The Management of Social Media and the Relationship With the Client From the Perspective of the Managers of Small Hotels in a City in Brazil

The Management of Social Media and the Relationship With the Client From the Perspective of the Managers of Small Hotels in a City in Brazil

Francieli Boaria (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil) and Ademilso Alves da Cunha (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1947-9.ch022
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Abstract

With the growth of the tourism sector and increased competition, the hotel industry is directly related to the evolution of the internet as an important communication tool capable of promoting market differentials. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the management of social media of the hotels in the city of Santa Vitória do Palmar, Brazil, as well as to analyze the interaction between the enterprises and their clients. This research had a sample of five hotels, which have demonstrated that they use social media constantly, but this practice is in the initial phase of implementation. It was noticed that the use of social media by the managers of the research sample is carried out with the same knowledge of common users, without deepening it. In order to optimize this practice and consequently for the hotel to be more profitable, the implementation of aspecialized and up-to-date management is necessary.
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Introduction

Nowadays, Tourism shows an evident growth. According to the survey of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), world tourism registered the second best result of the last 10 years in 2018, reaching the mark of 1.4 billion international arrivals worldwide, an increase of 6% over 2017 (Tourism Department, 2019). This, in turn, has a direct impact on hotel businesses, considered as one of the fundamental services of the tourism product, as Petrocchi (2002) explains. Therefore, hotels need to assess their management strategies, especially those related to Marketing and Social Media, the focus of this study.

Such growth in tourism, and consequently in hotels, is directly related to the evolution of the Internet as an important communication tool that is capable of promoting market differentials, since, according to an EBIT study (2018), Online Tourism was the second sector with the highest nominal growth, about 17.8% in relation to 2016, a budget of around 10 billion dollars in 2017.

All segments of society are affected by the behavioral changes that the Internet provides in the forms of communication, which is shown as the potential to be explored by marketing in the relation with customers. Therefore, the hotel sector can also take strategic actions through the Internet that may boost their sales, starting from plans for consolidation of the brand before a market that is extremely competitive.

Social media is being widely explored by individuals and companies in general, such as hotel ventures. Today, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor have significant advantages in promoting business-customer interaction, especially by sharing messages and sharing photos and videos. Advantages include the organization of events, the creation of specific groups and communities, etc.

In the face of behavioral changes and market needs, the objectives of this study are to evaluate the management of social media by the hotels in Santa Vitória do Palmar, RS, Brazil, as well as to analyze how the interaction between the enterprises and their customers. An exploratory, descriptive and qualitative approach was carried out. The bibliographic research sought to explore the tools that the hotel market currently uses through searches in academic and market magazines that have in their central focus the tourism and hotel sector. This survey was conducted in December 2017 and featured a sample of five small and independent hotels management.

Social media bring a range of possibilities to be explored, such as the dissemination of content, and the interaction and communication with customers, especially the relevance that digital marketing has assumed for hotels. In addition, the intention to study this area is to identify the potential of such internet tools linked to the practice of digital marketing.

According to Boaria (2013: 138) the implementation of digital marketing “has an impact on the amount of online transactions that the hotel chain can make through the use of its tools, such as social networks, applications for mobile devices], CRM, among many other ways to approach the customer for the use of e-commerce.” It is assumed that the optimized use of these tools can instrumentalize hotel managers towards better relations with their public, with competitive advantages characterized by relationships more aligned with the wishes of frequent clients, as well as potential ones.

It becomes important to sudy this issue not only because social media is efficient in considering today's consumer communication habits, but some of them can also be used for free. In this way, besides communication efficiency, one can consider the gains related to the cost savings as well as the consequent increase of the profits when satisfying the requested demands. The literature review is divided in two main parts. The first part explains about the digital marketing and and exemplifies through some studies, whereas the second part demonstrates the relationship of social media with customer relationship, deepening the theme of CRM. It is worth to mention that this study demonstrates how the interaction between companies and their customers occurs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Destination Management Organizations (DMO): It’s responsible for promoting a community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Facilitate the understanding of the full social and economic dimension of tourism in terms of demand (international and domestic arrivals, characteristics of their visits, and their consumption of goods and services) and supply (characteristics of local industries involved in tourism and details of their production and use of labour and capital), thereby guiding tourism policy and planning.

Electronic Word of Mouth: Word of mouth sent via internet, which is made available to an unspecified number of people by using a multitude of different online mechanisms (Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc.) and online review platforms. It consists of interpersonal communication which sets it apart from mass communication such as advertising. The communicators are non-commercially motivated, so communication is perceived as unbiased, genuine and honest.

User Generated Content: is any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that have been produced and shared by end users of an online service or website. This includes any content that is shared or produced by users that are members or subscribers of the service, but it is not produced by the website or service itself.

Digital Marketing: It’s the use of the internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines to promoting and selling products and services by leveraging online marketing tactics. It’s a way to connect with and influence the company potential customers.

Social media: Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time.

Costumer Relationship Management: Customer relationship management (CRM) is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data with the goal of improving customer service relationships and assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.

Internal Marketing: It is the promotion of a company’s objectives, products and services to employees within the organization. The purpose is to increase employee engagement with the company’s goals and fostering brand advocacy.

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