All-In-One Facebook Messaging & What It Means for the Hospitality Industry

Last week, Facebook announced it is reportedly working to develop a single, unified messaging infrastructure and increasing the connection between several of their apps.

 

The integration will allow users to communicate cross-platform even while using the individual apps of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram’s messaging, combining the world’s 3 largest messaging platforms. Thousands of Facebook employees are supposedly hard at work, with the goal being to make the integration complete by the end of 2019 or early 2020, though Zuckerberg has said that the functionality likely wouldn’t be possible until sometime in 2020 at the latest.

 

This is happening in the midst of questions about too much connectivity and user privacy concerns, which has garnered mixed reactions to the news at hand even though Facebook first started laying the groundwork for this as early as 2016.

 

Right now, while users are deciding how they feel about this, businesses and marketers have gone straight into what it might mean for them and how it will impact their guest relationships. Some have argued that it will “strengthen Facebook’s grip” on users, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg taking charge of platforms he’d previously said he wouldn’t be heavily involved with.

 

After a great deal of research, I believe this will be a powerful and very positive change for businesses in the hospitality industry, opening the door to the future of live chat.

 

We already know that live chat is essential for businesses in the hospitality industry, where guests frequently have questions to be answered or special accommodations to be requested that an FAQ section just won’t solve. One study even found that 79% of customers prefer live chat to other options because it was both immediate and convenient, which is a winning combination in our on-the-go world.

 

We’ve already seen an increase in guests reaching out to hotels and resorts through social media direct messaging because it’s easy and it’s fast for them, but it’s still convenient. They’re able to send a message to a resort through Facebook Messenger, put down their phone, run their errands, and then come back later to see what was said. There’s the immediacy of live chat without the inherent urgency; they won’t be dropped from the chat if they don’t reply quickly enough, so it’s well-suited to busy consumers.

 

I believe that this Facebook messaging integration, as a result, will become a live chat replacement, giving consumers the ultimate control in how and when they’re getting in touch with hotels. Since there are more than 2.6 million users on the messaging apps combined as it is, this is a valuable opportunity for businesses in the hospitality industry to connect with their guests in a place they’ll be happy to engage.

 

Consumer control is almost always a good thing for any business that’s willing to rise and meet the challenge, and I know we’re getting our clients ready for the shift ahead. Are you getting ready?

 

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, full-service Hotel Marketing and Social Media Engagement Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. Since 2001, we have provided hundreds of hotels and resorts with proven, ROI driven online marketing services.  For more information please visit call 877-291-4411 or visit https://lodginginteractive.com.

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The Company provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants, and spas.

commingle:engage has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually. The Company also offers fully managed Live Chat services for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com operation and comprehensive social media marketing services.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Facebook Announces Plans to Merge Messaging Apps

In the past year, there’s been a lot of discussion and scandal around data breaches and platform manipulation from third parties. This newsletter, which is covering the last few weeks of news, shows that this is still front and center in the minds of many, including the platforms themselves. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at what’s new on social media and how it will impact hotels and resorts.

Facebook Announces Plans to Merge Messaging Apps 

The New York Times has just announced that Facebook is reportedly planning on integrating the private message features from Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into one single technical infrastructure. According to Facebook, the services will each remain in stand-alone apps, it would just change from a technical point of view.

What This Means for Hotels 

We think this is a game changer in social media and, even more importantly, in the worlds of customer service and live chat.

Here’s what we know so far:

●     Users will be able to connect across multiple messaging platforms

●     All apps will incorporate end-to-end encryption

●     The goal is to increase utility (and we think it will)

●     It will change the game for live chat, and we’re already underway working on what’s next.

Facebook Offers New Additional Transparency Features 

Facebook is rolling out new transparency features to hopefully restore more trust in the Pages marketing on platform. One of these features is their new Quality tab, which tells users if a Page has had any content revoked due to false information, hate speech, or other violations of community guidelines. It will also show Pages the content that was removed to hopefully better help them understand how they were in violation of the rules.

Image source: Facebook  

They’re also cracking down on the creation of new Pages or profiles that are similar to those removed for violating standards.

What This Means for Hotels

Trust is a big thing for Facebook users right now, and the platform is doing everything they can to at least help users trust the brands advertising on it right now. Ensure that your content is adhering to the community regulations and you’ll be in good standing with Facebook and your audience. There’s no need to hide skeletons, after all, if there aren’t any skeletons in the first place.

