Zuckerberg: Ten tips by big sister for using Facebook in travel
The Zuckerberg in question was not the hoodie-wearing CEO, but his sister Randi who is Facebook’s director of market development and one of the brand’s greatest spokespeople.
Her presentation was titled “Change Through Social Media: How the Web is Radically Altering Our World”.
A few people I spoke to before the speech wondered whether it was just going to be a generic Facebook pitch, but were hopeful that she would tailor the presentation to the travel sector.
And that she did. Her presentation was not just travel-focused, it was clear that she spent a lot of time thinking about travel and did a significant amount of research on how social networking is impacting the travel industry.
Zuckerberg noted: “So many deeply personal and emotional experiences are related to travel” – engagements, weddings, family vacations and the like. And as such people are looking to trusted sources for recommendations and suggestions of where to go, where to stay, and what to do.
She singled out TripAdvisor as one company who was leveraging social (and Facebook) very well. TripAdvisor not simply using Facebook login credentials, but deeply integrating the Facebook API in order to present a completely customized TripAdvisor home page.
Finally, Zuckerberg shared her list of best ways that companies can use Facebook in travel, with several examples for each tip.
So, without further ado:
1. Treat fans special
Go out of your way to provide an awesome experience to your fans. In particular, focus on digital influencers.
2. Timely contests and promotions
Contests are always great ways to engage customers and gain fans. Zuckerberg highlighted American Airlines’ Mystery Miles promotion that allowed AA to go from 2000 to 200,000 fans in the space of just two days.
3. Include and feature your fans
One example was Fairmont Hotels provided flip cams to guests to enable fans to share and highlight aspects of the hotels. Zuckerberg also suggested to feature employees as well.
4. Track keywords and analytics
There is a tremendous amount of analytics and keyword targeting available on Facebook. Take advantage of them. You may also want to target updates by geography.
5. Stay timely and relevant
Whether it’s using Facebook as a communications vehicle during a crisis (eg. the Ash Cloud) or taking advantage of current events (The Royal Wedding).
6. Embrace ocially conscious travel
One great example was Southwest Airlines making donations to the Make-a-Wish Foundation in return for mobile check-ins.
7. Use Facebook as a booking engine
It’s not about technology, it’s about the relationships you build over Facebook. If you can establish a strong relationship with your customers, and keep them engaged, you can reduce price sensitivity… which is good for profits.
8. Leverage mobile
Mobile is about context and location. Travel is about context and location. Offer deals. The Palms Hotel offered a free night’s stay or room upgrade for guests that checked in on Facebook.
9. Post engaging/creative content
Share special insights and insider tips or offer up non-standard content. Marriott just launched a Farmville-style game called My Marriott Hotel to get prospective employees excited about being in the hotel business. The Ritz Carlton Toronto live-streamed their opening.
10. Crowd sourcing
Get guests to help contribute ideas to improve your property.
What do you think of Zuckerberg’s “tips”? Are you using any of these ideas already? Is there a great idea that you’ve implemented that you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments.
Glenn Gruber is a contributing Node to Tnooz and AVP travel technologies at Ness Software Product Labs, a unit of Ness Technologies, responsible for developing the company’s strategy and solutions for the travel industry.The company has more than 60 product labs operating with many leading software companies and platform operators including OpenText, PayPal, Navteq, Chordiant, and Quintiles. Prior to Ness, Glenn was AVP strategic marketing at Symphony Services. He also held leadership roles at Kyocera and Israeli startups Power Paper Ltd. and Golden Screens Interactive Technologies. He also writes a personal blog, Software Industry Insights.