Premises and promises of social media marketing in tourism

Authored by: Ulrike Gretzel , Kyung-Hyan Yoo

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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The term social media refers to a collection of technological applications and platforms that were originally designed to support social interactions among individuals. While some of them (e.g. virtual communities) have been available for quite some time, there has been a recent surge in development of such applications, which has prompted a need to create a summary term and to better understand their use. Enticed by the large numbers of prospective customers reachable through these media and encouraged by the technology developers who integrated advertising-based business models to attract funding, it did not take long for companies to discover the commercial potential of social media. The viral component of social media makes them especially attractive as messages can achieve enormous reach without big marketing investments. However, due to the infancy and ongoing development of most of these social media, companies have yet to determine how to best use social media for marketing purposes. It is therefore important to look at the fundamental principles of social media and related consumer behaviours, and to infer theoretical foundations in order to identify marketing opportunities and inform marketing practice.

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