Twitter Rolls Out Two New Features

Last week, Twitter released a new tool on desktop that allows users to edit images in-app before publishing. The tool isn’t anything too advanced, but it does allow you to resize or crop the image to hopefully make it more appealing to your followers.

Image source: Matt Navarra 

They also released new social functions for events, including the ability to see how many people are engaging with an event in real time.

What This Means for Hotels

Most hotels and resorts are likely having their images edited before they make it to Twitter, but if you aren’t and you’re looking for an easy solution, this is it.

The social context for events, on the other hand, could have a huge impact on hotels. If you’re hosting a big conference at your hotel and want to create a Twitter Event to generate buzz, this feature could help you leverage social proof to do exactly that.

Periscope Adds Guests to Live Streams

Periscope– Twitter’s sister company focusing on live videos– has just updated their platform so that users hosting a broadcast can invite up to three guests to participate. This feature previously wasn’t available on Periscope, but there is a catch: the invited users won’t appear on the screen, and it will only be their audio that’s shared.

What This Means for Hotels

More options for live video are always a good thing considering its value in today’s social media marketing climate. If your audience is particularly active on Twitter, you can take advantage of this and interview guests, staff, or other industry experts. Keep in mind, however, that it’s easier on Facebook and Instagram to host lives where guests can be seen during the broadcast, so it may be a good idea to start there.

LinkedIn Ads Roll Out Interest Targeting

LinkedIn Ads has just introduced interest targeting to their ad platform, allowing advertisers to target users based on topics they’ve expressed interest in. And one of those interests are “business travel,” opening the door for hotels and resorts to connect with potential guests who may be looking to book reservations.

What This Means for Hotels

LinkedIn Ads can yield great results, and if you’re using them for marketing to either gain new employees or connect with new guests, interest targeting may open up options to better connect with the right people. You could create an ad targeting that “business travel” interest, for example, or even target users who are interested in biology if you’ve got a science convention happening in your hotel and want to increase attendance and hotel reservations.

While you don’t want to use targeting that you don’t need or that isolates too much of your audience, this feature will be good to have when it’s relevant to the campaigns you’re creating.

Latest Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

The new year always brings new changes, and this month we’ve had an onslaught of social media updates as each platform readies themselves for success in 2019. We’ve got new features designed to improve the users’ and marketers’ experience, so let’s take a look at the ones that will affect hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry.

Facebook Releases Multi-Language Dynamic Ads

Facebook has just rolled out a new type of Dynamic Ads that enables businesses to create ads in multiple languages. When creating your ad campaigns, just add in different language variations of the text you’re using, along with the URL of the landing page you’re sending users to.

Image source: Social Media Today 

What This Means for Hotels

Previously, advertisers were having to create multiple ads that were targeted by language and/or location, and then creating distinct ads for each individual language. This speeds up the process, and is a game changer for hotels and resorts, especially those with bilingual or international audiences.

Facebook Alters Group Invitation System

Previously, any time someone added a new user to their group, the person was automatically added as a member. While this did help to inflate group size, it was a superficial growth and many people would mute notifications and never engage. To prevent this from happening, Facebook users who are now added will have an “invited” status until they choose to actually join themselves.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are an excellent community-building opportunity, but superficial growth won’t do you a lot of good. This new change will ensure that your group will only have engaged members within it, making your analytics more valuable and your community more close-knit.

Facebook Rolls Out Call-to-Action Stickers for Page Stories

Facebook Stories now have a new CTA sticker, which allows Pages to create clickable links encouraging users to “Shop Now,” “Book Now,” “Call Now,” or “Get Directions” directly within the Story.

Image source: Matt Navara 

What This Means for Hotels

Stories are a popular feature and have previously been most useful for brand awareness. This allows Pages to turn their Stores into clickable marketing content that users will happily engage with. The Book Now, Call Now, and Get Directions stickers will all be incredibly valuable to hotels and resorts, allowing them to easily drive actions and communication with potential guests.

Facebook Testing Stories Event Stickers

A new Facebook Story sticker is currently being tested that allows Pages to feature events in their Stories. It appears as though the events must be created as a Facebook event to be able to use this feature, and it’s currently only available in testing in the US, Mexico, and Brazil.

