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A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook, March 2011
A Hotel’s Guide to Facebook
Just a few years ago, Facebook used to be a closed network for college kids. Its value for business was unclear. But a lot has changed since then, as the network opened up to become what is now arguably the most important social networking service on the planet for audiences of all ages, and a good communications opportunity for brands. In this guide, we will look at how your hotel can beneﬁt from Facebook as a way to create community, cultivate loyalty, and ultimately, increase revenue.
A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook, March 2011
Table of contents Facebook today What does (and doesn't) work on Facebook Five different approaches to Facebook New developments Designing an engaging brand page Moving beyond setup: integrating Facebook with your website Promotions on Facebook Case studies outside the hotel industry Action steps: Planning your Facebook strategy Bonus: Reputation and Facebook What's next? 3 5 6 11 14 17 18 19 24 25 26 A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. March 2011 2 .
million active users. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.Facebook today As I write this. photo albums.both anecdotally and through research . etc. in March 2011. Facebook • More than 30 billion pieces of content has exploded in popularity past 600 (web links.) are shared of slowing down.that Facebook can be more powerful than Twitter and other social networks for generating sales. As brands.7 million photos are through their mobile devices uploaded • People that use Facebook on their • More than 10 million comments are mobile devices are twice as active on posted Facebook than non-mobile users The Facebook press page shares more But perhaps more important than these statistics as of March 2011: impressive numbers is the fact that Facebook is becoming more than just a • 50% of active users log on to Facebook social network: it is becoming a platform • in any given day for social communication (something we will discuss in more detail later). March 2011 3 . When it comes to return on investment. each month • More than 70 translations are available on the site Every 20 minutes: • About 70% of Facebook users are • More than 1 million links are shared outside the United States • More than 1. we have access to a depth of demographic information. • The Average user has 130 friends • Average user is connected to 80 From a marketing standpoint. we have evidence . providing opportunities such as ad campaigns targeted to employees at selected companies. and shows no signs notes. or speciﬁc university graduating classes. news stories. groups and events people share more personal details about • Average user creates 90 pieces of their identity on Facebook than anywhere content each month else offers unique advantages. blog posts. the fact that community pages.8 million status updates are • There are more than 200 million active made users currently accessing Facebook • More than 2.
Because of this. This concept is called “Transitive Trust. “ Facebook is all about reaching people through people. all their friends see it. people like to engage with that.” A number of studies have been done to quantify the value of Facebook activity.000 sale to Facebook – but it was not from a special offer. According to them. like a photo of a fresh snowfall.com attributes a $70. introducing that brand to their network. a tweet was worth $5 in sales. “In my opinion.allowing you have more of a dialog with more people in one place. But if itʼs just relevant information for our business. ChompOn tried to determine the value of a tweet compared to a piece of content shared on Facebook. we received a $70. Reaching your fansʼ friends. Recently. The caveat? Selling directly to your Facebook fans rarely works. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Clearly. I donʼt get a lot of action.” Your job is to create material fans will pass along. Reaching your fansʼ friends. the value of a referral will depend on what you are selling.000 booking from someone who had never heard of us before. Facebook is all about engagement . If I post a sales message.Facebook today (continued) Dan Sherman of Ski. but research like this suggests Facebook drives more transactions. Facebook is all about reaching people through people. while Facebook shared content was worth $14. March 2011 4 . It was simply a photo of a beautiful fresh snowfall.” “The great thing is that when people comment on anything on Facebook.
