23 FEB, 16
Word of Mouse – Social media and the impact on the hospitality industry.

Social media impacts almost every aspect of our lives. Which restaurant to go to, or what hotel to stay at used to be based largely on word of mouth, however this has all changed with the huge online presence across the various social media networks.
More restaurants, bars and hotels have realised they do not only have to embrace social media, but also make it an integral part of their business. If you want to grab the right attention, you have to be virtually present at the right place. Every restaurant, bar, or hotel has a social media presence, even if you didn’t create it. People will still be talking about you; you just won’t be present in the conversation.
Facebook has more than 800 million users sharing updates and images about their dining and travel experiences and TripAdvisor has almost 200 million reviews and opinions posted on it. In this day and age, we have taken to online research about our choices and we look at social networking sites in order to make informed decisions. My friends and I and along with the vast majority of the population, crowdsource opinions before making plans.  We base our decisions of where to eat or stay on reviews and the opinions of previous customers as well as visiting restaurants off the back of a friend’s check in status. After staying at a hotel, or eating out at a restaurant, we are quick to go back to various platforms like TripAdvisor and give feedback or share our experience. Word of mouth has largely been replaced by word of mouse.
From a business mind-set, sites like Twitter can provide valuable cost-free feedback on customer and client satisfaction. Apart from actually asking guests personally what they think, nothing beats social media for the immediacy of gathering views. Every piece of feedback whether positive or negative, is valuable. These platforms can help businesses have personalised interactions with customers, which in turn can increase loyalty.
https://smst2.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/img_2073.jpgUsing social media platforms is another way to enhance your brand and achieve customer engagement. Your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page is the personality and voice for your business. Even small things from posting up the latest menu or recipe or some videos from behind the scenes can help to make your restaurant personal for people. Encouraging involvement is a sure way to attract a wider audience. Posting up a photo of a new dish with the caption ‘tag a friend who you would like to share this dish with’ is a simple yet effective way to attract a wider audience.
Taking advantage of hashtags can be extremely beneficial. There are over 78 million images with the hashtag #foodporn. When handled and utilized correctly, Instagram and hashtags truly are a restaurateur’s best friend. The more hashtags used, the more likely your post will be exposed to a larger audience. It increases your post’s popularity which heightens the chance for a greater reach. There are even social media workshops that have been launched which teach chefs how to incorporate social media techniques and use social media platforms with the aim to help them build up their online profile.
http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/IMGP4935.jpgSocial media has a huge impact on how consumers make decisions and it’s clear that it is something to be taken seriously in the hospitality industry. It can make or break a business so utilizing social media platforms to increase awareness and generate engagement is vital to keep customers coming back and willing to share their experiences to the millions on the World Wide Web.

Charlotte Besant - Recruitment Consultant , Front of House Temporary Division 
23 FEB, 16
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