Facebook and your accommodation business

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Forrester research shows that Best Buy Facebook fans are almost twice as likely to purchase, consider and recommend the brand when compared to non-Facebook fans.

Does it really make a difference if you have a Facebook page or not?

Forrester released a study called “The Facebook Factor” in April 2012. This study focused on the question “How much more likely are Facebook fans to purchase, consider, and recommend brands, compared with non-fans?”.

Although the research did not include accommodation businesses, the results are still significant for us as they show, for all brands included in the study, that Facebook fans are definitely more likely to consider, purchase and recommend brands than non-fans.

So, if you don’t have a Facebook fan page, this research is another good reason to get one going now. We have included some helpful tips below:

You need a personal profile to set up a fan page for your business. It is important to separate the two as profiles are for individuals and fan pages are for businesses.

The difference between a personal profile and a page:

  • Personal profile = “Friends” only you can add/accept
  • Business (fan) page = “Likes” from anyone who’s read your info.

If you don’t have a fan page, this article will help you to set up a Facebook business page in five steps (includes video). You can also read this useful article on the Social Media Examiner website that will help you set up your profile and your fan page. Subscribe to the daily updates from this website for simple and easy tips on social media.

NB: You don’t need to set up a new profile (your current identity on Facebook) to create a page. As the person with the profile (logged in as “yourself”) you can create a Page. You then become the “administrator” of that Page.

We’ve seen that most of our NightsBridge customers select their category as either Local business or place > Hotel or Local business or Company, organisation or institution > Travel/Leisure. All these options will work.
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The first step to create a Facebook fan page is to select a category.

If you already have a Facebook fan page, you will know that Facebook moved to a new format called Timeline at the end of March 2012. Below is a short tutorial by Facebook to show you how to customise their Timeline design for pages.


We also recommend reading this article by social media guru Mari Smith which includes 21 useful tips for Facebook business pages.

Now that you have your page set up correctly, what do you do with it?

We’ll focus on two things: Content and Conversion.

1. Content

Posting regular and interesting content that is focused on your target audience, even once a week, as well as responding to fans, is vital. This can be daunting if you don’t know what to post. Here are some content ideas:

  • Pictures of your views (at different times of day), flowers in your garden, guests enjoying themselves (with their permission), refurbishments and anything that potential and past guests may find interesting (like the pets they loved).
  • Advance notice of events at your establishment and pictures from the day.
  • Pictures of nearby and popular attractions, activities and events.
  • Share news from your area. You might feel like you’re promoting someone else’s business — but that is the whole idea. If you “give” on social media networks, in turn you will “receive” notice and interest in your news.
  • Links to interesting articles and videos about your area (or your business) from other websites including local papers and magazines.
  • Links to useful information already on your website.
  • Specials, rates and seasonal rate changes.
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Kariega Game Reserve sources and displays images from its Facebook fans. This helps to promote the experience at the reserve.

It is important that you ask your guests to join your page and encourage them to post content. Ask them to post their favourite pictures and recommend you on Facebook. For example NightsBridge customer Kariega Game Reserve highlights the top guest photographs submitted on their page every month.

2. Conversion

As Facebook fans are more likely to purchase, you should ensure that they can book rooms directly from your fan page. You will need to add the NightsBridge BookNow button to your Facebook page.

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Umbrella Tree B&B is one of the many NightsBridge customers that have installed the BookNow button.

This feature is competitively priced as always (at R20 a month). Read more about this functionality .

Useful links and resources:

www.socialmediaexaminer.com
www.hubspot.com/facebook-for-business-marketing-hub
www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
www.marismith.com/facebook-timeline-for-business-pages-key-points-know
www.facebook.com/nightsbridge/app_221071831264895

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