Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Hospitality Management

Program or Major

Hospitality Management

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Nelson A. Barber


Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites (Evans, 2008). In today’s society, social media refers mainly to websites including (but not limited to) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. The most popular and fastest growing of these social media venues is Twitter. Twitter was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. Since 2006, almost 200 million users across the globe have joined the site; over 140 million tweets are “tweeted” daily (Picard, 2011). Twitter took advantage of a niche in the market, allowing 140 characters to express an idea or emotion. Twitter has changed the media world as a news source, tweeting real-time information from stories that arise (Picard, 2011). In the lodging industry, methods of social media to promote hotels are becoming more popular. Twitter, in particular, has emerged as a “moment of truth” for a hotel, demonstrating how instantly and tactfully hotels react to the thoughts and opinions of former, current, and potential guests. Studies have also suggested that “online social life mirrors offline relationships in many ways” (Moore, p. 440). Therefore, Twitter accounts should be viewed as an extension of the hospitality business, in particular lodging, echoing the relationship a customer would feel upon arrival to the hotel.

Hotel marketing teams have reached “great success by driving demand to hotels through increased online advertising and web optimization” (Chipkin, 2013). This has increased overall customer views of the hotel without affecting the rate strategy of the property or brand. Twitter presence could, potentially, help a patron decide between two hotels, “If a promotion, experience or package is unique, it definitely works to generate bookings and helps put you first in a consumer’s mind when they are choosing between two or three hotels,” says Rachel Harrison of Hyatt Andaz (Chipkin, 2013).

Hotel companies worldwide are investing in their social media networks. Certain hotels (i.e. W Barcelona) are even hiring social media and marketing managers whose responsibilities include instant Twitter feedback (Appendix 1). The purpose behind this investment is to maximize these social media accounts, creating feedback from all potential guests, allowing them to react to both positive and negative word of mouth. Social media managers have recently encountered an opportunity; Generation Y is becoming a target demographic. As Generation Y enters the workforce and begins a career, the exposure to hotel brands and types will increase. Luxury hotel stays are becoming more financially reachable to these Generation Y guests because of their career advancements (Fields, 2013). This study will serve to evaluate the added benefits from the adoption of social media channels, particularly Twitter.