In the past, consumers used to shop at physical stores such as shopping malls and physical stores. They used to follow the same trend when they want to purchase different products. Usually, this meant going to a physical store where they have to buy the product or they have to register for a service they need. This they also coupled with their search for information which they would either collect it directly from the physical store where they are getting the product or service or in the form of associated information sources. Their search for information, their sales turnouts and more would be used by businesses in order to gauge consumer behaviour. In fact, as seen in the case of many businesses, consumer study was undertaken by the marketing operation units and it was only based on the information so collected from the different consumer behaviour analysis units that they created marketing plans (Hsiao, 2009). Understanding consumer behaviour was a complex task in itself. However, in more current times, the trends have changed because of the different communication technologies available. The ways the consumer are exposed to information, the way they seek information and also the way information is consumed in current times have changed. Their very shopping modes have changed too. It is seen that consumers are exposed to different forms of websites, social media connections and also media tools (Toomey and Wysocki). This expands the scope of exploration for consumers who want to buy something and this also creates a web of complexity for the marketing managers. The current research is focused on how social media has introduced both opportunities and threats for the tourism industry and makes recommendations on primary data analysis. Social media’s influence on company marketing strategy and operational strategy will be analysed to understand future recommendations.
The need for understanding social media marketing arises from the significant contributions that this industry holds for countries. For instance, consider the European tourism industry which would stand to represent a collective economy status of all nations. Now in these countries international travels to and fro are encouraged in order to help the country’s tourism sector. Plans are usually assigned to internetworked tour guides and operators. The different countries experience good GDP increase or stable GDPs because of the contributions of the tourism sector. For instance, in the case of countries such as Croatia, there was a GDP increase to around 17.2 % because of the improved tourism industry in the country. Malta saw a GDP increase rate of around 14.4 %, Cyprus had a GDP rate of around 12.3 % and an overall GDP increase was also confirmed for other countries as well. Spain is seen to have the maximum GDP increase, recorded at the rate of around EUR 49.0 billion and France was around EUR 43.2 billion (Eurostat, 2015). The competitive GDP is critical for these countries. It allows them to reinvest in the tourism sector and also there are an array of jobs fed because of these competitive industries. In this context, it is critical that tourism sector has to reach out to a maximum number of consumers as possible. With this form of a competitive GDP based economic recovery and growth noted in nations, it is critical to understand how the social media space would contribute to the overall impact of economy as well. It is with this idea that the current research attempts to understand how the impact or influence of consumer buying processes is triggered by social media space. The specific parameters for tourism are considered.