Social media is considered as significant element for every business entity and it is also vital for hospitality sector. Social media is such a platform which provides the hotel and opportunity to promote the services among different customer segment; however improper use of social media can impact the overall business processes. In contemporary scenario, all the hotels are promoting their services through social media tools and techniques because it provides opportunity to hotels to persuade large pool of customers. People are active on social media websites and they get most of the imperative information from such tools (Couldry, 2012). It brings the opportunities of capturing larger market share and as a result, it enhances the scope of targeting more people. Effective use of social media can bring great opportunities to the business; however it requires more planning and thoughtful aspects. Hotels are using social media because it is a cheap and effective source which avoids the need of organizing marketing campaign. However, several researches have confronted that social media can produce harmful effects as well when not used in adequate manner. Social media is directly involved with marketing practices; therefore a small mistake in marketing aspect can change the entire scenario of product promotion (7 Social Media Challenges and Business Opportunities for Social Media Managers, 2014). Extensive use of social media reduces productivity of the business entity and this may also impact or influence customer's purchasing preference of clients.
In recent years, social media has emerged a powerful and new marketing tool and it continues to be an integral part of marketing strategies across varied industries and sectors. Since, it is new to the marketing industry; therefore the learning curve is relatively steep. One of the major challenges of social media to hotel industry is lack of proper time to manage social media websites. Most of the hotels are unable to update requisite information about the services and this leads the customers to face issues related to misconception (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Sometimes, people get confused and they get cheated as well. It has been identified that hotel industry communicates properly with the customers on social media websites; however reliability on the same source can hamper the overall communication process. Managing social media is a time consuming activity and there are numerous ways to efficiently manage company's presence on social media. Improper updation in the websites can misguide the customers and this can also affect service delivery process. Customer who access hotel's information through social media, rely on these websites and sometimes they make payment online for outdated services (Social media business opportunities and challenges, 2015).
Cheating, fraud and misconception are the major issues that are associated with social media tools and anytime that can affect business processes and activities. A few customers have articulated that they do not get proper responses from the social media websites and as a result, it influences purchase decision of the clients. Every hotel entity has to respond properly to customer complaints because improper response can influence mindset of customers. Hotel remains unable to respond customer's complaints because of lack of time and as a result, they give importance to only those customers who directly visit the entity (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). A negative review is an opportunity to make essential improvements in the service entity and through this, customers can be feel valued. Further, it is also essential for the hotel to consider the interest of customers and appropriate response should be given to social media users (Chan and Guillet, 2011). Issues and problems also generate at the time when hotel remains unable to update information on social media websites. Lack of innovation on social media advertisement can also lead to the issue of customer switch over because customer always get attracted towards innovative and creative aspects. However, most of the time, hotels make too much emphasis on social media aspects and customers do not give preference to those websites because of the belief that social media websites are not reliable (McCarthy, Stock and Verma, 2010). Social media is an option for hospitality industry since it provides opportunities to manage and present business content and it helps in identifying core values that draw clients and customers to business. However, on the contrary if business values and beliefs are not maintained properly, then customer base can be affected. The most common website of social media is Facebook which allows people to spread negativity about the products and services; hence it creates tension for the hotel.
This belief of customer varies as per different brands; hence adequate and prominent emphasis should be given on the same. Hotel entity has to select appropriate technique of social media because improper selection of social media tools can hamper networking aspects of hotel entity. Accurate and full information should be given to the customers regarding the service provision so that they can avoid the state of confusion among the customers (Qualman, 2010). Most of the clients do not respond properly to the hotel when they are asked for any changes and improvements and as a result, the hotel fails to make adequate changes in the services. Lack of reliable database can change the complaint procedure and as a consequence it hampers customer's satisfaction level. It is an apparent fact that spam is usually unwanted and it is integrated with e-mail advertising. Spammers are active on social media websites and they make fake profiles of hotels and cheat the customers against service delivery. This not only hampers hotel's image but also it affects its position in competitive market place (The Top 4 Challenges Facing Hospitality Today, 2011).
However, data does not remain safe when it is put to social media websites because it gives authority to everyone and they can access the data whenever required. Internet is such a source that can be relied upon in a few cases only; however the source is not reliable in all the areas. In order to transform from a business to social business, companies are required to lay emphasis on recruiting efficient talented workforce who have the potential and ability to deal with technological aspects. Social media websites generates challenges for the hotel entity and it leads the hotel to give more concern towards policies and strategies of competitors (Social media business opportunities and challenges, 2015). If the hotel is adopting social media tools then it has to make sure that innovative and creative tool is adopted so that to make the entity more different as compared to the rivalries. Further, another challenge arises at the time when hotel adopts same strategy for social media and it restricts the hotel to acquire competitive advantage in the same market place. Social media is an opportunity as well as challenge too and it perhaps leads the business entity to change the perspective of business scenario. The USP of social media is that it is border less and hotel can interact with numerous people from diverse geographies, culture and religions (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). Apart from such discussion, social media produces tension to the hotel entity because social media invites all the customers to post their comments publicly about the services and through this, negative as well as positive impact can be created on customer's mindset. Some of the customers post disappointing comments about the services and this restricts other clients as well when they think to acquire services from the hotel.
Hence, as per these aspect hotel entities find it difficult to cope up with such diversities because of cultural clashes. Some people are unable to comprehend the language social media uses because they follow different social and cultural values. The operations of hotel entity cannot be aligned with social media because of the use of different communication modes. From a social media perspective, it is vital for hotel entity to be able to maintain a healthy relationship with the potential service users (Social Networking Risks and Challenges, 2015). Relationship is far more valuable than any one-time sale and social media does not work on this aspect because direct communication is considered the tool through which healthy relationship can be maintained with the clients. Competition is increasing among business entities and to win the competition over the rivalries, hotel entities are investing many resources in marketing processes. However, on the other hand if strategies are not different then resources of the hotel will not be able to produce better outcomes as per the level of investment (Kwok and Yu, 2013).
It has been observed that customers are facing issues related to social media websites because sometimes, the websites impedes the value of social and religious beliefs. Culture oriented customers do not prefer to get services from such entity who does not respect culture of customers. Thus, it can be said that issues arises at the time when hotel gets fails to manage cultural and social diversity (The Five Challenges of Social Media Management in Tourism, 2012). While advertising the products, hotel entity has to make sure that authentic and relevant information is being delivered to the clients as that can maintain the interest of clients. Further, only authorized person should be given the opportunity to access the data of the hotel in terms of maintaining secrecy (Leung, Law, Van Hoof and Buhalis, 2013). As per the increasing issues, most of the people do not prefer to rely on social media websites; therefore as a result, hotel entity faces losses because they spend huge resources on social medial aspects.
Concluding, the entire research it is clear that, tension arises while using social media because hotel entity cannot meet customers and people directly at a single place. Risks of fraud are more because both the seller (hotel entity) and buyer (clients) do not meet each other (The Top 4 Challenges Facing Hospitality Today, 2011). Social networking has also ruined the thoughtfulness because it develops gap while communicating with people. Another challenge of social media networking is that it can help the spammers to create something which does not exist. A viral social media post talking how a product can cause problems can lead to huge losses to a firm. On the other hand, social media lacks privacy aspects and anyone can access it; thus competitors may take negative advantage of this aspect. This leads the rivalries to post comments about the services which can influence other clients in negative way (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010).
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- Qualman, E., 2010. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. John Wiley & Sons.