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“Like” and “Check-in”: how hotels utilize Facebook as an effective marketing tool

Kelly Virginia Phelan (Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA)
Hsiang-Ting Chen (Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA)
Matthew Haney (Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 29 July 2013

5172

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how effectively hotels are using Facebook as a marketing tool and how consumers are interacting with the property by measuring the number of fans, customer comments, and accuracy of information provided.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based upon a content analysis, inquiring into 100 hotels' Facebook pages.

Findings

Findings demonstrate that the use of Facebook features by hotels varied widely. Some hotels utilize Facebook solely as a means for posting property information, whereas others focus on facilitating customer engagement.

Research limitations/implications

Literature related to the effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool within the hospitality industry is severely limited, thus this research highlights the challenges some hotels are experiencing with maximizing the reach of their Facebook pages, suggests possible approaches for improvement and makes recommendations for structuring social networking strategies.

Practical implications

Results demonstrated many hotels failed to interact with customers, provide accurate and timely information, and entice prospective purchasers by showcasing the property through photos and videos. Practitioners would be well served to improve upon these aspects to better appeal to consumers and recognize a significant return on investment.

Originality/value

This study investigates the extent to which Facebook is being utilized by the top 100 domestic US hotels. Evaluation criteria included three aspects: content information, property details, and interactions between hotels and customers. Literature related to social network marketing is sparse, thus the present research is intended to provide a basis for future research and guidance for industry professionals to best maximize technological marketing channels.

Keywords

Citation

Virginia Phelan, K., Chen, H.-T. and Haney, M. (2013), "“Like” and “Check-in”: how hotels utilize Facebook as an effective marketing tool", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 134-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTT-Jul-2012-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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