39% do so to show their friends they support a brand . creating communication that ﬁts the mindset of people using it. and rewarded ﬁnancially? A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Why do people become a fan of companies on Facebook? A recent report released by ExactTarget and CoTweet found the two primary reasons why consumers ʻlikeʼ brands on Facebook: for discounts and as a ʻsocial badge. As someone who uses Facebook extensively for both business and personal reasons. Photos are the clear winner. They found that it is content which conveys a unique sense of brand and place and makes a personal connection with followers. March 2011 5 . Facebook users like the quick-hit satisfaction of a witty post or a beautiful or clever picture. Successful businesses on Facebook understand and respect this reality. and rewarded ﬁnancially? “ How can you use Facebook to make your fans happier. and chat with their friends. it seems to be a fair assessment. better informed.ʼ Nearly 40% of Facebook users become fans to receive special discounts and promotions. How can you use Facebook to make your fans happier. A quick snapshot of the ﬁrst snow of the season and a giant pumpkin are examples of connective content that required little effort.What does (and doesn't) work on Facebook "I think people are just on Facebook to relax. Seventh Art Media conducted some more interesting research into what works best on Facebook. Some of the highest performing photo content was not necessarily professional level quality but connected on a personal level. better informed. have fun.” Some variation of that sentiment has been shared with me over and over again from hotel executives.it is an identity statement for them. All of this comes back to adding value.
! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. This is undoubtedly an extreme approach. think about what exclusive content you can deliver through this site. March 2011 6 .000 fans: signiﬁcant for a single property of their size.Five different approaches to Facebook Approach 1: Facebook as an exclusive source Hotel Seven in Paris uses Facebook as the exclusive source of both hotel news and the lowest available room rate. they have attracted an audience of over 12. By focusing attention here. If you want to make building your follower numbers on Facebook a priority. but the results are hard to argue with.
British Columbia. March 2011 7 . Positioning your property as a local hotspot can be an effective strategy for your Facebook page. but also to engage with the local residents of Pender Island. While local residents may not be interested in staying at your hotel. ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. they could be a valuable source of revenue for your restaurant or spa.Five different approaches to Facebook (continued) Approach 2: Facebook as a local community hub Poetʼs Cove Resort & Spa uses Facebook not only to connect with guests.
This is helpful because by becoming a resource for visitors to the city.Five different approaches to Facebook (continued) Approach 3: Facebook as a local guide Distrikt Hotel in New York City uses Facebook to update their community on what is happening in the city. Distrikt Hotel increases the likelihood of people passing the page along to others. March 2011 8 . ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.
! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. delivering an exclusive offer is a powerful way to focus attention. This does not have to be just discounts or coupons.Five different approaches to Facebook (continued) Approach 4: Facebook as a sales tool The Beacon in South Beach focuses on making sales by creating and promoting a special offer on their welcome tab: 2 free mojitos and a 15% off discount. with powerful integrated booking engines now available. We will look at this topic in more detail later in the guide. March 2011 9 . As you saw from Hotel Seven. Ecommerce is likely to become an increasingly important part of Facebook activity. Put together a value-added Facebook package that is compelling and only available through Facebook. but it gives you another way to measure results. Not only does this draw trafﬁc to the page.
March 2011 10 . (This will become easier in the future because of some new changes to the page structure.Five different approaches to Facebook (continued) Approach 5: Facebook as a website One & Only Palmilla uses advanced design to create an experience like browsing their website.) Experiment with some of the new Facebook functionality to show beautiful photography and video to your visitors that attracts them emotionally. which we will discuss later. ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.
you can switch between personal and business proﬁles as you surf Facebook and interact with communities. but it is so signiﬁcant that we need to consider it separately. Among other things. and can easily embed pages from your website into your Facebook page: Read more: http://sixrevisions. March 2011 11 . Previously. Facebook released a complete overhaul of the pages system. Here are three of the most important updates I see for businesses. rendering many prior marketing tactics obsolete or ineffective. 2011. With the new format.New developments Facebook has quickly evolved. #1 .New Page Layout On February 20th. you now have the ability to receive more advanced reporting on your communityʼs activity. This gives you the option to post in your own voice or that of your brand. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.com/webapplications/new-facebook-page/ #2 . There were many updates – you can read the ofﬁcial announcement here – but the basic concept was to make business pages look more like personal proﬁles. personal accounts and business proﬁles were linked. which made engaging in conversation an awkward mess.Separate Business Proﬁles This was included in the February 2011 update.
and turns them into an advertisement.Sponsored Stories Sponsored stories is a new ad format that takes your friendsʼ actions .com/2011/01/25/facebook-sponsored-stories/ A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.like checking in to a place . March 2011 12 .New developments (continued) #3 . The story ﬁrst posted to Mashable provides a good example: ! Read more: http://mashable.
