It’s expected that by 2015, nine out of 10 consumers will have a mobile phone. About 29 percent of travelers have found flight plans through mobile apps; 30 percent have found hotel deals through mobile apps; 85 percent of travelers use their smartphones while traveling; and 46 percent check in to a location while on vacation using services like Facebook and Foursquare. The top five uses of smartphones include taking photos, using maps, searching for restaurants, searching for activities and attractions, and checking in prior to flying.

There are a myriad of ways businesses can use social media to their advantage. Businesses can interact directly with customers who mention them in Tweets or check in on Foursquare. They can leave tips on Foursquare and take to-go orders and reservations via Twitter. In May 2009, Hyatt hotels launched its Twitter Concierge service. Companies can also use social media to send coupons and deals to followers. Fairmont and Omni Hotels & Resorts, for example, tweets last-minute deals to their followers. Recently, many vacation spots are targeting their social media campaigns toward moms. Disney and Royal Caribbean International Cruise line are among the biggest companies who use social media to appeal to mothers around the world.

Online customer reviews are crucial—they can bring in new customers or drive them away. About 70 percent of consumers around the world say online customer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertisement.

How seriously do you take online reviews as a trusted form of advertisement? Do you often post reviews online? Please share in the comments, and be sure to check out the infographic below presented by BestHospitalityDegrees.com to learn more about how businesses are using social media.

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