You would be forgiven for thinking that every industry has by now, fully embraced Social Media, but far from it. Each has their own issues to face - be it compliance in regulated industries, concerns about potential damage to brand reputation or something else, but slowly but surely they see huge potential for engaging with customers in new ways.
Immediately after the initial excitement, there is often a perception that Social Media will be a panacea for all their communication challenges, and occasionally mistakes are made during the learning process. Disenchantment can also set in when immediate results don't materialise - followed by questioning whether there will ever be any return on investment.
Social Media is still regarded by some tourism professionals in India as a relatively new idea, with many trying to figure out that elusive return on investment. But my recent experience in India, showed me first hand that Social Media is indeed regarded as an exciting opportunity for hotel and tourism operators in the country to communicate the many delights that India has to offer - whether heritage sites, forts, beaches, backwaters, lakes, mountains, adventure, wildlife, culture, festivals, medical, wellness, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), or religion and shopping. India offers something for everyone and it's vast tourism potential sits extremely well with Social Media.
As I finish my preparation for my second trip to the beautiful country, where I will be speaking on Social Media in Tourism at the Indian Association of Tour Operators convention in Kerala, I'm looking forward immensely to sharing ideas on the future of communicating the many, and often jaw-dropping benefits of a holiday or business trip to India.
Actually, the future is here now, and I'm extremely excited about working with tourism and travel professionals in the country to help them gain real value and return on their investment in Social Media.
By Philip Calvert