Latest Facebook & Instagram Updates Hotels Can’t Afford to Miss

Hospitality Social Media News

 

The past two weeks have been particularly busy in the social media world, and this week’s newsletter can prove it. Ready to find out about the latest updates and how they’ll affect your hotels and resorts?

Let’s dive in.

Facebook’s Creator Studio Rolled Out Globally 

Facebook’s Creator Studio is a central hub for Pages, allowing them to manage their content libraries for all their Pages in one place, including uploading new images and videos, scheduling posts, and evaluating insights. It just recently rolled out globally, reaching Page admins all over the world.

What This Means for Hotels:

Many hotels and resorts often run more than one Page; they may have affiliate resorts, multiple locations, or even specific Pages dedicated to their restaurants or spas. Being able to manage all content for all Pages on one easy-to-use dashboard can save you a lot of time and hassle. You can access your Creator Studio under the Business Manager.

Facebook Releases New Tracking Events 

Facebook’s tracking events are snippets of code added to the tracking pixel which you can use to determine if certain actions are taken on your site, like checkouts or clicks on a key product page. Facebook is enhancing the pixel even further by rolling out eight new events in the coming weeks.

The new tracking events are:

●     Contact

●     Customize Product

●     Find Location

●     Schedule

●     Donate

●     Start Trial

●     Submit Application

●     Subscribe

What This Means for Hotels:

The “Schedule,” “contact,” and “find location” tracking events will likely prove exceptionally valuable for hotels and resorts. Scheduling bookings, spa reservations, and dinners could all be tracked with the new pixel, and every time someone contacts one of your hotels or searches for a location, you’ll know. This will allow you to retarget to an interested audience and help close the booking.

Facebook Provides More Information for Certain Ad Placements 

If you run Facebook Ads in in-stream video placements, Instant Articles, and the Audience Network, you’re about to get a lot more information about where your ads could potentially be shown. If you don’t have access to the new feature already, you’ll soon be able to see a full list of specific potential placements where your ads could appear in these placements. After your campaign is over, you’ll also be able to see which placements your ad actually landed.

What This Means for Hotels:

More visibility is always an advantage, especially when you’ve got a lot of ad spend on the table. As advertisers, we can already block our content from appearing on content in certain categories or from certain publishers, but getting a full list might give us a reminder of a few more names to block or more targeting to narrow down. More transparency and more information can mean better ad performance, and there’s a good chance this be the case for the new placement update.

Facebook Reinvents Canvas Ads 

Canvas Ads have been rebranded as “Instant Experiences.” These fullscreen, interactive mobile experiences will now offer a new “Instant Form” template and component. This component will allow marketers to add lead generation forms in their Instant Experiences.

Image source: Facebook 

Instant Experiences can now be tracked with the pixel, allowing advertisers to get a better understanding of how their campaigns are really performing.

What This Means for Hotels:

Instant Experiences have always had a lot of potential for hotels and resorts, even though they were underused. They’re a great way to showcase your properties and amenities in exciting, dynamic ways your guests could respond to. Now, you can use the lead form to capture the information of interested potential guests and follow up to schedule a booking.

New Facebook Stories Updates 

There are some new features being tested for Facebook’s Stories, and while they likely won’t be rolling out on a wide scale for a little while, we still want to mention them.

The first is the ability to share links in Stories. Facebook recently confirmed that they’re testing this ability, which Instagram already has. There is no news about when this would move beyond beta testing.

The second will be Stories Ads, which is currently rolling out to Facebook marketing partners. According to TechCrunch, early tests in Mexico, Brazil, and the US gave access to the feature to a few big name brands, which are pretty much identical to Instagram’s Stories Ads.

What This Means for Hotels:

We’ve already seen that Instagram Stories can be an incredible powerhouse for the hospitality industry, especially once Ads and links are included to drive actionable (and off-platform) results. Having this ability come to Facebook too will be a huge benefit, giving us additional mediums to connect with potential guests. Facebook users are already watching Stories, after all, and this will allow us to drive site traffic and bookings as a result.

