Hotels are putting social media on hold as a marketing and selling mechanism, while they focus on driving direct bookings in response to their continuous struggle for better margins with the Online Travel Agents (OTAs), says research by Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (Switzerland) and RateTiger.

The six-month qualitative study, ‘The Distribution Challenge 2012’, conducted in five countries, found that while social networks including Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor and YouTube are recognised as new forms of digital marketing, hotels are still unconvinced about the impact these channels will actually have on bookings and are therefore deterred from implementing strategies in the short term. One in three of the hotels have no social digital media strategy, and only one in eight use any form of social media as a marketing tool. Hotels have instead focussed on the development of offline strategies to build more corporate contracts that deliver more predictable business, and to diversify their online distribution mix to generate additional revenue opportunities.

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