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Selling rooms online: the use of social media and online travel agents

Alessandro Inversini (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Lorenzo Masiero (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 4 February 2014

16333

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on the reason why hoteliers choose to be present in online travel agent (OTA) and social media web sites for sales purposes. It also investigates the technological and human factors related to these two practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a survey sent to a wide range of hotels in a Swiss touristic region. The empirical analysis involves the specification of two ordered logit models exploring the importance (in terms of online sales) of both social media and the online travel agent, Booking.com.

Findings

Findings highlight the constant tension between visibility and online sales in the web arena, as well as a clear distinction in social media and OTA web site adoption between hospitality structures using online management tools and employing personnel with specific skills.

Practical implications

The research highlights the need for the hospitality industry to maintain an effective presence on social media and OTAs in order to move towards the creation of a new form of social booking technologies to increase their visibility and sales.

Originality/value

This research contributes to understanding the major role played by OTAs and social media in the hospitality industry while underlining the possibility of a major interplay between the two.

Keywords

Citation

Inversini, A. and Masiero, L. (2014), "Selling rooms online: the use of social media and online travel agents", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 272-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-03-2013-0140

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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