Social Media and Mobile Apps growing role in the Travel Industry

 Those are some of the findings in a new TripAdvisor Accommodation Owners Survey in which social media (39%) and mobile (27%) edged out email marketing (22%) and paid listings on review sites (17%) among the top marketing priorities for 770 hoteliers, B&B owners and inkeepers who submitted completed surveys.

The survey, conducted May 18 to June 3,  was emailed to a random sampling of U.S. accommodation businesses who are registered owners on TripAdvisor, Business Listingssubscribers, and accommodations owners who are neither registered as owners on TripAdvisors nor subscribers.

The lowly ranking of paid listings on user review sites can’t come as welcome news for TripAdvisor, which is, of course, a user review site.

Regarding their mobile marketing strategies, 84% of respondents indicated that enabling guests to be able to book the property on a mobile device is important.

Of course, mobile and social media were not at the top of the list of accommodation owners’ marketing priorities. The top priority indicated was SEO, SEM and banner advertising (63%).

Alas, social media comes off as a higher priority than mobile in the survey even though there are at least five reasons why hoteliers should adopt mobile.

Alas, some apparent good news for TripAdvisor in the social media section of the survey.

The majority of survey respondents indicated that TripAdvisor “is the most effective social media site for marketing their properties,” TripAdvisor says, followed by Facebook (22%) and Twitter(16%).

If there is any skeptism in TripAdvisor taking social media honors in its own survey when TripAdvisor doesn’t immediately come to mind when discussing social media, the following was the survey question and possible answers:

“Which social media site is the most effective channel for marketing your property?

A. Facebook

B. Flickr

C. Foursquare

D. Gowalla

E. Groupon

F. LinkedIn

G. MySpace

H. TripAdvisor

I. Twitter

J. Yelp

K. Other

L. My property does not have a social media marketing program.”

Respondents indicated they use social media for posting special offers and deals (54%), customer service (48%), event promotion (40%), sharing industry news (26%) and contest promotions (18%).

And, why did property owners decide to use social media? The key influencers, according to the survey, were industry research/reports (46%), competition (30%) and marketing from social media sites (24%).