Lebanon’s area is ranked 170th on earth (CIA, 2014). It is smaller than the size of Connecticut, one of the smallest states in America. Moreover, Lebanon is one of the few democratic countries in the Middle East region. Regarding its economic climate, Lebanon is a free market economic climate and has a very long tradition of laissez-faire economics. In addition to its seaside location on the Eastern Mediterranean coast, Lebanon is considered as the central ‘window’ of the Middle East to European countries, North Africa, and the rest of the entire world. Because of this, its economy has gone by means of some very prosperous times and had been even once called the ‘Paris’ of the Middle East before the nation’s fifteen year-long bloody civil war which ended in 1990.
Also, although Lebanon is tiny, it is also one of the most diverse nations in the world. Christians, Muslims, Druze, and other minority sects are usually spread all over the small nation and also Lebanon’s political system is based on sectarian power sharing.
However , this variety had played a pivotal function in the nation’s problems. This variety was a necessary condition of the state’s sectarian civil war and presently plays an important role in its politics paralysis, although other factors (mainly foreign) are to blame as well. There is presently no acting President and the nation’s rival political parties keep arguing and preventing rather than facilitating the country’s development.
Furthermore, Lebanon’s closeness to Israel has made it the foreign policy/proxy battleground for foreign nations, each using Lebanon for the own selfish ends.
The unfortunate political realities of the country have got significantly hurt the country’s economic climate. Also, since Lebanon is a service-based economy, this particular sector has taken the largest hit.
Tourism plays a significant role in the nation’s economy. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Business (MOET), “Tourism has long been one of Lebanon’s leading economic sectors” (Economic Analysis Unit, 2010).
Furthermore, The World Traveling & Tourism Council estimated that the travel & tourism sector within Lebanon contributed over $4 billion dollars in 2013 (World Traveling & Tourism Council, 2014).
The particular travel & tourism sector composed about 10% of the economy in 2012 but that share dropped to 9% in 2013 (ibid, g. 14). This is due to the political situation in the united states as well as some other factors. Moreover, the amount of tourist arrivals in the country kept lowering from 2011 to 2013.
Because the tourism industry has been somewhat floundering in the past few years, the room for error becomes very small for businesses in this particular industry. The political & financial situations are squeezing tourist-related (TR) businesses in Lebanon. This means that these businesses are forced to do more to make up for increasing losses (or decreasing profits) and with fewer resources. There is no informing when the political & economic situation within Lebanon will improve especially since the municipal war in neighboring Syria displays no signs of abating.
There are many methods Lebanese TR businesses can adjust during these times such as implementing downsizing policies and cutting back on marketing & advertising budgets. When economic recessions and tough times affect businesses, the first things to get eliminated are usually marketing and advertising budgets. But especially since TR businesses need to do more marketing to make up for lost businesses, this may not be a good idea.
One solution to this problem is to take advantage of Social internet marketing strategies since they cost little in order to no resources, perfect for the current economic situation in Lebanon.
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Social media marketing allows TR businesses to overcome obstacles associated with limited budgets and decreased business.
During the past few years, good effect of social media on business has been extremely high (Kaplan et al., 2010; Stelzner, 2010; Treem and Leonardi, 2012, p. 143; Baker & Green, 2014).
Moreover, Fb and Twitter fans of a specific brand are much more likely to recommend and buy from these brands than non-fans (Cruz & Mendelsohn, 2011). But , we all don’t need to make sure of social media’s impact on business through research studies. With regard to social media users, which include over 30% of the world, this fact is identified. More and more businesses are inserting Social Media marketing tools into their marketing strategies and, in some instances, have even become an integral part of their own overall business strategy.
Naturally, one would expect that Lebanese businesses would certainly quickly adopt Social Media Marketing as an essential role in their overall marketing techniques but this is not the case. When it comes to the Middle East and especially Lebanon, the region can be far behind the West in social media usage. Not only that, when it comes to companies involved in the tourism industry, there is a lot room for growth. Little investment in technology is keeping visitor businesses away from maximizing marketing opportunities given by social media.
The Lebanese travel and leisure industry is not taking advantage of social media marketing strategies even though the advantages of doing so are apparent. This presents a great problem especially since the economy is going through a quite rough time.
Moreover, Lebanese TR businesses and businesses in Lebanon in general are not adopting social media equipment as they should. This presents a huge problem in the waste of resources as well as significant missed opportunities being a larger target audience can be reached through social media enabling businesses that embrace social media marketing tools gain a better possibility of success and prosperity.
Purpose of the research
The fruits and advantages of social media marketing equipment may take significant time to come about in Lebanon if we are ignorant from the factors that have led to the prevention of common social media marketing adoption.
Also, as long as no study goes into the issue of effectively implementing a social media marketing campaign in the Lebanese context, many TR businesses might be lost even if they decide to adopt social media marketing tools.
Additionally , even though there has been numerous studies in the West about successfully implementing social media marketing campaigns, the results of the studies may or may not apply at the Lebanese context. Therefore , it is also the purpose of this study to find out those people factors related to effectively implementing social internet marketing among Lebanese TR businesses.
At the end, there is no doubt that social media marketing plays an extremely important role in the marketing advertisments and even in the overall success of tourism-related businesses.
Lebanese Tourist-Related (TR) companies fall far behind the developed world investing and using SMM. Since there are many benefits of SMM, exactly why is this so? Also, to cope up to the rest of the world, what is the most effective way for Lebanese TR businesses to deploy an SMM campaign? So , it was the study’s purpose to get reasons linked to such low investment & use of SMM by Lebanese TR businesses and to help guide these firms in effectively using SMM.
The purpose of this study is twofold. This study aims to find out precisely what those factors are that are stopping the widespread adoption of social media marketing tools among Lebanese TR businesses. The philosophy used is interpretivism, for an inductive approach to go through specific to general research, the strategy is ethnographic, and the strategy is qualitative. In-depth interviews are used with ten participants from 10 different companies. Five companies got high social media ‘visibility’ and the some other five didn’t. So , the participants’ answers provided very useful information plus solutions for the research problem.
The results found that among the most appropriate factors of little SMM investment & use by Lebanese TR businesses are that many don’t see benefits to using SMM and so don’t support it.
The results also offered useful information on factors for efficiently implementing SMM by Lebanese TR businesses including the acceptance of SMM by ownership/decision-makers and the importance of these individuals in seeing the benefits of SMM. Furthermore, problems with implementing SMM include negative customer feedback and inter-departmental power struggles.