Image source: Engadget 

What This Means for Hotels

Many hotels and resorts regularly hold events ranging from mega conferences to a small movie night for guests by the pool. Creating official Facebook events and then being able to promote them in Stories– which don’t have the issue of declining organic reach– in an engaging, interactive way can mean good news for the attendance of your events (and thus your bottom line).

Big Changes Announced at Twitter

Twitter has announced a number of big changes happening on the platform in 2019. Most haven’t happened just yet, but the sneak peek is still valuable.

Here’s what’s changing:

●     A redesign of the site, which will be less cluttered with a two-column layout, and come with new features like improved search and emoji shortcuts.

●     Beta testing for new “conversational” features, including algorithmically-sorted replies.

●      New event, content, and audience analytics tools to improve marketers’ and businesses’ understanding of what’s happening and why.

Image source: Twitter

What This Means for Hotels

It’s no secret that Twitter has been looking at a revamp for awhile; they were losing followers and they knew they had to adapt. These changes are all shifts towards making Twitter into something new and more appealing for both users and marketers. Hotels and resorts should keep an eye on the changes and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. We’ll keep you updated on this as they roll out.

TweetDeck Offers New Scheduling Abilities

TweetDeck is owned by Twitter and is their recommended tool for scheduling content. Now, the TweetDeck is capable of scheduling tweets that contain videos or multiple images. Previously, hotels and resorts were relying on third-party software for this feature.

Image source: Twitter 

What This Means for Hotels

While many hotels and resorts already rely on either agencies to take over their marketing for them or third-party software which offers similar features across multiple platforms, this is still a good thing for those who don’t have access (or the budget) for either.

Instagram Releases Ability to Post to Multiple Accounts

If you have several linked accounts on Instagram, you can now share a single post to multiple accounts at the same time when uploading new content. This feature is exclusive to newsfeed content (not Stories), and currently only available for iOS devices, and there’s no information yet about when it will be released to Android users.

Image source: TechCrunch 

What This Means for Hotels

Most hotels and resorts, again, are already using third-party software to handle this task, and it’s most often used to share the same post to other branded accounts like a sister hotel or the resort’s restaurant’s profile. If this software isn’t in the budget, however, this is a good option to speed up the process.

YouTube Eliminates Activity-Sharing to Twitter

Beginning on February 1st, YouTube will be removing the ability to automatically post your YouTube activity to Twitter. You can still share videos from YouTube with the Share button, but this will have to be done manually.

What This Means for Hotels

If YouTube marketing is a part of your strategy, take note of this. Instead of relying on auto-sharing, use scheduling software to distribute the link to the video on other sites if you choose and customize the messaging accompanying it for each individual platform. You can also choose to upload the video natively, which can help it get more traction on each platform.

Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

Happy 2019, everyone! As we move into the new year, it’s time to take a look at our social media strategies to assess what’s working and how we can better connect with our guests. This includes assessing all the new social media that impact hotels and resorts, so take a look at everything that’s happened over the holiday break so you can get your campaigns up to speed.

Two New Features Arrive in Facebook’s Business Manager 

Image source: Matt Navara 

What This Means for Hotels

This isn’t a huge change, but if you find yourself regularly adding new team members or third party partners to your Facebook accounts, this could make it a little easier and give you more control. It doesn’t seem to have rolled out to everyone at this point, so if you don’t have it yet, you hopefully will soon.

Facebook Group Admins Can Share Feedback on Removed Posts 

Facebook Groups have offered a new moderating tool for admins, allowing them to offer private feedback to the author of a removed post. The member will be notified that their post was deleted, and they’ll be given information from an anonymous admin (not a specific one) about why that was the case.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are an excellent community-building tool, and when it comes to Groups that are centered around your hotel or resort, it’s important to stay on top of its moderation. Using the feedback tool to keep your members following group rules without running the risk of accidentally publicly shaming someone can keep your community growing and moving in a positive direction.

Instagram Rolls Out Video Scheduling

Post scheduling through third-party software has been available for a while, but it was only available for images. Instagram updated its API towards the end of last year to allow the scheduling of videos on Instagram, too. Social media scheduling software is starting to catch up and offer this feature to subscribers, so keep an eye out for this one.

