booking keyboard
517 days ago
 

Hotels checking in with booking engines on Facebook and mobile – or maybe not

Booking engines within Facebook fan pages for hotels were once considered revolutionary, but it appears to be a growing trend for many property owners.

At least that is what one technology provider reckons, with a survey of 400 hoteliers by TravelClick revealing almost half (48%) have a booking engine on Facebook.

Half of the remaining properties in the survey said they intended on having one put in place during 2013.

Mobile bookings are kicking in, too.

Again, half of those polled in the study said they have an application which allows direct bookings for users on a phone or tablet device.

Despite the growth in social and mobile channels for bookings, a majority (53%) claimed they will see the most growth in bookings over the course of 2013 via their existing desktop channel.

However, the apparent enthusiasm for Facebook-based booking engines in the study flies in the face of the recent DigitalIQ study on hotels by the L2 Think Tank.

Its own investigation into the hotel sector (admittedly, a small sample size of just over 50) found a drop from 54% in 2012 to 34% in 2013 with the number of properties having partial F-Booking facilities.

Site traffic emanating from hotel fan pages has also dropped over the same period from 5% to a lowly 2%, L2 found.

NB: Book keyboard image via Shutterstock.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  1. jj sheppard

    I wouldn’t discount the importance of Google+ Local & Google NOW from a mobile, and localised perspective, Fb has nothing to really touch this at the moment in my view, and I’m not so sure graph search will disrupt Google’s already impressive mobile assets.

    Given there are already baked in to Android allowing for seamless UX between Google apps, and on the fastest growing mobile o/s, means you don’t need to log into a 3rd party app to perform searches, layer a decent booking engine into G+ local and you also have a powerful asset to leverage for your respective property.

    Personal reviews and +1`s are now filtering through from circles and friends, and Google has stated they will be filtering out (not sure how) dubious looking reviews, adding more credibility to an important search signal.

    Here’s an example of what I think could be a benchmark for multi property hotels, or DMO`s, http://adage.com/article/digital/td-bank-invests-google-content/239774/ and one of the pages, i guess this renders nicely on mobile,

    Dont be fooled by the Google+ ghost town link bait stories either, the growth trajectory is going off the scale at the moment,some of it organic, and some slightly forced, however in my view its not a case of if, but when, with regards to business` joining Google + its not all about a social network, its also the benefit you`ll get in organic search engine page results,

    Will our already fairly well established habits of using Google as our primary search mode change to Facebook ,with the advent of graph search? Will it become our first choice search route to new products and services? I’m not convinced it will, of course Fb could leverage its relationship with Tripadvisor in travel related graph search results, now that would add another interesting dimension.

    As ive always said to hotel owners, you should look at social media as a profit protector (as well and many other “things”), and not as the “silver bullet” sales tool.

    Facebook`s GS and Google+ these two key tool could really disrupt the OTA`s particularly from a mobile perspective, opening up direct booking channels driven by your social media.

    Embedding a booking “widget” into your Facebook page will help facilitate this in my view, of course I foresee some kind of Fb meta search and booking engine coming along (or perhaps a collab with TripAdvisor)

    However if ultimately reducing commission charges while holding occupancy is the net result, that equals profit protection, and that is a big win for many!

     
  2. Cory

    jj… bingo and well stated. I hadn’t even thought of the OTA angle… that’s a great point!
    Additionally, from a simple search standpoint, I’d regard a recommendation from a friend or connection “more credible” thank those from a simple Google search.
    Obviously, there are a lot of kinks to be worked-out, but the potential is incredible. Exciting times ahead!

     
  3. jj sheppard

    Cory, i`m with you on that, i smell monetisation from Fb on a grand scale.

    What if Fb allowed properties to “feature” in graph search results, properties that utilised an Fb booking engine for example, one that took commission per room sold? fully linked to NFC tech so revolutionising the check process for example, and side stepping OTA`s, the more revenue going through the booking engine, the greater the presence on graph search, its a win win…..

     
  4. Fernando

    It is mistake to think that people will be interested on using a booking engine in facebook, but that doesn,t mean that a facebook app cannot increase sales or brand/fan engagement

     
  5. Bernie O'Keefe

    If it costs little to do then it doesn’t hurt, but don’t expect a huge amount of bookings. Maybe the Graph Search will change that but i wouldn’t count on it

     
  6. Ryan C Haynes

    I’d like to know how many bookings are generated and the revenue here. Is it really adding value, or just answers the ‘social media must-have solution’?

     
  7. Cory

    Just wait til Graph Search hits full stride… I suspect these numbers will change dramatically rivaling traditional search.

     
  8. Sandra

    I’d love to know if there is a Facebook booking engine that is recommended over others for ease of use on the front and back ends.

     
    • emre

      Hi sandra,
      Actually there is one you can really rely on. Booking.com has its facebook booking button application since a while. You can easily search it on fb and add it on a fanpage of a hotel where you must be an admin for the and the propery must already be bookable on booking.com. The best part is there is no fee involved, it shares the same allotment and prices that you already have on booking.com and you paay only 3% commission. İ hope my answer helps.
      Regards from istannbul

       
      • Sandra

        That is good info! Thank you Emre!

         
      • Sandra

        Emre,
        I can’t seem to find any information on Booking.com about this.
        We are using them for all our hotels – but the one link I found seemed to be a dead link?
        Are you able to point me in the right direction?

         
    • Annette

      Hi Sandra,

      If you are looking for a commission free online booking system for facebook have a look at http://www.Beds24.com. You can test the system for free to make sure it is right for you.

       
  9. Paige

    I’d be interested to know where those hotels are located. I’m guessing Europe?

     
 
 

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