Instagram Expands Security Features 

Instagram has finally rolled out expanded verification and security features for business profiles. The first will seek to protect users by evaluating the authenticity of accounts with a large number of followers, much like Facebook has recently done. Users will be able to see the account’s history, any name changes, and all ads the profile is currently running.

The second change is coming soon, and will allow use of third-party authentication apps to be used to log into Instagram. This will be a more safe and secure way for businesses to log into Instagram.

What This Means for Hotels:

Instagram wants to make the platform safer for everyone, which means more transparency and more security. Most hotels and resorts have nothing to hide, so the transparency will only help you to build trust, and the added security features can help you protect your accounts and your guests at the same time.

Instagram Releases Polls to Direct Messages 

Polls are a great way to drive engagement through Stories, and now users are able to send polls to their friends through direct messaging. Add a small group to a chat, and then use the poll sticker to ask a question. All that’s left to do is wait for the responses to come pouring in.

What This Means for Hotels:

Stories broadcast your polls to your entire audience, but using them in direct messaging can have its benefits, too. Reach out to small groups of your followers, and use the text features to let them know they’re in an exclusive group of loyal guests and you want their opinion. They’ll be notified, and it could increase the likelihood that they answer. You could also use this feature to run contests or sweepstakes, too.

Hotel Social Media News Platforms Shifting to ‘Authentic’ Usage to Encourage Community Building

There is an apparent trend showing social media platforms are shifting more towards “authentic” usage of the platforms that encourage community building, and we’re seeing more features and changes coming as a result. Staying on track with these changes will be important for the long-term success of your campaigns.

Twitter Cuts Access to Third Party Apps 

Twitter has shut down API access to a number of third-party apps and ended support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac. This includes popular tools like Tweetbot, which are not officially run by the social media site. Official mobile apps and those run by Twitter, like TweetDeck and Periscope, are still fully functional and will remain so.

What This Means for Hotels

Twitter has made a lot of changes this year in order to try to reduce clutter and make room for more meaningful engagement. We saw this with their restrictions on automated or cross-promoted retweets, and this is just another step down that path.

If you’re using any software to enhance your Twitter marketing with features like scheduling or content creation, keep an eye on your profile to make sure things are working as expected. If not, you’ll need to cut the app loose and see if you can find Twitter-run alternatives, like TweetDeck.

LinkedIn Relaunches Groups 

LinkedIn groups have been around for a while, but they’re now being relaunched. According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn will be adding groups to their main app. They’ll also be focused on reducing spam and making the groups more efficient. They’re doing this with temporary removal of features like sending posts as emails to the entire group.

Image source: TechCrunch 

What This Means for Hotels

LinkedIn groups have always had enormous potential but fell a little short. They become too self-promotional, but with new developments, that could change. If groups pick up on LinkedIn, this could be a great asset for hotels and resorts. You can network with and learn from other industry experts, find potential employees, and even occasionally mention your conference or lodging services to professionals looking to make bookings.

Facebook Allows Admins to Link Pixel with Groups 

Group admins can now link Facebook’s tracking pixel to their group, allowing admins to better track user growth and engagement on their actual websites off-platform. This information will be anonymous, and it will only be available to groups that have at least 250 members.

Image source: Facebook 

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are a powerful community-building tool, but the ability to anonymously track group member’s relationship to your hotel or resort as a whole outside of the actual group is a huge advantage. Now you can more accurately assess whether the group is driving more leads or bookings, or building stronger relationships with your guests.

Facebook Group Admins Can Pin Comments 

Matt Navarra found a feature Facebook is testing that will allow group admins to pin comments in discussion threads. This will push that comment to the top of the comments section in the conversation thread, ensuring that it’s the first thing people see.

Image source: Matt Navara

What This Means for Hotels

If you have groups for your hotel or resort, you have likely already seen how conversations can spiral amongst members. People veer off course with the discussion, or you (or someone else) ends up clarifying the same thing many times over. The ability to pin comments will give you additional moderation control so that you can keep things on track and hopefully framing the group and your hotel in a positive light.