What This Means for Hotels

The ability to schedule video content to Instagram will be a game changer, especially considering that video has proven to yield high engagement rates on the platform. Now, you won’t have to worry about taking time away from your guests to ensure that your Instagram videos go live at peak posting times. Keep an eye on your social media scheduling software, as they’ll likely be releasing this feature soon if they haven’t already.

YouTube Ads Updated in Response to Changing User Patterns

User video consumption and behavior continually evolves, and YouTube ensures that they’re adapting frequently. Their ad system is being updated as a result of changing viewing patterns. These changes include:

●     The testing of two back-to-back stacked ads, which reduces the frequency of ad breaks for viewers watching long-form videos.

●     The rollout of the ability for advertisers to target TV screens with their ad campaigns, which accounts for the increased number of ad views happening on television sets.

●     More ad placements on the home feed, which allow users to see ads for video recommendations targeting them and encourages self-directed discovery.

Image source: Google 

What This Means for Hotels

YouTube’s dedication to change its ad offerings alongside evolving user behavior is a huge advantage for advertisers. By stacking ads, for example, users will have fewer ad breaks and are therefore more likely to watch the full video– and all of its ads. This is good for both the content creator and all the advertisers trying to bid on those competitive placements.

Hotels and resorts should carefully consider whether or not they want to exclusively target TV viewers for their campaigns, as the inability for users to click on a link while watching could potentially decrease the effectiveness of ads meant to drive conversions. Ad campaigns that are focused on brand recall, however, could see great results from this.

YouTube Creates Their Own Version of Stories

It feels like 2018 was the year of Stories, and now YouTube is catching up to Facebook and Instagram to offer their own unique take. Their short-form video format– titled “Reels”– has been rebranded into YouTube Stories and recently released with a new set of creator tools to accounts with more than 10,000 subscribers.

Image source: Google 

Unlike on other platforms, these Stories will be available for a full seven days before they disappear to maximize views. They can show up in the home feeds of both subscribers and non-subscribers.

What This Means for Hotels

The Stories feature has been hugely popular on both Instagram and Facebook, and it may see the same engagement from YouTube followers, too. If you have those 10,000 subscribers, test them out to connect with past, present, and future guests. The community-building features that are focusing on engaging with your audience could be a huge asset for this, giving you the ability to publicly respond to comments with photos or videos to keep the conversation going.

6 Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

The holidays are here, and there are few busier seasons for those of us in the hospitality industry. We know you’re busy, so we’ll get right to our last edition of our newsletter in the 2018 year so you’ll be up to date on all the social media changes that matter to you.

Facebook Releases New Watch Party Features

The Watch Party feature allows you to play video content at a set time, where everyone will watch it in “real time” together, like seeing a movie with friends. This feature has now been released to all Pages and profiles. They also have new updates to the feature, including threaded comments for improved interaction, and Live Commentating, which allows the host to go live within the watch party and deliver commentary live.

Image source: Facebook 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

If live videos are a staple part of your marketing and you’re running low on ideas, or if you want to share content in a particularly engaging way, Watch Parties are a great opportunity. Hotels and resorts could showcase a video of what to do near their location and have someone from the team deliver personalized commentary and recommendations based on user questions. Many users aren’t familiar with Watch Parties yet, so promote what you’re doing ahead of time so your followers can make sure to get on board.

Instagram Says Changes Are Coming 

Instagram just recently announced that “over the next few weeks” users may see interface changes within the app, including new navigation and icons. The actual photos and videos that people have shared will not be affected.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Hotels and resorts won’t be heavily affected by this, but if you’re seeing a change in how your business profile looks, know that this is to be expected. Make sure that all of your information is displayed correctly and organized well, and you’ll be good to go.

Instagram Adds Alternative Text Descriptions 

Instagram has just released two new accessibility features designed to make the platform better suited for visually impaired users. Users can create their own text descriptions of their photos, which will be read through screen readers when someone scrolls through or clicks on the photo. There’s also the option to use automatic alternative text, utilizing object recognition technology to provide audio descriptions of your image or video.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Increased accessibility means more access to your target audience, and ensuring that all potential guests have the best experience possible when interacting with your brand. Add alt text to all images and videos; it just takes a few seconds, but for some of your guests it will make a world of difference.

