Social, locative media for hotel social media campaign

1. Introduction

The development of digital technologies and digital media have revolutionised the relationship between individuals and medium and mediated-content. It is apparent that media has been embedded in individuals’ life and led to information flowing have overcome the limitation of distance and time. Moreover, the advent of web 2.0 era has transformed network users from passive information consumers to interactive and collaborative creators of user-generated content in a virtual community (O’Relly, 2012). In order to understand social media and its development in the respect of mobility, Hinton and Hjorth (2013) shed a light on the convergence between social, locative and mobile media. It is not uncommon that consumers tend to share their opinions and images about the product and service on a few social media sites with location-based services (LBS) like Facebook Places and review sites so that other people will know where the restaurant, hotel, or attraction it is. Therefore, social, locative and mobile media are used in a variety of contexts, such as indoor object search, entertainment, business marketing, etc.

This essay will explain the core concept of social, locative interface and how it relates to my social media project for a hostel. Then, I will predict the developmental shift of social, locative interfaces.

2.Core concepts

1) Social media

Built on the concept of web 2.0, social media is internet-based application, which promote the creation and exchange of user-generation content (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Mobile and web-based technologies give network users interactive platform by which individuals can create and join communities where they share, produce and consume information, and keep and extend personal relationship. They (2013) highlight social link of social media by demonstrating of the pervasiveness of SNS resulting in the ubiquity of social media and blurring the line of virtuality and reality. Deeply embedded within offine contexts, Hinton and Hjorth point out that social media is engaging people and constructing relationship from broad demographics.

2) Social, locative media

Hinton and Hjorth (2013) mention that convergence of social, locative and mobile media leads to the change how we navigate and conceptualise place. They argue that place online differ from space which is merely a geographical location. Through mobile media, lines between being online and being offline has shifted as these places overlap and entangle, adding ubiquity and emotional meaning to the notion of place. Locative media delivers multimedia and other content straightway to mobile devices of a user depends on their location. Farman (2012) argues that locative media are digital media applied to the real place location and thereby triggering online social interactions. To show the feature of social and locative interface, geosocial maps and camera photo practices are analyzed in the book Understanding social media.

3.Locative applications for hostel social media campaign

A Sydney hostel is the entity of my social media campaign in this semester. Hinton and Hjorth (2013) point out that LBS is both an information service and entertainment service today, which converges social media through mobile devices and which uses information on the geographical position of the mobile device. As for as I am concerned, the theory of locative interfaces can boost hostel social media campaign in the practice since mobile devices give consumers the possibility of connections of their social networks.The interface would bridge and enhance the channel and communication between hoteliers and consumers. And mobile applications, which give the ability for users to take social media anywhere they go, could further promote its campaign.

1) Platforms

The Ustay platform provides customized apps for hotels, resorts, associations and management companies. Hotels can add and manage their own content, share latest deals via pushing notifications, and create custom itineraries for all types of travels. Also, guests can connect with hotel timely, share photos and video through their social networks and explore the local scene.

figure 1: hotel can add any content about your hotel and contact with customers

video about Ustay http://https://vimeo.com/85286482

TripAdivisor is a review website providing crowd-sourced reviews and rating about local businesses and travel-related content. It is designed to help users plan the trip by giving an easier way to view all the millions of travel reviews, maps, and photos from the TripAdvisor website.

video about TripAdivisor 

The theory of social, locative media can be reflected on Ustay and TripAdivisor platforms. First, they are location-aware devices which localise users and present on-site dining venues, view special event and meeting options. Linked with other review websites and LBS, the interactive map will be provided to guests, which enable them to find things-to-do, from dining, nightlife to shopping districts and attractions nearby. A ‘near me’ feature helps users find out the options available near their location or address them specify. Users can also get specific answers to their questions from the available forums. This is a great app for finding great travel deals, low airfares and even adding  their own reviews and photos these interfaces. Second, hotels can send exclusive hotel promotion and last-minute deals directly to users’ mobile devices and push personalized notification by Ustay system locating user’s location and identifying their preference. Third, Ustay and TripAdivisor interfaces connect directly to Facebook, Twitter and email, by which users can share photos and reviews of their experience timely with their followers and friends. These user-generated content can be effective advertising for a hotel campaign.

figure 2 TripAdvior APP for windows phones updated with new
figure 3 know before you go

