Despite widespread acknowledgment of the important of sites like TripAdvisor and review sections of leading online travel booking sites, a new report highlights the lack of understanding about the full benefits social media can offer the hotel industry.

While the industry as a whole has embraced the internet and digital technology to fantastic success, the use of Facebook, Twitter, et al is disappointingly low. The survey conducted by TravelClick found that a full quarter were still ignoring social media for purposes like increasing “occupancy and revenue per available room.”

But that is probably because they have not yet connected with the social media world.

While 65% of those asked are active on Facebook. Only 20% are using Twitter, 10% Groupon and just 8% have embraced Foursquare the geo-location hub that seems designed for an industry keen to make people aware of who is using them and where they are.

While the report found an increase in online ad spend and marketing, the cheapest option – other than time – of social media is largely being ignored. That’s despite the latest L2 Digital IQ Index for travel revealing social media as a significant source of traffic for 78% of travel websites.

Ironically, the same hoteliers not yet embracing the technology for themselves are acknowledging the importance to their own clientele. When asked what amenity their hotels are adding to improve their offerings, two-thirds of hoteliers cited “free WiFi” as the number one choice.

Are you in the hotel industry? How are you using social media to stay ahead of the competition?