THE IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE HOTEL INDUSTRY: A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN THE PARK PLAZA CARDIFF AND THE VALE RESORT
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of the research was to identify the impacts that social media had on the hotel industry, with emphasis on two organisations in South Wales. The reason for the research was due to a gap in the knowledge of a relatively new platform, very little research has been conducted in the field of social media and the hotel industry, therefore giving the researcher an opportunity to delve into some of the factors that are prevalent in previous studies. The choice of focus on two organisations was due to the researcher previously and currently working for the businesses and having a strong knowledge of the marketing and online applications of both establishments. The study holds a range of research methods, firstly looking at secondary research and the various theories and models available to help determine the uses of social media. Although finding no models specifically directed toward social media, the researcher instead used models such as TAM (Technology Acceptance Model), originally created to determine why people use technology and the accepting of new platforms, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1954), concentrating on the personal needs of users. Followed then by three methods of primary research; a questionnaire, a focus group with social media users and two semi-structed interviews with industry professional, which the researcher aimed to use a form of gathering a diverse range of data to answer the research question and to raise more questions within the field. With the aim of determining what impacts social media has on the hotel industry, the research concluded that communication between business and users is essential, and elements such as reputation and reliability are dependent on it. The original aim of finding the impacts of social media on the hotel industry was maintained throughout, however, the study highlighted the reasons users follow hotels online, and the benefits that follow, this is reflected in the literature review and the results. Aside from the results of this study, the research concludes that further study is needed in the field and in particular the development of a specified model determining the reasoning for using social media.
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