If hospitality is your line of business, then you will agree that it is an industry distinctly characterized by providing an excellent customer experience, and relies greatly on word-of-mouth recommendation.
While most services related to providing excellent customer experience need to happen offline – it’s hard to make beds or serve your guest’s favourite cocktail with a click – the social media boom presents great opportunities for the hospitality industry to engage with its customers, which in the long run will help members boost their brand images and generate more sales.
To be able to make the most use of this opportunity, business owners need to keep up with tools and features offered by social media platforms. There are many platforms available, but Facebook is a good place to start. With more than 900 million active users in 2012, chances are your customers are there too.
Here are the three Facebook features that could make impact on your hospitality business.
A few years ago, Facebook improved its geo-localization feature allowing users to check in to “places” they’ve been to, and even link to other social media platforms such as Foursquare and Trip Advisor.
The first time a “place” gets checked into by any Facebook user, Facebook will instantly create a place page for the business, which the owner of the business can claim. If a place does not exist, it is possible to create it. Once claimed, the business will have some editorial control and the ability to publish content to anyone who has liked the Facebook Place.
Every time someone checks in your Facebook Place, the check is posted to their Facebook wall, and onto their friends’ news feeds, able to be commented on and liked. This will increase your visibility and provide an incentive for other users to visit your business.
This functionality could be effective for hotels in Vietnam. More than 80% of visitors to Vietnam only come once, so Facebook Place is a certainly a more appropriate tool to use for businesses focused on accommodation. It provides customer referrals without polluting users’ timelines with irrelevant content.
Another tool that may provide local businesses such as restaurants or bars with more business opportunities is Facebook Page.
Featurewise, Facebook Page has all the same characteristics as a personal Facebook profile. Businesses can upload photos, videos, share status updates or links and create discussions which can be Liked and Shared by Facebook users. Additionally, Facebook Page has “page insight” which allows the admin to have access to interesting statistics about users who like their page, such as their age, gender, or location.
It is a fantastic way to engage with customers and promote weekly events and special offers, as well as to respond to customer feedback. Also, since a bar or restaurant is more likely to have returning visitors, the interaction on Facebook Page could help to convert first time visitors to regulars.
If needed, Facebook Page and Facebook Place could also be merged, making it easier for businesses to manage their online presence. Understanding exactly the specific nature of your brand plays an important role in determining the best social media functionality for your business. Here is the tutorial.
Unlike conventional display ads, Facebook Ads allow targeted demographics. Your ads will be displayedfor your specifically targeted audience, and you can select the audiences according to their age, gender, location, language, education, and even social orientation. Even better, in Facebook, ads that are targeted appropriately are actually cheaper!
Facebook ads also letyoudirect your audience to your Facebook business page, or alternatively,to your business website. If you want to build engagement and relationships with your customers, as well as improving customer loyalty, you probably should direct users to your Facebook Page.
However, if your goal is to get your hotel known and increase your occupancy rate, set Facebook Ads to bring users directly to your website. Also, since search engine are equating traffic from social media to evaluate relevance on their search results, the more traffic from Facebook you have, the higher your website ranking will be.
Facebook Ads enables you to target Internet users who are more likely to book their holidays online, arguably even better than Google Ads. Along with Google Analytics, you can then calculate your conversion rate with different advertising campaign to optimize your ROI.
Which Facebook feature is right for your business? Do you think the incorporation of social media to marketing and branding strategies will make the hospitality business thrive?
By Charly Leporc