According to research from Barclays, more than 10% of leisure and hospitality companies are now generating as much as 50% of their sales through social media. However, much of the sector is still behind.

Over half of the industry, which includes hotels, pubs and travel firms, claim to recognise significant potential in the use of social media applications to attract clients. Many, however, are failing to act on this.

In a statement, Mike Saul, the head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, said:

“The industry is missing a trick. Social media has blurred the line between personal and corporate communities – something that has been encouraged by consumers who now expect to be able to interact in an immediate and very personal way with their favourite – and not so favoured – brands.”

Saul also explained that the use of social media creates a strong forum for feedback and believes companies can be resourceful in their use of positive and negative reviews. When a customer vents their frustration over a long wait for dinner, media savvy businesses can provide a helpful response, thereby making a good situation out of a potentially damaging one.

The rise of social media has been significant and is partly fuelled by the increased use of smart phones and tablet computers. It is estimated that more than 50% of British consumers are accessing social media platforms via a smartphone but many leisure and hospitality businesses are yet to access the sites.