You can access “alt text” under the “Advanced Settings” of your post before you publish it.

Instagram Cracks Down On “Inauthentic” Actions 

Instagram announced last month that they’re doing something about “inauthentic” actions on the platform, including fake likes, followers, and comments. They’ve gotten serious about weeding out bots and third-party services designed to artificially inflate social proof, and they are utilizing machine learning tools to find them.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Twitter and Facebook have already undergone their own purges for the same purpose, and now it’s Instagram’s turn. If you’re using any third-party service to get more social proof, remove them immediately. We recommend that our clients never use these services to begin with, as they may give you more followers, but typically product spam-like engagement if any that doesn’t do your brand any favors.

LinkedIn Company Pages Get An Update 

LinkedIn has just announced that the “next generation” of Company Pages have been created. There are new features that are focusing more heavily on community building, and will include content suggestion tools for admins, more advanced analytics, and improved mobile capabilities.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

The goal of the new LinkedIn Company Pages is to improve community building capabilities with your employees and your followers. Share content to keep your staff members engaged and up to date about what’s happening and engage guests and potential followers.

Twitter Is “Rethinking Everything About the Service 

Twitter has made a few big changes this year, and now it looks like they’re considering several more. According to Twitter, they’re “rethinking everything about the service,” so we could see some massive updates to the platform and how it’s used next year.

For now, here’s some of the rumored and in-testing features:

●     Timeline toggle, which is in testing and allows users to switch between the chronological and algorithmic timelines.

●     Eliminating the like button, which Twitter has not confirmed or denied, but may be done in an attempt to improve the quality and authenticity of interactions.

●     Edit buttons for published Tweets, which is being considered but may not be implemented because the platform doesn’t necessarily want people to be able to change tweets “all the way back in time.”

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

If you’re marketing on Twitter, there are no immediate changes to made aware of now, but it’s important to know that there are clearly changes coming. Be prepared, and make sure that your other social channels are built up just in case.

Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

Even though each social media platform is unique in a number of ways, there are a lot of similarities they all share, too. A few trends are visible across the board in the social media world, and this month we’ve seen features that are focused on improved integration and making more information available to both marketers and users alike. Let’s take a look at each update and how they’ll affect hotels and resorts.

Instagram Releases Ability to Share IGTV Previews in Stories 

Instagram has been linked to their stand-alone app IGTV since it launched in June, which features long-form video content. Now, users can share their favorite IGTV videos to their Stories, which will generate a short preview. If your Stories’ followers click on the preview, they’ll be taken to the full IGTV video.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Hotels and resorts have a lot of great opportunities to turn their IGTV channel into their own mini Travel Channel, and now you can send your Instagram followers directly to more long-form content. Stories are a popular feature and using them to leverage your followers to send them to the content you most want them to see can get you more views on your video content.

Stories Ads Have Come to Facebook 

Facebook now has access to the same Story Ads that have been available on Instagram for awhile now. When you’re creating your ad campaigns, you can enable Facebook Story Ads just as you would with Instagram Ads, and utilize the same features like CTAs, links to your site, and detailed reporting. This is all available through the Facebook Ad Manager.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Airbnb was one of the first brands that tested Instagram Story Ads when they were first created, and they saw incredible results from the campaigns. This included a 13-point lift in ad recall and a 5-point lift in association of Airbnb enabling travelers to book experiences in the 25-34 year old demographic.

Story Ads can be an effective way to target potential guests in that demographic, so use them to showcase everything your resort has to offer and get clicks to your site.

Google Campaign Manager Has LinkedIn Attribution Reporting 

Google’s Campaign Manager now has an integration with LinkedIn Adsthat allows you to better see how your LinkedIn Ads are performing, both individually in detail and compared to other PPC platforms. This will make it easier for your LinkedIn Ads to get the attribution for conversions that they deserve and have a better understanding of how your campaigns are performing.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

If you’re running LinkedIn Ads in order to attract guests to stay or hold events at your hotel, this is something to look into. Attribution can be tricky with PPC platforms, especially when people aren’t likely to convert right away for something that requires planning like a conference or a trip. Gaining more insight into how your ads on each platform are actually bringing you customers will help you better allocate your ad spend moving forward.

