The honeycomb framework of social media – beneficial for DMOs?

A study done by Haysa, Page and Buhalisb (2012) reveals that the use of social media among Destination Marketing Organizations is still very experimental. The study concluded that the social media strategies of most DMOs are not executed in an effective and successful manner, even though there are a few exceptions such as VisitBritain and Tourism Queensland. It also states that if DMOs use a more innovative and creative approach towards social media they could benefit greatly.

The article ‘The 5 principles of engagement marketing’ by Marketo mentions that potential clients such as event planners or meeting planners can be engaged in many different ways. One of these is by adapting the message that appears when they visit the company’s website based on their behaviour on Facebook. Another example is to send clients information which is based on their behaviour on social media. This way the information will include topics that the clients researched before. These kind of methods are part of using social media as a tool and will make the clients feel as if they are treated as an individual. To make sure a company uses the right type of social media tools, the honeycomb framework can be used.

Peelen and Beltman determined that the honeycomb of social media, which consists out of 7 blocks, allows companies to develop a social media strategy which is specific for their company. The blocks can be used individually or together to help managers understand more about available social media choices. The honeycomb framework can be used for clients such as event and meeting planners but also for individual interested customers. The seven different blocks are identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation and group. Even though all the blocks are important, sharing, presence, and reputation are in general the most relevant blocks for DMOs.

The sharing block focusses on how social media users exchange, receive and distribute content. Videos, photos, locations, product reviews and blog posts are some of the most popular items to share. It is for all companies important to know what interests potential clients and customers have in common. For DMOs it is also useful to know which groups of people are interested in for example a specific city or area.

Another important block, the presence block, covers the degree to which users can know if others are accessible. This is done by using  GPS chips and mobile devices. Lots of people let others know where they are and if they are available to talk or meet. For DMOs and even more for the event and meeting planners it is important to know where potential customers are and when they are at this location.

Finally, the reputation block describes how things such as brands, products and people are viewed by others. For many users these opinions matter in their decision making and therefore DMOs should also take this into account.

In conclusion, the honeycomb of social media is beneficial for DMOs because it will help them to use their social media tools as efficient as possible. The blocks of the honeycomb can be used in different combinations, depending on the type of company and the goals. When using the honeycomb of social media every DMO is able to create personalized and effective social media tools.


Hays, S., Page, S. J., and Buhalisb, D. (2012). Social media as a destination marketing tool: its use by national tourism organisations. Retrieved from:

Peelen, E. and Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson Education Limited. Harlow, United Kingdom.

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