Forget Loyalty Programs: Customer Service Matters Most to Travelers

Most hotels and resorts offer some sort of loyalty program, allowing guests to accrue points based on stays and purchases that they can later use for free or discounted bookings. Publix’s BOGOs are great, after all; why not set up something similar for hotels?

 

While many guests are avid users of your hotel’s rewards program, they’re likely avid users of your competitors’ rewards programs, too. It’s almost a guarantee, after all, that almost all of your competitors will have their own similar programs in place.

 

Think with Google recently conducted a study  to find what matters most to high value travelers and see which factors will affect where they choose to stay. Loyalty programs were a factor, but not a major one, ranking fourth on the list of considerations that high value travelers focused on.

 

So what was the number one factor that guests took into consideration when choosing where to stay?

 

Customer service.

 

Why Customer Service Comes in First

Many hotels may automatically assume that if their loyalty program is superior to their competitors, that’s all it will take to create true loyalty, but we already know that isn’t the case. So why is customer service so important?

 

Image source: Think with Google

 

There’s several answers to this. The most obvious is that the market is now saturated with loyalty programs that are all so similar that they’re no longer unique; they’re almost expected in many cases. Customer service has become the true differentiator.

 

Excellent customer service will also directly impact a guest’s entire experience with you, from the pre-booking research all the way to the checkout and beyond. It will be the difference between whether they struggle (or fail) to book a reservation with you, get the accommodations they need, and have a positive experience, or whether they walk away dissatisfied (or worse).

 

How quickly and personably you can resolve any concerns will be what sways them, because when it comes to where they’re staying, they need to know they’re in good hands. Strong customer service builds trust, and trust can begin to foster true brand loyalty.

 

Meanwhile, loyalty programs don’t actually impact a guest’s experience at all; it just affects their wallet. And since only 21% of most high value travelers— the kind you really want to get on board– will sacrifice comfort for a lower cost, those savings only amount to so much when they can find something similar elsewhere.

How You Can Offer Exceptional Customer Service to Every Guest

While it goes without saying that being warm and accommodating in person is an important part of customer service, true customer excellence needs to start long before they show up at the check-in desk with their bags in hand.

 

Every guest– and every potential guest– not only expects but demandstop of the line customer service at every turn, and if they don’t see it from the get-go then you’ve already lost their booking. And in today’s world, that means focusing on your website’s online communication with guests.

 

More and more guests prefer to find questions about a potential booking online, whether that’s through your site’s information or through a live chat service. They want the information fast, and they want it without a big hassle or having to wait on hold or go through an automated phone system.

 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that while customer service was the first priority for guests when considering where to book, an easy-to-use website came in at second place. The two now go hand-in-hand for many guests, so in order to deliver outstanding customer care, you need to do so in the communication of their choosing. That means improving your live chat services immediately if you haven’t already.

 

Live Chat for Hotels & Resorts: No Longer Optional

The writing is on the wall here, and with websites and customer service both valued so highly by high-value, high-spending travelers, you can’t afford to skimp out on live chat for your site.

 

And when we say live chat, we’re not talking about robotic, badly-programmed chatbots. We’re not even talking about chatbots that have been programmed really well, because customers don’t want to go through anykind of automated process; they want to be put in touch with an actual human representative who they feel cares about them and can help them immediately. No chatbot can offer the kind of personalized help and attention that high value guests have come to expect, so they’ll let you down in the long run.

 

Instead, human-to-human live chat through your site is the only way to go. While it may sound like a lot to tackle, it doesn’t have to be.

 

CoMMingle Live Chat, for example, offers full, 24/7 live chat management for hotels and resorts so we can pick up the slack while you focus on the guests who are actively staying with you. Potential guests will receive immediate responses from real, highly trained representatives who all have experience in the hospitality industry and will learn the in’s and out’s of your specific hotel to deliver personalized customer service just like you would.

 

Whether you invest in a service like CoMMingle or take on the process yourself, immediate-response live chat isn’t so much a great option as it is a necessary one. It will only become more important moving forward, so stay ahead of your competition and adapt now if you haven’t already. Your loyalty programs, after all, can apparently only help you so much, so it’s best to make investments where they’ll matter post: the actual experience of the guests themselves.