From the time they began working on Facebook. and has introduced a “Shop” tab on the pages for all properties of their Westin brand.New developments (continued) #4 – Booking Engine Integration Recent changes to the Facebook page structure are likely to make ecommerce integration with embedded booking engines increasingly common. VP of global Web for Starwood. On this tab.. You can expect to see Facebook play an increasingly important role in how hotels generate room revenue as this trend continues..” Starwood sees opportunity to drive revenue through the site.What we are seeing now is an emergence of technology that that we didnʼt see six months ago. visitors can book a room directly without leaving to the Westin website. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has provided booking functionality for all of its brands. March 2011 13 . In a recent article article published by Hotel News Now. said. “Conversion on Facebook is smaller but close to conversion on our brand websites. (Starwoodʼs Facebook fans) start to see other peopleʼs experiences at the properties. David Godsman. There is an opportunity for ourselves and other hotel brands to enable these type of transactions within Facebook.. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.
An inviting welcome tab A custom welcome tab can serve several purposes: • Welcome people to the page • Explain your purpose for the page • Describe the beneﬁts of your hotel • Invite visitors to Like the page Your welcome tab is basically a landing page. I recommend the following tutorials if you are still in the process of setting things up: • Wildﬁre • AllFacebook • SixRevisions What are the elements of an engaging Facebook brand page? Whether you are setting up a page for the ﬁrst time. March 2011 14 .Designing an engaging brand page Setting up a page is fairly straightforward. or looking to optimize an existing page. Since most of you already have pages set up. Use the same best practices you would use for a landing page on your website: images that draw people into beneﬁts-oriented copy. ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Example: The Westin The Westin Dragonara Resort in Malta uses an attractive welcome tab that engages their community through feedback and competitions. there are a few items of special importance to consider. with a strong call to action. You start here and just follow the directions. rather than repeating the entire process here.
Share video interviews with key personnel at your property. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.Designing an engaging brand page (continued) Exclusive content Why should someone join your page? Smart marketers know the best way to drive action is to make perceived value exceed perceived risk. Facebook is a platform that favors rich media. March 2011 15 . so make posting this type of content a priority. Share upcoming news and announcements with your Facebook community ﬁrst. Facebook allows you to create hidden content that is only visible when someone becomes a fan of your page. What incentives could you offer to encourage people to become a fan of your hotelʼs Facebook fan page? • City guides? • Insider access? • A discount coupon? • A value-added incentive that does not cut proﬁt margins? A focus on photos and video Referring back to the Seventh Art research study mentioned earlier. The same principle works on Facebook. Share the process you go through to create your experience. For marketing research and developing new ideas. The feeling of being an insider If someone is engaged with your hotel or brand enough to become a fan on Facebook. then provide them with a little more insider access. That is why email subscription rates increase when an incentive like a free guide is given away in exchange for a personʼs email address – and permission to send the content they requested. photos and video generate the most engagement from Facebook fans. This form of crowdsourcing also gives your fans the feeling of being an insider. Facebook can be used to source new concepts and reﬁne existing ones.
March 2011 16 . A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.Designing an engaging brand page (continued) Example: Marriott Napa Valley Hotel & Spa is a good example of an engaging brand page.
