The Use of Social Media by SMEs in the Tourism Industry

The Use of Social Media by SMEs in the Tourism Industry

Fatim-Zohra Benmoussa (Groupe ISCAE, Morocco), Walid A. Nakara (Montpellier Business School, France) and Annabelle Jaouen (Montpellier Business School, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch155
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Introduction1

The Internet is currently experiencing an unprecedented rate of growth as a result of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). Social networks are not only profoundly transforming how people use the web (Qualman, 2009) but also challenging the way that entrepreneurs and managers conduct business (Postman, 2009). This shift has given rise to several studies of web business benefits (Miller, 2010) and social media (Safko, 2010; Zarrella, 2009) as new perspectives in marketing strategy. In the tourism sector, where a consumer’s decision is strongly influenced by word of mouth and reputation, the power of social media is undeniable. Zeng and Gerritsen (2014) review research on the link between social media and the tourism sector, and they observe the diversity of studies adopting a strategic perspective (e.g., Hsu, 2012) or a consumer perspective (Sotiriadis & van Zyl, 2013). Relevant to SMEs, social media channels are considered “affordable” marketing tools (Dutta, 2010) for organizations with limited resources in general. This change in perspective has generated a rich body of literature devoted to SME marketing practices.

This research aims to explore the integration of social media into marketing strategy and to answer the following questions:

  • 1.

    Do SMEs use social media in their marketing practices?

  • 2.

    If so, how?

  • 3.

    What is the impact of social media on SME marketing strategies?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social media: A collective of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction and collaboration.

SMEs: Firms with fewer than 250 employees (European Union, 2011 AU28: The in-text citation "European Union, 2011" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

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