Pinterest Following Tab Feed Gets A New Look 

Pinterest has updated their Following tab, which allows users to see content only from the people and boards they’ve chosen to follow. This tab has just gotten a redesign, and now will feature an “immersive” single-Pin format on mobile, showing users singular pins one at a time in order to help them focus on what they’re seeing and quickly scan from idea to idea.

Image source: Pinterest 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

The idea behind the redesign is that people are more likely to be interested in the content that they’ve chosen to follow, so helping them to focus on mobile by showing them one pin at a time like an Instagram feed will help you connect with potential guests following you on Pinterest. Getting that kind of attention will increase the likelihood of clicks and results, making the platform more valuable.

Hospitality Social Media News is brought to you by Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, LodgingInteractive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. For more information:

Telephone: 877-291-4411

Email: info@lodginginteractive.com

This Week in Hospitality Social Media Marketing News- November 13, 2018

We’re nearing the end of the year and are getting ready for the big holiday rush, but now is no time to let your social media marketing slide. There have been a lot of new updates that have rolled out in the past week that are directly relevant to hotels and resorts, so let’s dive in and look at each one.

Facebook Caught Inflating Video Metrics 

Facebook has recently come under fire with the accusations that they’ve been inflating video metrics, making it look like people were watching more video than they were. Facebook has admitted to this in the past, but a current lawsuit is suggesting that the inflation was much higher than acknowledged. Instead of being inflated by 60-80%, research has shown that it was likely closer to 150-900%.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Be careful when using video metrics to make big marketing or advertising decisions on Facebook. Until things are truly resolved, you may be getting false positives. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use video advertising, because even with inflated metrics it presents a great opportunity as an advertising format. That being said, watch other key metrics on these campaigns, too.

Facebook Releases “Instant Forms” For More Objectives 

Facebook’s instant forms– previously known as “lead forms” — have been restricted to the lead generation objective. Moving forward, advertisers will be able to attach instant forms to the brand awareness, traffic, and reach objectives in newsfeed and Story ads on both Instagram and Facebook.

This update will also give us “platform reporting,” which shows advertisers whether an instant form was submitted through Facebook or Instagram so you can better determine which channel is more effective.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Instant forms open up within Facebook, fill out as much of a user’s information as possible automatically, and provide advertisers with that data. They’re most often used to collect contact information like email addresses. Use them to your advantage, capturing guest information so that you can reach out to them with special, relevant offers at a later date.

Facebook Releases New Video Options 

Facebook has just released two new video ad buying options on Facebook: In-Stream Reserve and ThruPlay.

In-Stream Reserve allows advertisers to choose placements in video that come from “the most engaging, highest quality” publishers on Facebook, increasing the likelihood that your ad will be watched fully by an engaged audience. These ads are purchased in advance.

ThruPlay gives advertisers more control over what they’re paying for, allowing them to optimize and pay for ads only if they’re watched either through to completion or for a minimum of 15 seconds.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

More control for advertisers is always a plus, especially with video ad metrics being inflated. Hotels and resorts can use this feature to increase the likelihood that they’re only paying for views of a substantial length. It can also help advertisers get those views by offering high-engaging, high-view placements.

Facebook Cracks Down on “Low Quality” Ads 

Facebook has put a lot of effort into reducing “low quality” ads from appearing in the feed, and they’re taking further steps to do so. They’re now looking for certain triggers like misleading information or sensationalized language when approving ads.

Ads that are deemed “low quality” will either struggle to get the number of placements they should or may even be rejected all together.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Most hotels and resorts won’t be hugely affected by this, as our industry isn’t known for bait-and-switches or misleading information like other industries. That being said, make sure that your ad campaigns are straight forward. You can still capture the excitement and luxury of staying at your resort without going over-the-top with hyperbolic language.

Instagram Announced “Promote” for Stories

Instagram has just announced their new “Promote” option for stories, which works exactly like Facebook’s and Instagram’s “boost post” options. Advertisers will be able to pay to have their already-running Stories appear in users’ feeds, like other Story ads that you’d run. This feature has not been released yet, but it’s being tested globally, so keep an eye out.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Instagram Story Ads can take a little while to create, so this will be a great asset to hotels and resorts using Stories to connect with their guests. If you choose to use the feature, make sure to use an instant form in the Story so that you’re able to drive real results if viewers are interested.

