The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Holidays

Introduction

Lebanon’s area is ranked 170th in the world (CIA, 2014). It is smaller than the size of Connecticut, one of the smallest states in in america. Moreover, Lebanon is one of the few democratic countries at the center East region. Regarding its economy, Lebanon is a free market economy and has a very long tradition of laissez-faire economics. In addition to its coast location on the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond region, Lebanon is considered buy snapchat account as the central ‘window’ of the Middle East to Europe, North Photography equipment, and the rest of the world. Because of this, its economy has gone through some very prosperous times and was even once called the ‘Paris’ of the Middle East before the state’s 15 year-long bloody civil war which ended in 1990.

Also, although Lebanon is tiny, it is also one of the most diverse nations in the world. Christians, Muslims, Druze, and other tossing sects are spread all over the small nation and even Lebanon’s political system is based on sectarian power sharing.

However, this diversity had played a crucial role in the state’s problems. This diversity was a needed condition of the place’s sectarian civil war and currently plays an important role in its political paralysis, although other factors (mainly foreign) are guilty as well. There is currently no acting Chief executive and the place’s rival political parties keep bickering and preventing rather than facilitating the place’s development.

Furthermore, Lebanon’s distance to Israel has made it a foreign policy/proxy battleground for foreign nations, each using Lebanon for its own selfish ends.

The sad political realities of the country have significantly hurt the place’s economy. Also, since Lebanon is a service-based economy, this particular sector has taken the largest hit.

Holidays plays a significant role in the state’s economy. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Trade (MOET), “Tourism is certainly one of Lebanon’s leading economic sectors” (Economic Research Unit, 2010).

Furthermore, The world Travel & Holidays Council estimated that the travel & holidays sector in Lebanon contributed over $4 thousand dollars in 2013 (World Travel & Holidays Council, 2014).

The travel & holidays sector made up about 10% of the economy in 2012 but that share dropped to 9% in 2013 (ibid, p. 14). This is due to the political situation in the country as well as some other factors. Moreover, the number of tourist arrivals in the country kept decreasing from 2011 to 2013.

Since the holidays industry has been somewhat floundering in the past few years, the room for error becomes small for businesses in this industry. The political & economic situations are squeezing tourist-related (TR) businesses in Lebanon. This means that these businesses are forced to do more to make up for increasing losses (or decreasing profits) and with fewer resources. There is no telling when the political & economic situation in Lebanon will improve especially since the civil war in neighboring Syria shows no signs of abating.

There are many strategies Lebanese TR businesses can adapt during these times such as implementing downsizing policies and cutting short on marketing & advertising budgets. When economic recessions and tough times affect businesses, the first things to get eliminated are usually marketing budgets. But especially since TR businesses should do more marketing to make up for lost businesses, this isn’t always a good idea.

One solution to this problem is to take advantage of Social media marketing strategies since they cost little to no resources, perfect for the current economic situation in Lebanon. Social media marketing allows TR businesses to overcome obstacles of limited budgets and decreased business.

Problem Statement

During the past few years, the positive effect of social media on business has been extremely high (Kaplan et al., 2010; Stelzner, 2010; Treem & Leonardi, 2012, p. 143; Baker & Green, 2014).

Moreover, Facebook and Twitter fans of a specific brand are greatly predisposed to recommend and get from these brands than non-fans (Cruz & Mendelsohn, 2011). But, we don’t need to make sure of social media’s relation to business through clinical tests. For social media users, which include over 30% of the world, this on her known. More and more businesses are inserting Social media marketing tools into their marketing strategies and, in some cases, have even become a fundamental portion of their overall business strategy.

Naturally, one would expect that Lebanese businesses would quickly adopt Social media marketing as a key role in their overall marketing strategies but this is not the case. When it comes to the middle East and especially Lebanon, the spot is far behind the Gulf in social media usage. Not only that, when it comes to businesses involved in the holidays industry, there is much room for growth. Little investment in technology is keeping tourist businesses away from maximizing marketing opportunities given by social media.

The Lebanese holidays industry is not taking advantage of social media marketing tactics even though the advantages of doing so are apparent. This presents a great problem especially since the economy is going by having a very rough time.

Moreover, Lebanese TR businesses and businesses in Lebanon in general are not following social media tools as they should. This presents a huge problem in the waste of resources as well as significant missed opportunities as a larger target audience can be reached via social media enabling businesses that adopt social media marketing tools gain a better chance of success and prosperity.

Intent behind the study

The fruits and advantages of social media marketing tools may take significant time to come about in Lebanon if we are ignorant of the factors that have led to the prevention of widespread social media marketing adoption.

Also, as long as no study goes into the issue of effectively implementing a social media marketing campaign in the Lebanese context, many TR businesses may be lost even if they decide to adopt social media marketing tools.

Additionally, even though there have been numerous studies in the Gulf about effectively implementing social media marketing campaigns, the results of these studies may or may not sign up for the Lebanese context. Therefore, it is also the goal of this study to find out those factors related to effectively implementing social media marketing among Lebanese TR businesses.

At the end, there is no doubt that social media marketing plays an extremely important role in the marketing campaigns and even in the overall success of tourism-related businesses.

Lebanese Tourist-Related (TR) businesses fall far behind the developed world in investing and using SMM. Since there are many benefits of SMM, why is this so? Also, to catch up to the rest of the world, what is the most effective way for Lebanese TR businesses to deploy an SMM campaign? So, it was the study’s purpose to find reasons related to such low investment & use of SMM by Lebanese TR businesses and to help guide these businesses in effectively using SMM.

Methods

The goal of this study is twofold. This study aims to find out exactly what those factors are that are preventing the widespread adoption of social media marketing tools among Lebanese TR businesses. The philosophy used is interpretivism, for an inductive approach to go from specific to general research, the strategy is ethnographic, and the methods is qualitative. In-depth job interviews are used with ten participants from ten different companies. Five companies had high social media ‘visibility’ and the other five didn’t. So, the participants’ answers provided very useful information and solutions for the research problem.

Findings

The results found that among the most relevant factors of little SMM investment & use by Lebanese TR businesses are that many don’t see benefits to using SMM and so don’t support it.

The results also provided useful information on factors for effectively implementing SMM by Lebanese TR businesses including the acceptance of SMM by ownership/decision-makers and the significance about these people in seeing the benefits of SMM. Also, problems with implementing SMM include negative comments from customers and inter-departmental power struggles.

Recommendations include communicating the benefits of SMM to Lebanese TR businesses which is of such high importance to cause them to use SMM. There should also be an SMM plan with a consistent schedule outlining the days to add content to social media sites as well as comprehensive monitoring of SM user comments about the business.

At the end, it is the researcher’s hope that the study helped shed light on important issues with SMM and its relation to Lebanese TR businesses. It is also wanted that the recommendations be considered by Lebanese TR businesses.

References

Baker, S., & Green, H. (2014, February 20). Social media will change your business. Business week.

CIA World Factbook 2014. (2014, November 11). Total Area – sq km 2014 country comparisons, ranks, By Rank.

Cruz, B., & Mendelsohn, J. (2011). Why social media matters to your business. Recovered from Chadwick Martin Bailey

Economic Research Unit. (2010) Holidays. Ministry of Economy & Trade Newsletter, (5)

Kaplan, Andreas Mirielle. and Michael Haenlein. 2010. “Users of the World, Bring together! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social media. ” Business Horizons 53: 59-68.

Stelzner, Mirielle. (2010). Social media marketing industry report: how marketers are using social media to grow their business.

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