@UNLVGaming (David G. Schwartz)
The social media guide gives 50 different definitions for social media. Schwartz's defines it as a category of media that includes user created content, often using free online sites. People having conversations online.
Schwartz does casino related research. So what do casinos think of social media? Do they like or dislike it? They instinctively dislike it...because often the content surrounding their organizations is negative...very negative...and out of their control. Intoxicated consumers who lose money gambling suddenly have a VERY LOUD voice. It's a big challenge that casinos have to understand and address even though it's very challenging.
What do people want when they post content online? An apology...or some sort of compensation.
Casinos don't innovate. They take things that work in other markets and replicate them on a much bigger scale. This is very insightful when dealing with casino clients. The first casino to open a Twitter account was Luxor in 2008. Two years later, the Bellagio jumped in as the last strip casino to jump into the process.
Travel sites scare casinos. Many of the people talking are complaining, some are accurate some are not. Travel sites provide a platform to share content and network with others.
When Schwartz evaluated the content from these sites he found some interesting surprises in the online rankings. His hypothesis was that if you have more negative ratings than positive ratings something must be going on. The thing he found was that the higher the expectation a consumer had (more expensive room) the less tolerant the consumer seemed for any small deviance from expectation. Some of the "higher" rated hotels had some interestingly low ratings. What consumers really need to do is compare the room rate to how positive the reviews. With some research a person could find "good quality" (according to the travel site) with a "good price".
What's the application of this for non-casino business? Comparison between organizations, products, or services using online content can provide some very good insight. It provides baselines on quantity and value. As a researcher you can identify weaknesses in the products, propose the research to address it, get validation against the baseline that things have improved and move forward from there.
All in, this seems like a good application of social media content. It's possible to take this a step further...beyond Yelp...to other travel and review sites. The key here to me really is focused on baseline, establishing a current line and seeing how it deviates over time. Very applicable for other industries.