Pinterest Releases “Promoted Carousel” 

Pinterest has just rolled out a new “Promoted Carousel” ad format, which works similarly to Facebook’s carousel ads. Advertisers can add multiple cards to their ads, with each card featuring a unique image, title, description, and (if you choose) landing page.

Image source: Pinterest 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Carousel ads have higher-than-average performance (including CTR) than other ad formats on Facebook, so the same could be true for Pinterest. Use carousel ads to showcase different locations, or different features, rooms, or amenities in a single hotel or resort to show everything you have to offer.

Hospitality Social Media News is brought to you by Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. For more information:

Telephone: 877-291-4411

Email: info@lodginginteractive.com

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Facebook, Instagram, YouTube: Announcements & New Features Impacting Hotels and Resorts

Hospitality Social Media News

 

As we ramp up for the holiday season, multiple social media sites have proved that they’re not slowing down just because it’s near the end of the year. In the past two weeks we’ve seen big announcements and new features from platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, all of which can impact hotels and resorts.

Instagram Rolls Out Quick Replies & GIFs in Messaging 

Instagram has rolled out new direct messaging features, including quick replies for business accounts and GIF sharing. Quick replies allow business accounts to save messages that answer commonly-asked questions such as resort checkout hours, pricing, or amenities available.

Both new features are available in the latest versions of Android and iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to share GIFs will allow hotels and resorts to showcase their personality when interacting with guests if they see fit, but the true shining star here is the quick replies feature.

Hotels and resorts can save canned responses to everything from “Hi, we’ll respond to your message shortly!” to “Thanks for asking. Our in-resort restaurant does take reservations but they’re not necessary.” This can save you a lot of time without needing to rely on chatbots while still answering guest questions promptly.

Instagram Stories Accepts Longer Videos

Instagram Stories is now letting users post videos longer than fifteen seconds… sort of. They’ll now accept videos for uploading that are longer, but they’ll then break them down into multiple sections. The different sections will be played one after another.

This feature is currently only available on Android devices. It’s not known if or when it will come to iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Many hotels and resorts are already using multiple short Stories to tell a longer story arch and keep users engaged. Now, however, you won’t have to manually break them down with another tool before you upload them, which will save you a significant amount of time.

If you do use this tool, make sure to check and see how the video is broken down; in some cases, it may be more beneficial to do it yourself manually to ensure that different sections of videos begin and end at the exact right times. If you’re featuring videos of your hotel, for example, each individual Story could show your lobby, your waterfront views, and a suite in individual Stories; you’d want to ensure that these were broken down into distinct sections for maximum impact.

New YouTube Ad Extensions & Reporting Announced

YouTube will soon be rolling out new types of actionable ad extensions. Soon, you’ll be able to add extensions to your TrueView in-stream ads that allow users to take actions like downloading an app or book a trip to you.

Image source: Google

YouTube will also be releasing new metrics to show the overall impact of your ad campaigns, including a groundbreaking “lifted users” metric that will tell you how many users were influenced by the ad even if they don’t convert immediately.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to make YouTube video ads more effective and to better understand how they’re working will make YouTube video ads more valuable. If you’re utilizing video ads for your hotel and your guest demographics are on YouTube, check out the new “book a trip” extensions to see how they work for you.

Instagram Is Testing Hashtag-Free Posts

According to The Next Web, Instagram is testing a type of format that would allow users to publish posts that have hashtags attached, but not included in the captions. It looks like instead of being placed in captions, the hashtags may appear in blocks underneath posts. This hasn’t been officially confirmed by Instagram, but Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong was able to snag a few screenshots.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Right now this feature is still in testing, but it could mean a big change in Instagram best practices if it gets approved. Hashtags will still be just as important, giving you the powerful reach potential they do now, though you’ll need to be careful to make sure your branded hashtag is placed in a way that guests will see it like on your profile or in the caption itself if possible. We’ll keep an eye on this one and update you as more information comes out.

Facebook Announces Premieres & Video Polls 

Facebook has just announced a globe launch of their new Premieres, which is new video format that’s more interactive. Creators can record a video for fans ahead of time, release it at the time of their choosing, and then allow users to engage with it in real viewing time.

