Being active on social media has very little impact on a hotel’s bottom line, latest research claims.
The likes of Facebook are responsible for just 3.3% of the web traffic to hotels’ websites, according to the study by eviivo, which provides booking management apps for independent hotels and B&Bs.
It was able to establish that a “derisory” 0.75% of bookings made for independent hotels and B&Bs originate from social media – compared to 74% of bookings which emanate from travel websites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Laterooms, Booking.com and others.
The results come from analysis of booking data for some of the 5,600 B&Bs and small hotels the company works with.
The findings come despite almost six out of 10 (59%) accommodation providers polled admitting to using social media to encourage bookings.
A quarter of those surveyed described social media is “very important” to their business and 36% spend five hours or more on it each week.
In addition, more than one in five (22%) spends money on paid advertising each month.
Of 2,000 consumers surveyed by eviivo, 44% said they checked review websites before booking a stay, while another 39% used recommendations by friends.
Thomas Messett, chief marketing officer of eviivo, said: “It’s actually quite staggering that over 10% of B&Bs in the UK aren’t working with any of the three biggest travel booking websites out there, knowing that these are really cost effective and this is where the vast majority of bookings happen.
“Those who work with the top three travel booking websites have a year-on-year growth in online bookings of circa 80%, whereas those who don’t work with any actually see their year-on-year bookings declining by nearly 1.5% from one year to the next.
“Yet somehow, B&B and small hotel owners are convinced that social media is the way to go and that it is something worth investing a lot of time and money in.
“But facts and figures don’t lie. Throughout our research we found that 87% of those B&Bs that have a Facebook page actually have less than 1,000 fans – with the vast majority of those being local people keen to remain in the know about cultural events happening on their doorstep.
“Besides, when we quizzed holidaymakers on who they turn to for recommendations on where to stay, it is clear that social media isn’t top of their list; with only a scanty 8% having ever booked a stay in a B&B because it had a social media profile.”