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The increase in number of internet user along with social media has developed a new era of digital and social media marketing. In the present business environment, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have provided a dynamic platform through which companies are able to establish direct relationship and communication with consumers and target audience. It plays an important role in promotion of wide range of product and services. Furthermore, these online networking tools also help companies to assess views and feedback of consumers about different products and services which have been consumed by consumers (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). On the basis of this information, management is able to make improvement in quality of different products and services that are having direct impact on quality and goodwill along with brand loyalty of consumer. The present investigation is aimed to Assess Different Challenges and Tensions of Social Media Which are Addressed by Luxury Hotels Company and Consumers. In this process, Hilton Hotels and Resorts which is global chain of luxury hotels has been taken as an organization to examine negative impact of social media on hospitality business. The rationale behind selection of this topic is that hotel organizations like Hilton Hotels are facing various issues and challenges during the use of social media as an promotional tools through which company can establish direct communication with consumers. In the contrary, some negative aspects of social media have hampered brand value and goodwill of company along with trust of consumers. Therefore, present study is going to examine the different aspects of social media that are acting as challenges for hotel organization.
As per the research of Hollensen (2015) it has been found that social media is identified as a strong force for hospitality industry that influences management of hospitality business for managing the technological and communication strategies that have been adopted by companies as per the distinct business requirement. Further evaluation of views of different author has found two sides to the use of social networking. Firstly, it is termed as valuable and most effective tool to collect consumer feedback through which business entity is able to attract new customers and keep current customers by building strong and effective customer relationships with consumers of luxury that plays important role in strengthen the loyalty to the brand (Duggan and Brenner, 2013). However, improper use of social networking sites have great potential in order to destroy consumers’ faith along with the market value of the brand of hospitality firms.
The research of Homburg, Kuester and Krohmer (2013) has evaluated that the social networking is addressed as very time-consuming in hospitality business. In this context, it has been found that the most of facebook users check their pages more than once a day. Furthermore, it has been found that the average social networking user is spending more than 20 Hours per week that indicate that different pages on social networking sites are updated even more than once a day. In addition to that it has been examined that the current financial situation and maybe the underestimation of the social networking site's power, prevent the managers of hotel organization to assign full-time and appropriate resource or employees for updating social networking sites of business (Tufekci and Wilson, 2012). In the support of above argument, Solomon And et. al. (2014) have stated that avoidance of social media is termed as greatest risk or challenges for hotel organization that would be occurred if business entity will not manage regularly social media hospitality marketing. It is addressed as one of the most common marketing mistake that has been made by different companies because these companies are termed the social media as a time consuming activity.
In this context, Wang, Yu and Wei (2012) evaluated that social networking is having spontaneous and unpredictable aspects that are considered as significant challenge for hoteliers. In the present business environment, where information is moving as fast as the speed of light. As a result social media is used by companies to ensure attentiveness and responsiveness of information that would provide significant benefits to hospitality firm. Author further argued that the financial cost of social media marketing is low but the management of hotels like Hilton Hotels have to invest time in it (Goh, Heng and Lin, 2013). This is because, it determines the frequent result, as the company gains long term benefits from it.
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As per the research of Solomon, Russell-Bennett and Previte (2012) it has found that Social networking through social media within hospitality business is totally different from personal social networking which is carried out by an individual or an organization. In the context of hospitality business, content of social media marketing is becoming more important. This is because when something is published by hospitality firm about quality of services, range of services, uniqueness of services on a social networking page then business entity is not able to remove that particular content even if it was deleted seconds after publishing. Therefore, some mistakes and improper language of content are hampered negatively on overall effectiveness of content (Hudson and Thal, 2013). Author future argued that social networking is a broader concept in comparison of a simple sales & marketing channel. Therefore, hospitality firm or luxury hotels are facing several issues and challenges in selection of an appropriate content so as management of hotel organization has to ensure about the quality and effectiveness of the updates and data that are applied in business networking and that must be relevant and beneficial for the company (Five Challenges of Social Media Marketing and How to Overcome Them, 2012). Furthermore, business entity also faced accessibility issues because the contents of social media channels must be accessible to right target market as well as also meet laws and regulatory requirements as per the distinct business objectives.
As per the views of Hutter, Hautz, Dennhardt and Füller (2013) it is stated that several issues have been emerged in application of social media with hospitality business due to improper communication of organization's aims and objectives with particular person who is responsible for social networking or other operations related to digital marketing. The argument is also supported by the study of Sparks, Perkins and Buckley (2013) in which author has determined that management of hotel organization has to provide clear information about business goals and objectives such as increase relationship with consumers, assessment of feedback of consumers about distinct services etc. that assists to social media marketing individuals for handling various activities associated with the selection of content, advertising tools, resolving consumer's quarries.
