Hotel Facebook App and Facebook Timeline5 min read
The need for a hotel Facebook app: hotel fans don’t equal Facebook “likes”
Back in the fall of 2009, “getting fans” on Facebook was all the rage. Hotel marketing managers looked at Facebook as a tool to engage consumers and creating brand ambassadors, and their preferred metric was the number of fans or “likes”. Soon after, they realized that getting fans is actually pretty easy, as long as you have dollars to spend. Just advertise appropriately and your fan base will grow.
However, getting users that like your Facebook page is different from getting true fans. True fans are brand ambassadors that will spread good will around your brand. At the end of the day, it’s not about the number of fans, it’s about whether these fans really “like” your brand. What matters is the quality of those fans, how engaged they are, and whether they want to become ambassadors for you. Hotel Facebook apps are the solution to achieve this.
What happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook
One of the big advantages of digital marketing is that it is measurable. We regularly run statistics on the Facebook pages of our hotels. For the last three years we have seen a similar patten: what happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook. What this means is that there is very little spillover traffic from Facebook business pages back to the official hotel website.
The picture above shows website traffic of one of our customers for the last two years, and compares traffic coming from Facebook to mobile traffic.Mobile traffic has been growing significantly since February 2011, and represents already close to 20% (!) in March 2012. On the other hand, Facebook represents only 0.67% of total page views, i.e. close to zero, and more importantly shows no growth. Yet, fan numbers are going through the roof, with even boutique hotels being able to gather tens of thousands of fans.
The question becomes how can hoteliers leverage Facebook as a viable acquisition channel? Millions of hotel recommendations are made on Facebook every day. Facebook launched Insights (Facebook’s version of Analytics) as a way to try to look into fan behavior – how many people were actually reached in a week/month, how many people are talking about your brand, how do they react to your posts, new pictures, etc. Facebook insights will help hotels decide if they should work a social strategy inside Facebook with a hotel Facebook app that provides a business page and booking widget.
Tip #1: Use Facebook Insights to understand the current value of your Facebook page and improve on specific metrics.
Social exclusives work
It is important to provide social incentives to website visitors so they choose your property over the competition. Creating special offers on your facebook page and offering sweepstakes will create a loyal following. Also, it can help you sell distress inventory in a way that it doesn’t cannibalize your regular sales and you can optimize your search engine ranking by offering fresh content on the website.
Tip #2: Use promotions and sweepstakes to stimulate visitors to come back and engage.
Facebook requires content and booking capability to become an acquisition channel
It is clear from the volume of traffic that Facebook is generating, that Facebook is going to be a decisive channel in hotel recommendation and bookings in the next few years. But to have Facebook as a viable customer acquisition channel, hotels must provide the capability for users to to check out rooms, location and photos directly on the hotel’s Facebook page – hence, the need for a Hotel Facebook App.
Your hotel’s Facebook app should provide the ability for travelers to check out rooms, location and photos, check rates and availabilities for the travel dates, and book. Moreover, many travelers nowadays have flexible dates and are actively bargain hunting and willing to trade off some convenience for a better price or package. Make sure your hotel’s Facebook app includes a calendar overview displays a longer-term view of the rates and availabilities so travelers can choose the perfect vacation or business trip according to their needs and possibilities.
Tip #3: Get a hotel Facebook app that publishes hotel content like rooms and your booking engine.
Optimize for Facebook timeline for hotels
One of the big changes with Facebook timeline has been the ability for businesses to create pages within Facebook that provide web-like experiences. Now, instead of having to customize all content to Facebook, creating double work for digital marketers, the content that was created for web use can be transformed by a hotel Facebook app to work well within Facebook.
With the dawn of digital marketing solutions that manage both web and Facebook content, hotels can create and maintain their Facebook pages automagically – i.e. as they manage their website, relevant content gets pushed to their hotel’s Facebook app. Images are automatically resized so that they fit well into Facebook’s constraints, and new offers that are created (e.g. promotions) get posted on the Facebook timeline automatically. A unified digital marketing solution saves time and keeps your marketing message consistent across different channels by pushing new content to all channels at the same time.
Tip #4: Get a unified hotel digital marketing solution.
In summary, Facebook will become a major customer acquisition channel in the next few years. Hoteliers can use Facebook Insights to understand the current value of your Facebook page and improve on specific metrics. You should leverage e promotions and sweepstakes to stimulate visitors to come back and engage. And finally, hoteliers should get a Get unified hotel digital marketing solution that includes a hotel Facebook app.