University of Twente Student Theses


Social media strategy in the tourism industry: formulation and implementation

Bloem, Matthijs van (2012) Social media strategy in the tourism industry: formulation and implementation.

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Abstract:In this thesis Matthijs van Bloem reports the work for his MSc graduation project which he conducted for Oad Reizen for his study Business Administration at the University of Twente. Oad Reizen (Oad) is one of the leading travel organizations in the Netherlands. Like many other organizations Oad questioned themselves how they can make use of the new phenomenon social media which is of a growing importance (IBM, 2011). Oad would like to have a social media strategy formulated and implemented in the organization. To address this issue the following main research question has been formulated: What is the best way to formulate and implement a social media strategy at a travel company? This main question has been split up into five subquestions in order to provide an answer in the end. With help of the theoretical framework the different strategies and strengths and the definition of social media (like brand exposure, brand engagement and the social norm) were discussed. To find an answer to the research question as formulated above a twofold research design has been conducted. First eleven managers were internally interviewed about social media and strategy. For the external analysis an environment scan took place in which the activities of Oad on social media were compared to the activities of competitors on social media. As a part of the environment scan also two other companies who have proven themselves on the field of social media from an other branch were interviewed to function as a best case scenario. The results of the internal interviews show that at Oad the managers are positive about introducing social media into the organization. They do see the positive effects like brand exposure or brand engagement, still they also see some risks like, the risk of getting negative comments. The managers would also like to use social media as a soft sales channel, marketing channel and service channel. The environment scan showed furthermore that the competitors are bridging the gap which Oad had enforced on social media; they are catching up. That is why the focus should be on social media to keep this lead and therefore more resources should be allocated to social media, which should be used for the right campaigns and listening tools to be successfull on social media in the end. The recommendations in this research can be used to be more successful on social media. An important recommendation is that the product departments could be more involved at social media, also could social media be more exposed on the media channels of Oad. The recommendation is to publish the activity on social media in phases because of the unexpected amount of questions and comments Oad could expect. For further research these recommendations could be applied in combination with the recommendations of Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) to serve as an advise which Oad but also possibly other companies in the tourism sector could use to implement social media into their processes. Therefore the strategy formulation and implementation model of De Wit and Meyer (2010) has been adopted which in turn is adjusted to a social media tourism strategy model and can be used for further research into this topic. Also an overall Tourism Social Media strategy has been constructed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
OAD reizen
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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