Social media's benefits 'lost' on leisure sector

At least one in ten outfits in the leisure and hospitality industry generate up to half of all sales through social media, despite the industry still questioning the likes of Facebook and Twitter for business, a study shows.

In fact according to Barclays, over 60% of the sector, which includes hotels, pubs, restaurants, travel and leisure operators, say that they only see ‘some’ or ‘limited’ opportunity in using social media tools to engage consumers.

This is in spite of the clear benefits emerging from these channels: nearly a third (29%) of the 126 outfits polled directly attributed up to 25% of all their sales to social media, and a further 13% stated that these platforms generate up to half of sales.

In addition, more than two thirds (68%) of those currently using social media report that they have had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ experience, attracting new customers, and receiving positive recommendations.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, reflected on its findings: “The industry is missing a trick. Social media is everywhere, and for many businesses it not only influences and directly generates sales, but provides a personal link with consumers, building loyalty and driving repeat footfall.”

Evidencing his comments, the survey shows that while more than half of the leisure groups believe the role of social media will increase in the sector in 2013, responsibility for its channels is largely being placed on non-specialist in-house individuals.

If not, the general in-house marketing teams are expected to oversee and use social media platforms, even though they “do not necessarily have experience of handling these tools.”

Barclays added: “Just having a presence on social media is not enough – there needs to be a strategy driving it. Consideration needs to be given to how the information generated through social media is used”.

 

29th January 2013

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