Exploring the potential of social media tools to enhance customer's satisfaction and increase turnover in the Irish accommodation sector.
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Businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector are operating in a competitive and stimulating environment. It is a competitive environment as they must sell their perishable products each day at the right price and as new technology emerges it becomes more challenging to communicate with customers. Social media networks enable customers to share their dissatisfaction effortlessly online, where potential customers can be influenced by their negative experience. However, at the same time social media offers unique opportunities for business in the hospitality sector to engage and address these issues. Web 2.0 has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and communicate with their customers, allowing customers to communicate with organisations and voice their opinion about the products and services they have experienced. A study conducted by TripAdvisor (2014) advocates that 65% of travellers are influenced by online travel reviews and almost half (48%) are influenced by personal recommendations, causing travellers to change their plans as a result of what they read on Facebook, Twitter or TripAdvisor. Reading the literature on the subject this research attempts to contribute to the knowledge on the subject of social media engagement in the hospitality sector, customer satisfaction and increased customer turnover. After revising the literature on the subject, collecting primary data was crucial in order to contribute to the knowledge on the subject. A quantitative data collection method was reckoned to be necessary to collect primary data from Irish accommodation providers using online questionnaires to investigate the current use of social media by Irish accommodation providers. The objective of this study examined the adoption of social media by Irish accommodation providers and the impact it has on increased engagement, customer satisfaction and increased customer turnover as perceived by accommodation provider’s owners/managers. The result provides several theoretical contributions to social media customer engagement based on social exchange theory. The quantitative and qualitative data analysis shows that by being very active in social media and engaging with customers, accommodation providers will be able to enhance customer’s satisfaction and increase customer turnover. The findings of this research highlight the social media tools used by the Irish accommodation to engage with customers on social media to create awareness and ultimately increase customer turnover.
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