Australians turn to social media for dining and entertainment advice

Australians increasingly rely on social media for restaurant and accommodation advice.
Australians increasingly rely on social media for restaurant and accommodation advice.

Hospitality businesses take note - when it comes to gathering information and advice about what to eat and where to go, Australians increasingly look online rather than engage in personal conversations with friends.

According to recent research, around 95 per cent of Australian social media users access their networking sites to ask for help and seek tips, with the majority interested in learning more about entertainment venues and services.
Reporters say a study commissioned by mobile service provider amaysim found 41 per cent of individuals most commonly ask for restaurant recommendations, while 32 per cent want assistance related to potential holiday spots.
"Aussies have always enjoyed a chin wag over the back fence," amaysim social media manager Ged Mansour said.
"Social media has kicked over that fence and invited the neighbours in, along with the neighbour's friends and their friends' friends.
"Just like Warnie and the Kardashians, Aussies are making online connections more personal by engaging in conversation and getting more personal online than ever before."
What does this 'more personal' connection mean for the hospitality industry?
While there can be no guarantees, it seems likely a strong online presence can help businesses such as bars, restaurants, hotels and travel operators - as well as the wholesalers and manufacturers that supply them - to prosper in a competitive marketplace. 
However, it also appears quality content, as opposed to a mass volume of meaningless information, holds the key to successful marketing of a business' services. 
According to a study performed by research firm Experian Hitwise and reported by Smartoffice, Australians made more than 6 billion visits to Facebook at an average of 1.6 visits each day in 2011.
But only 18 per cent of users said they trusted the advertisements appearing on the social media site among their top three information channels, with website Wikipedia ranking higher.
On the positive side for hospitality operators, 58 per cent of Australian brands with some form of social media presence were noticed by Facebook users last year - perhaps indicating that while spreading the word about a business is very achievable, delivering a trusted message remains the challenge.