Like Buttons Perhaps one of the simplest integrations. March 2011 17 .com/docs/ reference/plugins/like-box Social Plugins It is powerful because you can take advantage of the huge social network that exists on Facebook.Integrating Facebook with your website What should you do once you have your Facebook page set up? Integrate it with your website. It is recommended you add this to your homepage and select pages on your website that contain the best content. (But check privacy laws to make sure the button is in compliance in your country.com/docs/ reference/plugins/like/ Like Box The Facebook Like Box can be placed on any webpage.) Details: http://developers. and use it to enhance the web experience you provide.facebook. This is where we see some of the most creative innovation and remarkable results from companies using Facebook. allowing your visitors to become fans of your Facebook page without leaving the website. Sites such as TripAdvisor are using this to personalize the website with tailor made content. like Mosaic House in Prague.facebook. placing a Facebook Like Button on your website allows people to share that with their friends.com/docs/ plugins/ ! ! ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Details: http://developers. Details: http://developers. This approach has worked very well for some hotels.facebook.
This is something you need to test and see if it works for you. While it is unclear how Facebook Places will fare among their geolocation competitors. Contests Contests can be run through your page with no charge from Facebook. and many other criteria. businesses will have the opportunity to offer coupons or discounts to them. advertisements. Additionally. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.Promotions on Facebook There are three primary categories of promotions that can be conducted on Facebook: contests. Deals Facebook is creating pages for each business address in order to give the business an opportunity to offer deals. If payper-click advertising in search engines is for “what. When a customer checks into a place on Facebook Places via their mobile phone. so the clickthrough rate can be low. March 2011 18 . employer.” on Facebook you are advertising for “who. it is debated whether people are looking to make hotel reservations while browsing Facebook. hobbies and interests. you will end up with people who enter just for the chance to win. conﬁgure it in a way that attracts the right type of fan for your page – people who will stay engaged long after the contest is over.” The downside is that many people on Facebook ignore advertisements. You can ﬁlter the distribution by age. and deals. It could be that the call to action on the advertisement should be simply to attract people to Like your page. If the wrong incentives are used. When planning a contest. and help you navigate Facebookʼs tight policy on contests. Advertisements The power of Facebook advertising is the ability to reach highly targeted segments of people based on demographic criteria. this remains an area to watch and experiment with. and then leave the page after the contest is done. Tools like the ones from Involver and Wildﬁre make the process easy. gender. location.
Case studies: Outside the hotel industry We have looked at a number of case studies of hotels using Facebook creatively. March 2011 19 . What if you created a similar “Hotel Selector” tool? ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. and then used that to recommend a vehicle it believed was best suited to you. Volkswagen Volkswagen created individual pages for each of their vehicles. One particularly innovative feature they offered was an application that analyzed your proﬁle. To broaden your perspective. I wanted to share a few examples of companies outside the hospitality industry that are doing interesting things on Facebook. taking all the demographic information you posted. and then wrapped these up into one corporate page.
! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Inviting discussion around topics like this is a good way to engage people with similar interests.Case studies: Outside the hotel industry (continued) The Travel Channel A while back The Travel Channel did something that could work well for hotels: they encouraged fans to share stories of the role Facebook plays in their travel experiences. March 2011 20 .
By encouraging fans to upload photos of themselves with Coca-Cola cans. March 2011 21 .Case studies: Outside the hotel industry (continued) Coca-Cola Coca-Cola has developed a reputation for running creative photo contests. since photos are viewed more often than anything else on Facebook. What photo contests could you run? Running a contest like this for your hotel can be a powerful way to make the campaign viral. This works well. hundreds of thousands of potential new fans will be exposed to the brand as the uploads appear in the news feeds. ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.
make sure you understand what your audience expects (and wants) you to provide. March 2011 22 . and does a great job of delivering rich media content that attracts new fans. Look at their creative use of design on the welcome page. As a hotel. ! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. Use videos to share interesting content that people will pass along and introduce your brand to others.Case studies: Outside the hotel industry (continued) Red Bull Red Bull has a solid understanding of their audience.
