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Big Data, Social Media and Employer Branding: An exploratory study from the hospitality industry




Abstract:  Purpose: “Data Production” and its analysis are becoming increasingly important for the hospitality industry due to wide mobile technology and social media use. “Big Data” has become an important concept for businesses and requires significant management competences in its usage. Within this scope the purpose of this exploratory study is to exemplify best practices from the concept of Big Data and its relation with social media in understanding how employer branding issues are perceived by hospitality operations.

Design/methodology: Both quantitative and qualitative methods have been used in the study. The study consisted of two parts and data were obtained from lodging operations in Ankara, Turkey.  The first stage consisted of analyzing content of social media sharings from ten 5-star hotels in Ankara, Turkey.  For the second stage, a survey was conducted among 149 employees from the same lodging operations to determine employee’s employer branding perception levels.

Findings: The first part of the study indicated that both international chains and local hotels mostly shared promotional message for employer brand enhancement. Sharings related to motivational messages, social responsibility activities, and events for customers and employees are mostly done by internationals chain hotels. Findings from the second part of the study revealed that international chain hotel employees’ perception of the employer brand is at a higher rate. The study showed that social media usage level of the operations and employees’ perceptions of employer brand concept are consistent. 

Originality: This is an innovative research project. The study integrates the concept of Big Data and social media relations with employer branding issues in hospitality operations. With its quantitative and qualitative nature, the current study shed light to further studies. The sample size and the fact that the study was carried out in 5-star hotels in Ankara are the main limitations of this study.