factors that will determine the decision that a consumer makes (Hudson, S., & Thal, K. 2013). The mode of payment that the different companies offer determine whether a customer will make purchases of the said product or not. There are companies that support the online payment method. The online payment method is preferred by some customers while others prefer the normal payment methods. For the customers who love using the online payment method, they tend to prefer the companies that offer the online payment methods over those that do not offer. For the customers who prefer the normal payment methods, they will move to the companies that offer the same.
According to the different researches conducted by few groups, it was found out that most of the people who make up the online purchasing customers are young people of late twenties. Among these people, women make up the larger percentage of the online purchasing community. These people have at least one account in the social networks where they find the information regarding the product that they intend to purchase. Most people will social network accounts use them for various purposes. The people may use the accounts in gathering information about a certain product. The information is obtained through peers as well as the person looking into the online pages where the company has talked about their products. The larger the number of people who talk of a product the more the customer is convinced of buying or not buying the same product. There are normally a few steps that are taken by the person buying a given product (Naylor, R. W., Lamberton, C. P., & West, P. M. 2012). The process of buying the product involves the analyzing the product before the purchase, gathering information from sites and peers, buying the actual product, enjoying the product and then advocating the product. These steps help in understanding how the social media has affected the purchasing process of a customer. The decisions that the person makes are influenced by the amount of information that is available on the social media sites.
The companies are represented in the social media too and are responsible for affecting the decisions that are made by customers. The companies improve the minor details of their products and release the information into the social media. The companies also improve the relationship that exists between them and the potential buyers who constantly follow the social networks. The different price strategies are also important, and the frequent number of times that the companies change their price strategies to favor the customers determines the amount of revenue the same companies will receive (Ioanas, E., & Stoica, I. 2014).. The companies that alter their prices more frequently to favor the customers will have many customers during those that take a lot of time before they alter their price strategies will have fewer customers. Most companies announce through the social media if they have changed the price strategies or not.
The hospitality industry has experienced the full effects of the social media. The current state in which these industries handle their affairs is different from the way the traditional companies handled their affairs. In the marketing to be precise, the methods used for marketing have changed greatly. However, there are several areas that the researchers have not handled fully. The use of the social networks in the rural areas has not been identified well (Naylor, R. W., Lamberton, C. P., & West, P. M. 2012). The imbalance in the sources of information should be handled well in the future so as to have satisfactory results in the determination of the true extent of the impacts of social media on different industries especially the hospitality industry. More accurate information will help the different companies in the creation of different strategies that are used in the running of the companies.
In conclusion, the social media has had great and massive effects on the operations of major sectors of the economy. In the hospitality industry, the social media has defined the methods that are now used in ensuring that a particular company or country receives the planned revenue that it desires. The purchasing process of a customer is affected by the way the product that the customer is to buy has been advocated in the social media. According to different researchers, the normal buyer will have to go through a few steps before buying a certain product. There is the first step where the customer considers on whether to buy the product or not. The subsequent step involves the evaluation of the information available on the product as well as the advice prom peers on the social media. The third step is the actual buying while the last step involves enjoying the product while advocating the product at the same time. The social media provides the best avenue where the product is advocated. In general, the social media has been paramount in the creation of marketing strategies as well as fostering the relationships that exist between customers, businesses and between the businesses and the customers.
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