Facebook 2014. Let’s take a look at what some marketing gurus are saying about Facebook. What is the outlook for Facebook 2014 for your bed and breakfast business? In an article by Daniel Edward Craig in a recent Hotel Marketing newsletter. Is Facebook a sales, marketing or customer service channel? Good question. I have taken some quotes from the article that I found interesting and may give some insight into how Facebook 2014 could become more powerful and profitable for your B&B.
Engaging Your Fans
“The real power behind Facebook is its sharing features. A comment is worth seven times more than a like, and a share is worth 13 more times than a like.” The article’s suggestion is to…”Hold an onsite contest such as asking a guest to post a selfie or a photo of the view from their room or to vote for the best local bars, restaurant.” I would also add to that list. i.e. favorite ski trail, museum exhibit, or hiking trail. The list could be endless. This type of activity engages the guests to share their experiences.
A good example of a Facebook post is from Norumbega Inn in Camden Maine. In the “spirit” of the season we bring you: Chef Phil’s Drunken Irish Soda Bread! Enjoy and if you make it, share your photos! The post includes this great photo and the recipe. Another interesting point from the article is…”pictures of food get shared the most, photos of local scenery get liked the most and promotional posts receive low engagement rates.”
Facebook as a Customer Service Channel
“More travelers are using Facebook to share feedback and make inquiries directly with hotels. Facebook can be a channel for helping guests to plan their stay, for connecting with them onsite and for keeping in touch post-stay.” The key here is ‘helping guests plan their stay’.
Example: Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore became a tourist destination as Lake Superior was frozen over enough this winter for people to walk the ice caves. The Pinehurst Inn in Bayfield WI kept their FB followers informed through posts on the opening and the conditions. The event increased tourism and guests flocked to the Pinehurst Inn.
Facebook as a Marketing Channel
“…people go to Facebook to socialize, not plan trips.” This sounds like a contradiction from the advice just mentioned but the article goes on to say…”the path to purchase is increasingly social, and more customers are checking out lodging Facebook pages and inquiring with friends before making booking decisions.” If you post current events (like the example of Pinehurst Inn), activities, new restaurant openings, culinary classes, added amenities, guestroom makeovers, anything that will spur interest and help them make a decision to book with you.
Another example of engaging (pun to follow) your FB followers. From Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, Hot Springs, Arkansas. ‘Mathematicians, we have an exciting announcement! We are giving away a FREE Sapphire Elopement to take place on Pi Day (March 14, 2014)! Check out our blog for more details on how to win this intimate ceremony: http://lookoutpointinn.com/blog. If you recall it was mentioned in the article that ‘promotional posts get low engagement rates’. But the Lookout Point Inn has a strong wedding business. Couples looking for a wedding venue for their elopement would find this giveaway offering on Facebook, their blog, their website as well as local press and a popular national bed and breakfast blog. The word got out. This activity on all these marketing channels had the opportunity to engage and then hopefully get shared.
Facebook: A Little of Everything
“So it seems that a well-managed presence on Facebook 2014 can be a modest hybrid of all three channels: marketing, guest service, even revenue. The key is to stay disciplined, to make satisfaction the priority.” I think the key word here is discipline. Post often. Encourage comments and respond to them. Engage in the conversation like you would at any social event. Have an FB party!
Thanks for Listening,