Best Western
1004 days ago
 

Best Western launches a Facebook app with reservations

If it seems as if you are chained to Facebook because you spend so much time gabbing with friends or listening to Spotify there, then there’s a hotel chain which will make your travel planning easier.

Best Western is now giving Facebook fans the ability to book any of its 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries without leaving the social network.

The hotel chain debuted the booking app, developed with Usablenet, on the Best Western Facebook page, and claims it “is the first major international hotel chain with this capability.”

Best Western is simply going to where it’s customers — or a significant portion of them — are.

“It’s imperative that we answer the call from our customer to make it easy to research, book and share travel experiences through their preferred channels,” says Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Best Western.

The hotel chain’s Facebook booking app, which it characterizes as “private and secure,” resembles a typical hotel booking widget, although in addition to searching by city or airport, it also enables you to search by attraction and points.

You can use the Facebook app to view photo galleries of the property and also insert promotion codes and corporate ID numbers before completing your hotel booking.

With all of the airlines, hotels and travel metasearch firms building Facebook apps these days, pretty soon you’ll be able to do everything on Facebook, but travel — although mobile apps ensure you can bring Facebook along with you as a travel companion.

 
 
Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.

 

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  1. Ankit

    I have been debating with myself about “how to differentiate between a Booker who has booked courtsey exposure on Facebook OR who already knows Best Western and just happened to visit Facebook page?”

    If I visit Best Wester official website, step upon the Facebook Page and eventually make a Reseravtion from there, would you call it Facebook magic?

     
  2. A. Thomas

    Hi Guys

    interesting conversation to the article.

    Here is another article on tnooz that is exactly i think about this issue mentioned from Troy about a more efficient use of all that data that facebook provides and offers to developers to build up applications.

    I think this makes it much clearer as a generally different approach

     
  3. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Hi Kerry: That’s a great point about creating rapport with your guests. For the record, Best Western claimed that it “is he first major international hotel chain with this capability.” My understanding is that Omni is North America, not necessarily international.

     
    • Kerry Kennedy

      Correct. Omni’s footprint is in the US, Candada, and Mexico. While I understand the caveat that Best Western placed in their claim, technically I’d have to use Troy’s “Meh” again! :)

       
  4. Kerry Kennedy

    Meh might be right….. Notwithstanding the slight error in the article claiming the Best Western is the first major chain to do this (note: Omni Hotels & Resorts launched our Facebook booking app in April 2011 as the first brand in hospitality to do so and was featured in USA Today > http://travel.usatoday.com/hotels/post/2011/05/omni-hotels-facebook-book-hotel-stay-on-facebook-omni-page/168581/1), it is true the fans dont hang out on the brand’s page to book travel. While it is nice to grant our customers the ability to book their stay without ever having to leave our facebook wall, it’s more about creating that rapport and sense of community with our guests in every place they are, providing them the tools to research and book travel when and how it’s convenient for them, and create the opportunity for us to connect with our guest in a more meaningful way.

    Kerry Kennedy
    VP E-Commerce, Omni Hotels

     
    • Troy Thompson

      Hey Kerry,

      Excellent point about the sense of community. 100% agree.

      Kudos to Omni for launching a booking engine app as well. I am not opposed to the idea of booking hotel / flight / car rental through Facebook, but I do think there are more important uses for Facebook.

      Community being the key.

      If I am savvy enough to realize that I could book via Facebook, then one can assume that I am also aware of the various options I have to book…direct, OTA, flash sale, etc.

      What I want is not another option to book, but a better option to book.

      As a Facebook user I have (knowingly or unknowingly) given you access to a wealth of data about myself and my friends.

      Use it and make the booking experience better.

      Great conversation.

      - Troy

       
  5. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Hi Troy: “Meh”? LOL. Anyway, I never said above that people are lounging around for hours on Best Western’s Facebook page, nor did I use the term “cutting edge” to describe the chain’s new booking app.

    I do like some of the app’s features, including the search by attractions feature. And, the app, if you go through it, is more feature-rich than your standard Facebook app.

    That being said, I don’t think the Best Western Facebook app will be a major revenue driver for Best Western anytime soon, but it’s launch is a sign of the times.

    Anyway, the development of a Best Western booking app in social media is interesting but, as the saying goes, remember Facebook wasn’t built in a day:)

     
    • Troy Thompson

      Hey Dennis,

      Glad you liked that. Well, certainly don’t think my comments were directed at the writer, rather the idea in general.

      Instead of just the booking app, I would rather see something that takes advantage of the Facebook connection. Something along the lines of what the team at Sparkloft did with the FriendFareFinder (http://friendfarefinder.com/).

      Tell me where the closest Best Western is in relation to my friends. Or show me friends that have stayed at the hotels. Reviews, photos, check-ins…again, relevant due to my connections with friends.

      The booking engine is fine, but considering the opportunities available with Facebook, it feels underwhelming.

      Again, a pointless attempt to seem socially relevant.

      But I liked the writing. Heh.

      - Troy

       
  6. Troy Thompson

    Meh.

    While there certainly are a significant number of Best Western customers on Facebook…true, by the way, for nearly every brand…I seriously doubt they are hanging out on the Best Western fan page.

    As studies have shown (http://ow.ly/9gUik) Facebook users consume content through their wall, not on individual Facebook brand pages.

    Sorry, but this feels like a rush to do something…anything…on Facebook to appear ‘cutting edge’.

    Good for PR, not really valuable for the consumer.

    - Troy

     
 
 

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