Facebook is probably the greatest marketing platform for small & medium businesses such as hotels. It has many great marketing products and features such as: Facebook business pages, Facebook ads, Messenger, Groups, Marketplace, Dynamic travel ads, and more.
The technology plays a huge role, and a basic understanding of Facebook’s technology is required to conduct a successful marketing operation on Facebook. However, it is still much more important to understand what the hotel’s overall strategy should be on Facebook. When you understand what should be done, it’s much easier to figure out how to do that technically.
What I am constantly mentioning in my blog posts is that building a marketing funnel is something that will always pay its way to a positive ROI as a mid-term/long-term online strategy for SMBs.
Fortunately, Facebook marketing tools allow hotels to set up a marketing funnel pretty easily.
What you need is to understand the purpose of each of Facebook’s marketing tools, and the role they play within the funnel.
So let’s take a deep dive into the specialization of Facebook’s core marketing and advertising tools and show the way hotels should be using them to build their own independent and sustainable online direct bookings channel.
This is a hotel’s core web asset of its Facebook marketing operation. It is basically its ID from Facebook’s point of view on the business. Your hotel will be eligible for all of Facebook’s marketing tools only via its Facebook Business Page. The ads platform, messenger chatbots, retargeting, dynamic travel ads are all available for Facebook Business Page owners.
Besides the official requirement of having a Facebook Page to use other marketing products on Facebook, the business page is also the front of the hotel on Facebook and maybe on the internet in general.
The hotel’s Facebook page must transmit the core values of the hotel to its potential guests who visit the page. It has to have elements of an information desk with important phone numbers, full address and direction, description of the property/properties, amenities list, spectacular images of the pool, restaurant, rooms, etc.
The business page should be one click away from a direct communication with the hotel representative, or at least a direct contact form. Hotels can utilize a Facebook messenger button on the page, or redirect the user to the contact page on its website.
Facebook also allows hotels to present one of the most important contents that can help the customer choose the right hotel, and it’s a “reviews” section.
If you decide to open the option for users to leave reviews on your Facebook page, make sure to take this very seriously and reply to each and every negative comment.
The Facebook page is also the asset that your potential guests will interact with. Therefore, it’s recommended to post regularly (2-4 times per week) to keep a continuous communication with your audience.
Facebook Ads Manager
The Ads Manager is the main tool of the Facebook Ads platform. This is the place where you actually run the ads. The Ads Manager is responsible for the entire ad campaign structure: scheduling, budgeting, creative creation, and performance tracking.
Compared to Google AdWords (Google’s ad platform), the Ads Manager is a pretty intuitive tool, which also helps many hoteliers to independently manage the ads operations and the media buying processes within Facebook.
Facebook Custom Audiences
Okay! So this is where the real magic happens. Facebook Custom Audiences is actually the name of the advanced targeting and retargeting tool within Facebook’s ads platform. This tool allows hoteliers to upload their own prospect lists to Facebook and run ads inside their feeds. It also used to segment different audience lists based on their position in the marketing funnel.
A quick reminder. The marketing funnel consists of 3 main stages: Top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel. Each step represents the distances of a prospect from its final purchase decision.
In order to maximize the functionality of the Custom Audiences tool, there’s a simple process that is required from the hotel to implement. A pixel should be embedded on all pages of the hotel’s website. This pixel is a small piece of code that collects data from users who visit your website in order to help you personalize Facebook ads that you can later serve to them.
So here is an example of how a hotel should use the Custom Audiences feature to segment its marketing funnel.
Top of the funnel audience:
A lookalike audience made of source audiences of Facebook page fans, or its website visitors, or of Facebook users who engaged with the page.
Middle of the funnel audience:
A custom audience of Facebook users who watched your video, or those who engaged with any of your page’s content.
Bottom of the funnel audiences:
A custom retargeting audience of people who visited your hotel’s website and conducted a search for available dates & rooms.
This is the last big marketing product that was released by Facebook, and many marketers around the world rely on this great tool for their acquisition and lead generation campaigns. However, Facebook Messenger is also a great tool for customer service and support, and therefore it can provide a value for hotels that are maybe the most customer service focused businesses in the world.
Facebook messenger should be used to provide guests and potential guests quick answers with the help of a chatbot. The bot can be easily created via several chatbot development programs such as Chatfuel or Maychat.
Check this chatbot of the W Barcelona hotel (make sure to click “Get Started”) to see a clear example of how hotels should use Facebook Messenger chatbot for customer service
Facebook Dynamic Travel Ads
While this is one of the most advanced and technically challenging marketing products out there, it is fully designed for hotels to use.
It allows the hotel to upload a live inventory file (a catalog) to the Facebook ads platform, and generate automated ads based on personal preferences of those users who visited the hotel’s websites.
For instance, a small hotel chain will be able to not only target Facebook users who searched for available dates on a specific property, but also offer an additional coupon to those prospects who didn’t book. Or even upsell with additional extras to guests who have already booked.
The main advantage of this ad product is that it’s fully automated, and once an inventory catalog is set along with the ad campaigns, it will run autonomously and present relevant and personalized Facebook ads to all website visitors.
Creating a profitable direct bookings channel that hotels can rely on requires a holistic approach towards the use of Facebook’s marketing products.
On the one hand, it won’t be enough to only run ads campaigns, if the hotels’ Facebook page doesn’t provide the right information and user experience to assist the prospect in overcoming its objections regarding an unknown hotel.
On the other hand, a well-managed and well-constructed Facebook business page still lacks many of the important features that are required to conduct a Full Funnel Marketing strategy and push prospects down the funnel until they make their final purchase decision.
Hotels that use a combined portfolio of several Facebook marketing tools generate the ideal environment for the creation and maintenance of an online direct booking channel.
I know how frustrating it can be for hoteliers to search the web for high-quality Facebook marketing resources, and especially ones that are dedicated to hotels. Therefore, I’ve browsed the web and collected all the best resources on Facebook Marketing for hotels, providing a single curated list of resources.
If you’re already implementing a few online marketing strategies, you have probably noticed that it can be pretty difficult to convert website traffic into direct bookings.
BookingDirection was designed exactly to help solve this pain for hoteliers.
Our innovative price compare widget for hotel websites encourages website visitors to book directly from your hotel’s website, converting lookers into bookers.
Our clients see a 41% increase in direct booking on average.
We offer a free demo of the product, and we believe it’s worth trying if you’re looking for ways to cut out high OTA commissions by increasing direct bookings on your website.
Sign up here to get the complete list of Facebook Marketing Resources for Hoteliers, and a demo of BookingDirection.