As per the research of Sparks, Perkins and Buckley (2013) it has been evaluated that it is possible that hotel organization would get nothing at end after investing lots of time and money while carrying out different social networking practices on social media. However, improper selection of tool of social media leads to negative impact on overall effectiveness of different marketing channels related to social media. Author further argued that promotion of hospitality services through customers social networking is all about forming relationships with the customers and contacts (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). Therefore, it is essential for handler of social media with hospitality business to have a clear idea about the company's audience. There is a relatively easy pattern for small business but is very difficult in big and luxury hotel organization.
Reijonen and Laukkanen (2010) argued that social networking has been found very effective to turned online friends to potential customers and it also develops a new source of online revenues. In the contrary part, big companies like Hilton Hotels, use of social mediais no fixed and safe strategy yet. Apart from that, The "issue of scale" is greatly influenced by the effectiveness of social networking marketing within hospitality business because the success of social networking is about the number of members (Rönnbäck and Eriksson, 2012). Author further stated that small social networking has been found very effectively useful for hospitality business in which management does not have to deal with facebook-level communities in order to develop greater loyalty as well as access to audience availability.
The research of Aksoy, Buoye and Henseler (2013) has determined various other major issues which are addressed by social networking experts within the hospitality business. In this regard, management of hotel organization is addressing first issue related to participation of different individuals. It is evaluated that the nature of social networking is dynamic, therefore it is essential to business entity to update different pages frequently. In this process, business entity has to track different comments as well as posts which have been taken place on social media. It is very time consuming process. Author further argued that staff knowledge and training are being addressed as most critical issues by management of hotel organization (Harridge-March, 2009). In the context, it has been evaluated that employees within hotel organization are having appropriate knowledge about the use social media for personal purposes, but their knowledge about the application of social media for business social networking is limited so as management has to trained them before launching any page. Therefore, arrangement of proper training is considered as a most important issue for managers within hospitality business.
In this context, Salkhordeh (2009) has argued that improper training of employees leads several kinds of risk for business that are addressed by many hospitality businesses associated with use of social media in wrong way. It leads adverse impact on overall effectiveness and performance of social media marketing in the from of lack of visitor engagement. The reason for this is often that the management of hotel organization uses different kinds of social media pages in order to promote their own products along with services which is similar to traditional promotion. But, Hutter, Hautz, Dennhardt and Füller (2013) have stated that the traditional marketing is not primary goals of the social media so as organization could not generate appropriate return for their efforts if management uses social media marketing as traditional promotional tool. The primary objective of social media is to increase interaction among different individuals. In the context of hospitality business, companies have selected wrong strategies that creates several issues for company during online promotion of different services and products. As per the research of Hollensen (2015) it has found that the rule for social media hospitality marketing strategies is that hotel organization has to manage 80% informative or fun content and just 20% promotional content on different kind of social media pages that gives good results for the company. In addition to that it has found that improper selection of content of marketing leads to significant issues for managers within business entity.
As per the study of Tufekci and Wilson (2012) it has found that management also faces several issues associated with negative promotion of company on social media which are addressed when customers have a bad experience with different aspects of hospitality business or services within hotel organization. These issues are also discussed on social media. This is a risk, as it may turn some potential customers away. However, it is also termed as great marketing opportunity to publicly share how the management of Hotel organization has been dealing with the customer hospitality issues. The discussion of different issues at various platforms of social media which are addressed by consumers during service rendering process has created negative impact on brand value and goodwill of the company (Duggan and Brenner, 2013). Furthermore, it has been found that the people consider the views of other individual while taking purchase decision about different product and services so as negative views of other individuals influence other consumers to avoid different products and services of particular brand. In the context of luxury hotels, this element plays an important role in order to influence purchase decisions of different individuals.
As per the investigation of Solomon And et. al. (2014) has found that interaction with customers has become more complex due wide range of communications media or platforms available. Social Media (SM) is considered as most important element of the revolution associated with customer engagement with hospitality business. In order to resolve several issues occurred in online business operations along with social media marketing, most of the hoteliers along with their marketing teams have developed various strategies for considering the SM as both an opportunity and threat. Negative reviews and online criticism live forever in the digital world that are having significant impact on popularity and growth hotel companies. In the context of luxury hotel, this element requires to pay extra attention. With reference to 2010 Global web index report, it has been found that 30% of Chinese bloggers have determined that they post reviews of products and services which they have been experienced at least monthly. (The Top 4 Challenges Facing Hospitality Today, 2016). Further evaluation has determined that the readers of different blogs and reviews have considered 3x times more credible in comparison of the opinion of a stranger in a bar. Therefore, it can be stated that online strangers are 3 times more believable as compared to face-to-face strangers. The power and significance of the written web word is imbued with newspaper-like authority.
As per the finding of the research of Wang, Yu and Wei (2012) it is stated that hotel organization are addressing several issues during online promotion of different products associated with the Burden of the Marketing Shift. In this context, it has been examined that business marketing requires personal engagement with customers where as if management do not invite consumer interaction than management would face to generate appropriate returns in the form satisfaction of consumers. On the other hand, it has found that social media-based marketing can be used effectively for attainment of different goals of hotel organization (Goh, Heng and Lin, 2013). If the businesses that are used to providing a one-sided sell has to develop appropriate strategies while handling online promotion in order to develop a relationships with people buying their product.