6 Big Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest Changes Affecting Hotels & Resorts

Hospitality Social Media News

 

Are you up to date with all six of the big changes that happened in social media in the last two weeks? Know how they’ll directly affect your hotel or resort?

If you aren’t sure, don’t worry; we know it’s a lot to keep up with.

Let’s take a look at the most recent social media changes that are relevant to the hospitality industry and how they’ll affect you.

New Look & Features for Pages on Mobile 

Facebook Pages are getting a new look, with recommendations taking center stage and being featured more prominently. There will also be new features that will make it easier for your guests to view menus, book reservations, or take other actions more easily than they can now.

There will also be new local browsing options, which allow users to look for local businesses and events near them. Facebook will include recommendations based on users’ preferences and histories, and ratings from other viewers will likely impact these recommendations heavily.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Reviews are now called Recommendations. They are no longer a Star-Rated scale (1-5 Stars). The visitor can either Recommend or Not Recommend, with or without a comment. Recommendations are even more important than ever before because of their heightened visibility, so do what you can to get more reviews on Facebook directly. Consider prioritizing Facebook when asking users to leave reviews, placing it above Google or TripAdvisor if you’re lacking them on Facebook.

As the new booking features roll out, make sure that your Pages are optimized and utilizing them. The ability for guests to book reservations through your site or view your resort’s menu can make everything a little more convenient for them, resulting in increased bookings.

Facebook Releases Image-to-Video Ads 

Facebook’s Creative Shop has released a new tool called “Create to Convert,” which allows advertisers to add motion and animation to two still images. You can make your logo, product, use cases, and benefits come to life by just uploading two still images, no animation experience required.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If you’re on a budget and don’t want to shell out the big bucks to a video agency, or looking for a way to make your ads more compelling in a scalable way, this is a tool you’ll want to utilize. Use these image-to-video ads to showcase your gorgeous resort and everything you can do there, and watch the bookings come rolling in.

Facebook Starts Rolling Out Stories Ads 

Facebook started testing Facebook Story Ads in May for select advertisers in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil. These Ads are now slowly rolling out to more advertisers and will appear in the Ads Manager once you have access. These ads will consist of 5 to 15 second videos that resemble Instagram Story Ads, with “Click to Learn More” CTAs now available.

Image source: Ana G.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Plenty of hotels and resorts have had great luck using Instagram Story Ads, and it will be interesting to see if Facebook’s counterpart works just as well. If more of your guests are on Facebook than on Instagram, this could open more doors for you.

Instagram Testing Recommended Posts  

Instagram is currently testing recommended posts in users’ feeds. These posts will appear at the bottom of a user’s feed. The content will come from accounts that the user doesn’t already follow, but which Instagram thinks they’d like based on the accounts and content they interact with most frequently.

Image source: Instagram 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

This feature is only in testing, but this could be a great new way to get more reach on Instagram. At this point, there’s no way to influence whether or not you appear in a recommendation aside from having strong engagement rates, but you can diversify the types of content you post (mixing it up with videos, unique topics, multi-image posts, and more) to increase the likelihood of creating content different guests like to see.

Pinterest Releases Maximum Width in Promoted Video 

In May, Pinterest started testing maximum width for their Promoted Video Pins, and it’s now available for all advertisers. These new pins are 4x wider than the standard pin, taking up the full range of space in Pinterest’s mobile two-column feed and practically demanding user attention. This feature can be found in the Pinterest Ads manager.

Image source: Pinterest 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Promoted Video Pins are already a great way to stand out on mobile, and this new maximum width feature is a big opportunity. Videos of your gorgeous hotel and all the activities that can be done there will be even more powerful at a larger size. Several case studies from Pinterest’s initial tests have found that these specific video pins have higher rates of engagement and ad awareness than even other types of promoted pins.

Not sure where to start? You can always run retargeting campaigns based on website traffic, and utilize those extra-big videos to increase bookings with potential guests.