How to get more direct bookings through your hotel’s Facebook page

Posted

Hotel guests looking at the hotel's Facebook page on different devices

Within the travel world, nothing is more powerful than the social connection between people, particularly through Facebook.

If travellers aren’t sharing photos and videos of their trip, then they’re probably looking at one their friends have posted.

Facebook is an especially vibrant platform for discussion and sharing between friends about the destinations they visit and the properties they stay at. An open slather for comments, messages, images, and multimedia, Facebook is on par with the likes of TripAdvisor.

The fact is hotels should be treating it almost as their primary website now, to secure direct bookings, build loyalty, and optimise online reviews.

Engaging with travellers on Facebook has never been easier or more valuable, providing hotels get active.

Consider these Facebook statistics:

  • 52% of social media users said their friends’ photos inspired travel plans
  • 76% post their vacation photos to social media
  • During research, 55% liked pages relating to the trip they were planning

And these from travellers in the US:

  • Over 80% of US online travellers are active on social media
  • Over 70% log on daily
  • Over 50% use it to look for deals

There’s so much potential within Facebook for hotels to boost their direct bookings. Let’s look at the best tips:

Tip #1
Focus on word of mouth strategies first

A friend’s recommendation is more powerful than any ad, and a lot cheaper for your hotel! Even engaging with a single traveller and providing them with the best possible experience could lead to thousands of dollars in revenue if they decide to share your business around their social circles.

This could be triggered from as little as one message or comment from your business to the customer that leaves them impressed with your service. This is one of the biggest benefits of Facebook; it allows you to create a personal connection, leading to an organic attraction that you don’t have to pay for.

Tip #2
Entice customers with exclusivity

You can boost your volume of followers and engagement on Facebook by treating your page more like a ‘club’. Offer promotions and deals that are only available to those that have liked your page.

This way, to claim their discount or prize they will need to book through your website directly or even right there on Facebook with your booking engine. Again, the fear of missing out is a big motivator.

Here’s an example we love:

Hotel offers an exclusive discount on their Facebook page

Simple promotions like this can often be the only small push travellers need to book directly with your hotel. Source: Argus Luxury Apartments

Tip #3
Establish your hotel as a traveller’s guide

The more you can do to offer helpful and interesting content on your page the more traffic you will receive. These are the things you can do to keep travellers informed and returning to your page:

  • Post reviews
  • Give travel advice and tips
  • Keep a running list of local events
  • Use captivating images and videos to provide insight or direction
  • Try the 80/20 rule to build an audience – 80% fun stuff, 20% marketing and targeting

Here’s an example we love:

Hotel promoting local businesses on their Facebook page

Here’s an example of a hotel that is generating extra traffic by tagging another local business while also offering helpful advice to visitors and guests. Source: The Jazz Corner Hotel

Tip #4
Create easy campaigns and competitions

A simple ‘like and share’ competition is often enough to drive a large amount of traffic through your page and potentially your website. The prize doesn’t even have to be any more valuable than a one night free stay and it could produce an influx of new sales in the future as more people start following your page.

You can further boost these campaigns by putting up teasers beforehand and reminders afterwards to look out for more offers.

Here’s an example we love:

Hotel running competition on their Facebook page

Competitions are an easy way to spark interest and get people sharing at your hotel. Source: BLOC Hotel London Gatwick

Tip #5
Make instant booking available

To really generate direct bookings through Facebook, you need to allow guests to book via Facebook. With the right online booking engine you can connect your booking engine to your Facebook page so travellers can make their purchase without even needing to go to your website.

Facebook also has the capability to build the ‘book now’ tab into your ads and posts as a call-to-action which can also make a huge difference, given the immediacy it provides.

 

Here’s an example we love:

Hotel gets more direct bookings from their Facebook page with a booking button

Just like this hotel, you should have a ‘book now’ button, which can link directly with your online booking engine. Source: Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa

Tip #6
Always interact with your fans and reward loyal followers

All feedback, be it negative or positive, needs to be responded to. Reply to comments and messages in a polite tone. Any new visitors will be looking at the way you deal with customer feedback and studying your reviews. A helpful way to handle this is to migrate your communications to Facebook messenger and encourage followers to also pursue this avenue of communication. That way, any negativity or hostility can be resolved in private.

For those who are regular followers and regular visitors to your property you can create a loyalty program through Facebook to give them first opportunity at special deals.

Tip #7
Consider paid advertising

At least a portion of your marketing spend should be allocated to paid social media. For a small investment you can see good results and Facebook provides very good insights into your performance and how you can improve your strategy.

For example Facebook can help you collect a vast amount of data on your target audience. To give you idea of how effective it is, 85 cents of every digital advertising dollar spent today is allocated to either Facebook or Google.

If you’re still not convinced about the validity of Facebook as a distribution and booking channel, here are some more statistics from Digital Visitor:

  • More than half of travel brands increased their bookings because of Facebook or another social media site
  • Over 90% of the population under 34 use feedback from Facebook before making a booking
  • 80% of travellers are more likely to make a booking if a friend likes a page rather than viewing a regular advertisement

Subscribe to the SiteMinder blog for hotel industry news

SiteMinder's social media playbook for hotels

Thanks for sharing

Sign up to our blog and receive regular updates on the content you're into

Send this to a friend