! A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. immersive experience for their fans. Make use of the new changes to Facebook pages described earlier in the guide to deliver more information to your visitors in a compelling way. but can be a good opportunity to share stories and other engaging content. March 2011 23 .Case studies: Outside the hotel industry (continued) Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson uses an interactive welcome page that provides a rich. Your Facebook page does not have to become a duplicate of your main website.
A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. and contests. • What key performance indicators (KPIs) will you be tracking? Number of fans is a starting point. • Customize your welcome tab with a graphic that encourages people to interact with the rest of your page. community engagement. photos. but also monitor how many people engage with the content you post – clicking the Like button or leaving a comment. March 2011 24 . 4.Action steps: Planning your Facebook strategy As we close this guide. but not too frequently. • What will be posted? Put together an editorial calendar for the types of content you want to share through Facebook: news. 3. or something else? • What will success look like for you? Will you know once you have reached it? To recognize success. then ﬁll out your business proﬁle. and special offers that will drive attention to the page. Integrate with your web presence elsewhere • Use some form of Facebook website integration as described earlier to expand the awareness and helpfulness of your Facebook community. • What alerts system will you have in place? Be sure to have a listening tool setup to be aware of what people are saying about your hotels on Facebook. is helpful. you must have metrics established from the beginning. • Decide on some exclusive content such as news. offers. some measure that leads back to sales. Additionally. Once or twice a week is often a good starting point. Setup your page • Register an account. videos. Decide on your purpose for Facebook: • Is it website trafﬁc. and can be trusted with posting content and interacting with your fans and customers. 2. what are the action steps to take? 1. inside information. Establish a community management system • Who will be involved in managing the page? Make sure this person is someone who understands the brand you are trying to build. • How often will you post? How often will you check for comments? It is important to publish consistently. brand building. such as Facebook website referrals.
make sure to frequently post interesting content. At the beginning: Duplicate (or unauthorized) content Too many hotels and brands I see have three. To encourage maximum engagement. Make sure to monitor ofﬁcial and unofﬁcial pages that have been created. or more different pages for the same property. you may want to prevent fans from posting content. seasonal workers.Bonus: Reputation and Facebook Since we spend the majority of our time at ReviewPro helping hotels establish powerful online reputations. Encourage them to submit photos and videos of their travels.” It can also happen when fans create new pages for your brand. and their “set it and forget it” approach resulted in the page being hijacked by spammers and their brand damaged with inappropriate content. Several brands have set up insufﬁcient page permissions. Ask questions to your audience. This often happens when different interns. Just be sure to check in often to ensure no damaging material is posted. ﬁve. Community management is an ongoing process. March 2011 25 . Make sure this does not happen to you. This primarily affects two areas: Start by deciding on your Facebook policy and management routine. it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of reputation management on Facebook. or agencies are tasked with “doing Facebook. As your presence matures: Page moderation Unless you will be continually managing the page. How often will you be engaging with the page? What types of content would you like fans to be sharing with you and others in the community? Set your page permissions at a level that reﬂects how actively you will manage it. A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook.
March 2011 26 . organize and manage their online reputation and presence in leading social media sites. We only ask that if you've found it helpful.com/ReviewPro About ReviewPro ReviewPro enables hoteliers to efﬁciently aggregate.com/blog Follow us on Twitter for daily ideas and tips: http://twitter.com – a resource of guides and stories showing how to use technology to serve your guests and make more sales. would you share it with your friends? A Hotelʼs Guide to Facebook. customer intelligence. Read the blog for more articles and reports like this: http://reviewpro.com Would you do us a favor? We're committed to making these guides available to you at no cost. Get a demo of ReviewPro today About The Author Josiah Mackenzie is the publisher of HotelMarketingStrategies. Email Josiah: josiah@hotelmarketingstrategies. competitive benchmarking and reporting needed to help hotel professionals more effectively manage their organization.What's next? Keep learning! ReviewPro monitors what is changing in the world of online reputation management and passes along practical ways to use that in hospitality. ReviewPro provides the analysis.
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