Facebook Places – What does your hotel need to do?
Bookassist's Paul Ferry discusses Facebook's move into location
Facebook Places has been live in certain countries since late last year, and in Ireland since the start of February 2011. But what exactly is it, and what do you need to do?
Facebook Places uses GPS (satellite location services) so that people can "Check In" on their mobile phones to their current location, letting friends know where they are and what they're up to. It functions similar to Foursquare.
When people use Facebook on mobile to check into their location, they quite often find that there is no "official" Place on Facebook for where they are. They can therefore choose to add a new Place to Facebook's current list of Places. As a result, a lot of hotel Place pages are appearing on Facebook that were not set up by the hotel in the first place, but by some customer at the location who was first to check in, as the image below shows:
So as a service provider at your location, what you need to do first is check if your hotel is already set up as a Place in facebook, and if so you can claim it. If not, you can set it up from scratch. Search for your hotel name in Facebook Search Box or use you mobile phone when you are in the hotel to “Check In” - if your hotel appears on the list, then it has already been added, see the image from iPhone below.
So the next questions you might ask are: How do I take control of this Facebook Places page that represents my business? Or if I don’t have a Facebook Places page, how do I set one up?
How do I take control of this page?
Most of the time you will find that the hotel's information has already been entered on the Facebook Places page, so what you need to do is claim this page. To do this, go to the hotels Facebook Places page and click on “This is your business?” link, see image below.
After you tick the box and agree the terms and conditions you may be prompted with a “Call Me Now” screen, see image below.
If the Places page does not have a phone number already added, you will be prompted with a form that you fill out to add official documentation in order to claim the Places page.
The automated call back will present you with a 4-digit verification number. After you have entered the 4-digit number from Facebook, you will be prompted to merge your current Fan page with your Places Page, see image below.
Facebook will then email you to notify you that they are merging your Facebook Fan page and your Facebook Places page. When the migration is complete, visit your Fan page and click on the “Info” button under the profile picture and you will see that your hotels details have been updated with a map and directions.
I don’t have a Facebook Places page, how do I set one up?
If your Place does not currently exist on Facebook, you will need to add it through your mobile device by clicking on the Places icon in the Facebook App. Tap “Check In” in the top right of your screen, then search for your hotel name. If it’s not there tap on “Find or Add a Place”
Once this is done your hotel will now be available for people to “Check In”. Once you have added the hotel go through the previous section of this blog to claim your Places page and merge with your existing fan page.
The services are slowly rolling out in all countries, but at the moment the real benefits are only in the United States where you can create Facebook Deals for people that “Check In” to your hotel. For more info on this please visit http://www.facebook.com/places
Our advice is to get this set up now, so when Facebook do roll it out in your country, your hotel is already set up to go on Facebook Places. One addition that we have noticed is that when you hover over your hotel name in either the “News Feed” or your “Wall”, a snapshot of your page is generated with directions and info about your friends that “Like” this page, see image below.
If you have any comments on this blog entry please leave a comment below.
Paul Ferry is Senior Social Media Strategist at Bookassist (bookassist.org), the technology and online strategy partner for hotels.