2) Rationale of hotel campaign with social, locative media

The latest updates on what customers are doing or sharing a photo or review can be a sort of subtle advertising for the property. Imagine someone sharing some photos of their vacation at a beach resort with their friends on Facebook, who also happen to be of the same demographic; it at least gets them thinking of their own holiday. The reason is that people believe reviews from other people more than they trust commercial advertising. Therefore, hoteliers should take advantage of social media to encourage customers to share reviews of their experiences. As a result, hotels not only keep good relationship with customers but also reach potential customers.


figure 4

The locative interface can also socially enhance customers’ stay by helping them connect with other customers that are on property (Firmino, 2015). If customers are on property for a conference, business event or wedding, it can be a great way to connect with others who are at the same event. They can log in these interfaces with presence of their current location and connect their Facebook profiles. Consequently, they can message each other and connect in different ways before meeting in person.

In addition, the hotel application can act as a guide to your local area, providing information about recommendable activities, dinning and accommodation of things to do. In turn the mobile media will possess a wealth of resources within certain location, which are beneficial for its social media campaign by tapping into Google or Yelp’s resources.

4. Developmental shift of social, locative media

 The growth and usage of social media was once hindered by the lack of mobility in technology (Farman, 2012). It was not until the advent of the smartphone that enable consumers to take their social networking anywhere they go; it brought true utility to social media.

I predict the theory of social, locative media can be applied into market segmentation for target consumers. Based on location, tracks of searching and preference of users, hotel applications can push individualized notifications and segmented services. The theory will be developed further in the aspect of mobility and real-time connection of social media.

figure 5 trend towards customer segmentation form personalised analytics dashboard

5. Conclusion

74% of online adults are using social media and the number is continuously rising (Firmino, 2015). It is undeniable that social media has became intertwined into many of our daily lives. Converged with location-aware devices, social and locative media has shifted the notion of geographic location blended with social relationships (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Social media campaign would be more effective since users are willing to share their experience through social, locative hotel applications linked with other SNS.

Therefore, hotel campaign should take advantage of mobility and social connection of social media, which enhance the capacity of their engagement and interaction with target customers for driving hotel revenue. I predict this theory can be applied onto customer segmentation, which enhance individualised information communication in virtual community.


Farman, J. (2012). Locative Interfaces and Social Media Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media (pp. 56-75). New York: Routledge.

Firmino, L. (2015, April). How mobile Apps can help hoteliers take advantage of social media (Web log post).  Retrieved form http://mobilemediaapplications.com/how-mobile-apps-can-help-hoteliers-take-advantage-of-social-media/

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Social network sites. In M. Steele (Eds.), Understanding social media (pp.32-54). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Social locative and mobile media. In M. Steele (Eds.), Understanding social media (pp.120-135). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is Web 2.0 Retrieved fromhttp://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html#__federated=1


2 thoughts on “Social, locative media for hotel social media campaign

  1. While locative media is a broad and diverse field of practice, the most compelling projects share the goal of calling into question the very existence of the technology and social frameworks that underpin location-based technological systems. They do so by opening up normally closed, proprietary locative systems (Ronnenberg and Song), by critiquing visualizations of location-based data (Oliver and House), by reflecting on how archives such as Google Maps and Street View condition our understanding of the world (the makers of iSkyTV and Rickard), by intervening in the act of location-aware photography (Pohflepp and Selby), and by pointing to the changes that digital technologies effect on the physical world (Dilworth).
    As a whole, these projects call into the following question; What are the effects of these technologies and who they are trying to serve?
    In terms of the potential pitfalls of the state control of GPS, maps are power and those who draw them provide access to the world. As the technology we are using today, GPS, is controlled by governmental / military institutions we as users do not have an insight if the system will be shut down one day.
    As people push for more transparency and openness in technology, why shall we not think about open infrastructures as well?


  2. Good job,Hanyang.Obviously you are trying to apply your understanding about locating application to analyze your social media campaign.Personally,I think you really thought about using mobile device to help your enhance the communication between hoteliers and consumers.You successfully managed to use multi-platforms strategy,communicate with hoteliers in different levels and even tried to bring them together.Nevertheless,Hinton and Hjorth once mentioned in the book that LBS is both an information and entertainment service,I can clearly see you making efforts in terms of providing massive information for your target audiences,but since your target audiences are college students,have you ever thought about improving the entertainment part of the social media campaign and combining it with the use of mobile devices?And you mentioned that social media campaign would be more useful if the users are willing to share their experience through social,locative hotel applications,but what if majority of the group weren’t interested in sharing information with others or you can’t get enough users to check those comments or ‘interaction’ as you said,then would it be considered as a failing campaign in terms of the locative media part of your design?


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