|Connecting customer value to social media strategies: Focus on India.|
Saturday, 31st August 2013
Source : Cornell Center for Hospitality Research
Although the internet has yet to make substantial inroads into hotel distribution in India, that time is soon coming.
Thus, Indian hoteliers and academics met for the first Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Roundtable in India to discuss ways in which operators there can make the best use of online travel agents and electronic and social media as those channels grow in importance to India’s industry.
Participants observed that reviews and comments made by customers on social media can become an adjunct to management’s quality control efforts, since managers can quickly respond to problems that have been posted. Operators will have to become attuned to potential guests’ search processes, which vary according to market segment.
Although appropriate pricing is essential, a strong focus on the brand is an essential counterbalance to the disintermediation and commodization that can be side effects of internet transparency.
Existing models for the use of social media that have become common in America and Europe may not apply in India, which already has its own culture of communication that is based on informal networks.
One approach that hoteliers can use to maintain an effective customer value proposition is to analyze the data that customers supply on their numerous internet postings.
Although those data are not structured, it is possible to use specific analytical techniques to determine what customers want and how to incorporate value into the hotel brand.
The proceedings of the India Roundtable are available at no charge from the CHR: "Connecting Customer Value to Social Media Strategies: Focus on India," by Rohit Verma, Ramit Gupta, and Jon Denison. The original study of U.S. hotel customers' use of the internet is also available at no charge from the CHR: "How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions," by Laura McCarthy, Debra Stock, and Rohit Verma.