Image source: TechCrunch

Facebook is also releasing Facebook Live video polls, which can be used to increase engagement and make the videos more dynamic in real time.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Premieres have all the advantages of Facebook Lives, but they come with the added bonus of no unpleasant surprises. You won’t have to worry about technical glitches, someone swearing loudly in the background, or getting stumped by a difficult guest question. These videos will be created ahead of time and can be edited, but you can still engage with users as they watch your video in real time, making them more engaging than typical non-live videos and thus more impactful.

Video marketing is only going to continue to be an important part of marketing moving into 2019, so use all the tools at your disposal– including Premiers and video polls– in order to help your content stand out and build relationships with your fans.

Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

Hospitality Social Media News

 

The last two weeks had some big news in the social media world, with everything from access to new APIs being rolled out to features that give users new ways to shop on platform. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in to look at all the social media changes affecting hotels and resorts happening now.

Instagram Announces New Nametag Feature 

Instagram has just announced a new feature called “Nametag,” which makes it easier for users to follow and request to follow people in person. It works similarly to QR codes, and users will scan your Nametag in-app in order to see the option to follow you.

Image: Instagram 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The easier it is to get your guests to follow you, the more likely it is that they will. A quick test revealed that users can scan Nametags that are on printed paper, computer screens, and more. Print yours out according to scale on any signage that you have asking guests to follow you or share UGC, or consider adding it to certain emails like what guests receive right after they make a booking.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Dynamic Ads to All Advertisers

LinkedIn has officially rolled out its own version of dynamic ads through the campaign manager. These ads are personalized based on the information publicly available in users’ profiles and utilize templates of information to create highly relevant ad campaigns to each individual user seeing the ad.

Image source: LinkedIn 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

LinkedIn is often overlooked by hotels and resorts, but if you’re targeting B2B employees who need lodging while they travel for work, events looking for conference rooms, or even businesses looking to book rooms for their employees, it’s a great option to keep in mind. The personalization of dynamic ads will let you scale your campaigns to massive levels very quickly, potentially maximizing success on platform.

Twitter Prioritizes Live Video 

Live video streams are now prioritized by Twitter and the platform has stated that live broadcasts are going to be featured at the top of your timeline.

Image source: Twitter 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If you’re on Twitter and want to get more visibility for your Tweets, find new ways to go Live. Broadcast events you’re hosting at your resort, news about any specials that you have, or have a Q&A live about what to do on your next visit with viewers (and always with a few questions ready to go).

Twitter Offers Audio-Only Broadcast Feature 

If you’re feeling stumped for more ways to go live, note that Twitter has just launched audio-only broadcasts on both Periscope and Twitter for iOS. There’s a good chance that these live audio broadcasts could be given priority in the timeline, too.

Image source: Twitter

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

More live content is always a plus, but there’s a good chance that video will still be prioritized by both Twitter and the guests that you’re trying to reach. Especially for hotels and resorts, utilizing the beautiful backdrop of your actual location (be it the lobby or a waterfront view) is a good strategy whenever possible. Use audio sparingly as appropriate, and focus more on live video.

Shoppable Snap Ads Roll Out to Everyone 

Snapchat has just expanded their shoppable snap ads accessible to all advertisers through the self-serve ad platform. All advertisers can now create, upload, and advertise product catalogues that work similarly to Instagram’s shoppable posts. They also improved their tracking pixel so that advertisers can target users based on more specific on-site actions.

Image source: Snapchat 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If your hotel or resort sells any type of physical goods– including small items you want to push like novelty picture frames or clothing– this new ad format could be something to test out. Based on the user demographics, many businesses will likely benefit more from using Shoppabe Instagram posts, however, so I’d recommend testing those out before moving to Snapchat ads.

Pinterest Expands Marketing API 

Pinterest just announced that they’re opening their content marketing API to third-party influencer marketing platforms. Businesses using these apps will now be able to see how influencer campaigns are performing in terms of key metrics like impressions, click-throughs, followers, and more.

Eight influencer marketing platforms are currently participating in this launch, including: AspireIQ, HYPR, Influence.co, IZEA, Klear, Mavrck, Obvious.ly and Open Influence.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If your hotel or resort is utilizing influencer marketing to increase reach and build trust on Pinterest, this is great news. The apps you’re using will be able to give you more information about how those campaigns are really performing, creating more transparency and insight so you can make well-informed decisions moving forward.

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.