Guaranteed Bookings on Facebook: 5 Tips on How To Succeed
Bookassist's Paul Ferry outlines a winning formula for guaranteed success in generating revenue through Facebook.
Bookassist Apps For Facebook were successfully launched at the end of April 2011. With hundreds of hotels worldwide already using the Bookassist Apps on their Facebook pages, it is now time to see how hotels can use the apps to their full potential and earn extra revenue using the power of Facebook.
At Bookassist, we have put together some tips to successfully generate a new revenue stream for your hotel on Facebook using the Bookassist Apps For Facebook. The following tips are based on research and tracking of revenue-generating promotional pieces on Facebook using only the hotel’s Facebook fan base and the Bookassist Apps For Facebook.
1. Get In Front Of Your Fans - When to Post
Remember that your hotel’s fans on Facebook receive your hotel’s posts in their news feed on their own Facebook page. They don’t need to be on your hotel’s Facebook page to begin interacting with you. The news feed is where your hotel can constantly get in front of your fans. The key to success is that your hotel needs to post their promotional content as frequently as possibly (but not overkill) to ensure visibility to all of their Facebook fan base. Without telling your hotel’s fans about the latest promotions regularly and at the right times, more than likely they will not interact or not even see the promotional text in their feed.
Remember this is free - there are no advertising costs, there are no pay per click costs, and it is targeted directly at people who have already expressed a direct interest in your product. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
From our research, posting between the hours of 7pm and 10pm will get a higher interaction from your hotel’s fans. Posting throughout the day will receive a substantial amount of views from your hotel’s fans but their interaction isn't as high as later in the day. Research has also shown that weekends can be a good time to post for higher post interaction, but the amount of views will be substantially lower compared to weekdays.
2. Strong Call To Action
Posts should always include links to wherever your hotel’s fans can buy the special offer or view details of the promotion. This includes linking fans directly to the Bookassist Apps for Facebook tabs on your hotel’s Facebook fan page. Adding simple and attractive special offer or promotion related images, or videos, will also improve your fans’ interaction.
Another powerful and simple way to raise your fans’ interaction when they visit your hotel’s fan page is to design a descriptive Facebook profile image that features a strong call to action. Your hotel should design their Facebook profile image to clearly indicate where the Bookassist Apps for Facebook buttons are located. Figure 1 shows two examples of simple but effective Facebook profile image redesigns that encourage interaction.
Sending an ezine, newsletter or mail shot to your hotel’s contacts referring to your Facebook page’s latest additions (i.e. the Bookassist Apps for Facebook tabs) can also generate awareness of the apps tabs and the new buying facilities on your hotel’s Facebook fan page. It may not convert now but it plants the seed for future conversion.
3. Use The Full Power Of The Bookassist Apps For Facebook
Bookassist developed a suite of apps that hotels can use to gain revenue on Facebook. We have detailed how each app can by utilised to its best ability and functionality.
The Bookassist Special Offers App has shown itself to be the most powerful app of the suite to entice your hotel’s fans to buy. This app has the ability to either show all your hotel’s special offers, a few of your hotel’s special offers, or just show one special offer at a time. This can be extremely powerful if you are promoting the hotel’s latest special offers, trying to fill low occupancy dates with a special offer, or having a special offer sale. For help with setting up your Bookassist Special Offers, simply contact your Bookassist account manager.
The Bookassist Book Now App allows fans to make reservations just like on your hotel’s website. This app should be promoted by you as a new facility to make a direct reservation. As mentioned previously, simply designing a new Facebook profile image for your hotel can be very affective way to make your hotel’s fans aware of the Bookassist Book Now App. The app can also be used in conjunction with Bookassist Promo Codes that can be entered in the check availability box to provide your hotel’s fans with discounted rates or special offers. We can configure the hotel’s promo code to be automatically displayed to your hotel’s fans in the check availability box, if the hotel wishes.
Another valuable attribute to the Bookassist Book Now app and Bookassist Special Offers app is that only people who “Like” your hotel’s fan page will see your hotel’s promo code or special offers. If they do not “Like” the page they will be greeted with messages encouraging them to “Like” the page before they can avail of offers.
The Bookassist Vouchers App can be used to sell and promote your online vouchers. This app can be particularly powerful to promote your hotel’s vouchers around peak voucher sales times, for example promoting online vouchers at Christmas time. Promote the new voucher buying facility by simply adding a link to the Bookassist Vouchers App to your posts.
4. Make it Exclusive
From our research, there are a few specific actions that contribute to converting your hotel’s fans from lookers to bookers. Actions such as constant promotion of the Bookassist Apps For Facebook in your hotel’s posts and redesigning your hotel’s profile image to indicate the location of the app buttons certainly work. But these are just steps to make your hotel’s fans aware of the apps. The next step is to convert the Facebook fans from lookers to bookers.
Our suggestion to achieve this goal is simple. Provide your hotel’s fans with the feeling of exclusivity. Providing them with an attractive special offer or promotion will best achieve the end goal of a booking.
The special offer could be a simple reduction on a B&B rate by entering the promo code or an exclusive Facebook fan special offer.
5. Make it Compelling - Create Urgency
From research, our next suggestion for an effective way to successfully convert your hotel’s fans from lookers to bookers is to put a time limit on your exclusive offering, for example a twenty-four hour room sale or an offer with an expiration date fast approaching. As we have seen from the phenomenal success of daily discount sites, creating a sense of urgency certainly works and by using the Bookassist Apps for Facebook you can effectively create your hotel’s own mini discount site. You might not be reaching the same large audience as the daily discount sites, but neither is your hotel paying the large commissions charged by the daily discount sites nor suffering the significant rate reductions you must provide to have the opportunity to appear on those sites.
Finally, if you have not already installed the Bookassist Apps for Facebook and you use the Bookassist booking engine on your hotel’s website, you can install them today for free by visiting our Facebook page at facebook.com/bookassist and navigating to the “Bookassist Apps” tab for instructions or visit the Bookassist Apps For Facebook product page on our website. If you have any additional questions please contact your Bookassist account manager.
Paul Ferry is Senior Social Media Strategist at Bookassist (bookassist.org), the technology and online strategy partner for hotels.