Hudson and Thal (2013) have stated that increased customer power provides significant assistance to management of hospitality firm or luxury hotels like Hilton Hotels in improving quality of services along with development of new services. It supports management in establishment of long term relationship with consumers. In the contrary, negative company experiences might stay within an individual's social circle in the form of friends develop various stories about the bad customer service and disappointing products that can run quickly through social media networks and leads negative impact on brand value of company (Five Challenges of Social Media Marketing and How to Overcome Them, 2012). Therefore, It has become more critical for companies who are managing different business operation with in hospitality business to avoid its negative publicity. Furthermore, it has been found that the bad publicity spreads more quickly in comparison of the good publicity. In the support of this,Solomon And et. al. (2014) have determined that negative publicity of a luxury hotel hampers overall goodwill and brand value of business entity results reduction in sales, revenue along with reduction in profitability.
The research of Wang, Yu and Wei (2012) have derived that tracking negative or misleading statements on social media is not easy task for management. This is because social media is providing a platform for enormous conversation in which everyone is invited to join the talk, Therefore, it is very difficult for businesses associated with hotel organization to track statements about their brand that are negative or even defamatory. These element have added burden on hotel organization for tracking statements and responding as per the requirement of business.
The research of Tufekci and Wilson (2012) has found that accidental release of confidential information has also created significant issues of hotel organization. They and their study have evaluated that individuals that are having the inside knowledge of the company might unknowingly blurt out confidential information and data about different business operations and goals of company that damages the the company's competitive advantage. Before the emergence of social media, a letter sent on wrong address or even an email that ended up in the wrong inbox could be recovered so as management of hotel organization can easily protect valuable information of other hotel organization (Goh, Heng and Lin, 2013). But, In the world of social media, the sheer numbers mean that once confidential information is out that could not be recovered. Solomon, Russell-Bennett and Previte (2012) have evaluated that it is very difficult for companies like Hilton Hotels to monitor employee social media activity along with their conversation with others. Therefore, business entity is also facing issues that prevent them from speaking on company matters without authorization. In the era of engagement, companies might strive for employees to have the ability to assert their personalities online; however, this freedom also increase the risk associated with leakage of confidential information about the company that even a well-meaning social media post about a company's perceived objectives and direction that could the damage the company's reputation within highly competitive market place (Hudson and Thal, 2013).
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Social media marketing has been a powerful tool in the present scenario. This is tool is continuously integrated by the companies in their marketing communication plan. It has been determined that due to occurrence of social media greater amount of challenges and tensions are being faced by consumers. In accordance with the views of Hutter, Hautz, Dennhardt and Füller (2013) the major issue faced are the lack of useful information available on website and other tools. This creates major challenge for the consumer as they require complete information of the services that are being offered by the luxury hotel Hilton. In addition to this there is major trouble faced by consumer like fraud made by the company while marketing the products and services. In order to increase the sales of the product, firm does not reveal each and every information. This acts as major challenge for the consumer as once they book the services they need to avail or consider them whether or not they are satisfied. As per the views of Sparks, Perkins and Buckley (2013) it has been examined that major tension arises among the customer when their queries are responded quickly. When company makes use of social media marketing then under this the customers ask their queries through mail or on social media marketing tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. It is essential for the luxury hotel to make quick response to their queries of the customers. As this might result in converting the prospect into customer.
Another major tension faced by consumer is in relation with the technology. Social media marketing makes use of advanced technology in order to attract potential buyers. A major issue faced by customers is that they lack the ability to understand the message as it is high tech. Thus it obstructs the purchase decision and creates confusion among the buyers. Sparks, Perkins and Buckley (2013) asserts that with the increase in usage of social media marketing, lot of buyers have shifted their interest in using other brand. This is due to absence of crucial information that is lacking in company's message. Such things develops negative attitude among the consumers as they are not cheated by not disclosing each and every information about the company's product and services (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). This creates huge tension in the mind of the customers as they lack detailed information about the products and services of the luxury hotel. In situation when updates are not posted by firm within reasonable time then such things affects the deliverance of customer service to a greater extent.
As per the above assessment, it can be concluded that social media is identified an most important tool in the contemporary business environment this tool support management of hospitality business in collection of valuable consumer feedback through which hotel organization is able to improve service quality and can establish strong and effective customer relationships with customers of luxury hotel that plays important role in strengthen the loyalty to the brand. However, improper use social networking creates negative impact on corporate image of hotel because it quickly spreads information about the negative feedback of consumers and it is very time-consuming approach etc. Therefore, management of luxury hotel needs to ensure about skills of employees who are handling marketing operations based on social media, confidentiality of data, content of advertisement etc. in order to avoid negative aspects of social media.
As per the findings of present study, further research should be done on different approaches and tactics through which management of an organization could manage the various problems associated with application of social networking in promotional plan. This research will increase understanding of researcher about various measure through an organization and will be able to increase effectiveness of social media marketing.
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