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Does social media make travelers more loyal?

A new study questions the effectiveness of social media marketing to consumers at a time when hotel giants continue to ramp up their efforts.

Marketing tracker MediaPost.com wrote about the study of 5,000 people in the US, UK, France and Germany.

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Just 18% of respondents believe that a social media interaction with a large company or one of its brands would prompt them to buy from that business again, the study says. That figure fell to 15% for smaller business, a group that could include independent hotels.

The findings are interesting, but then so is the source.

The study was commissioned by Pitney Bowes, the mail services giant that deals in postage meters and machines used in direct-mail campaigns.

MediaPost quoted directly from the Pitney Bowes report:

“These findings will give decision-makers pause for thought. Businesses can be forgiven for getting swept away by the hype of surrounding social media and wanting to invest in such activity as soon as possible. … But results show that those businesses tempted to lead with such techniques will quickly find themselves out of step with customer thinking.”

Regardless, the study brings up some good questions about social media.

Travelers: How effective do you feel social media efforts by Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, IHG and other hotel companies have been at making you a more loyal customer?

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