At Your Service: Facebook Takes On Role Of Travel Concierge

by , Nov 28, 2011, 8:39 AM
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Remember Michael J. Fox in the 1990 movie “For Love Or Money?” Doug, a Manhattan hotel concierge, procured gifts, exchanged tickets and surprised guests with his care and knowledge of what they needed without them even realizing it. Today, Doug’s services are in great demand in tourism marketing because anticipating and providing what consumers want before they ask for it has become expected. It makes the difference between a purchase and a “no sale” in this competitive marketplace.

While travel brand advertising typically directed consumers to company websites for additional information, it’s now increasingly common for ads to lead people to brand Facebook pages. Is your Facebook page worthy of being a marketing destination? Fostering conversation is merely the first step. Progressive brands are taking on the role of travel concierge, enhancing their Facebook pages to engage and serve fans without forcing them to leave the site.

Just as we may underestimate the challenge of being a hotel concierge – from getting reservations at popular restaurants to scoring tickets to sold-out performances – truly meeting the asked and unstated needs of fans may sound easier than it is in reality. So here are several guidelines for serving your brand’s community well.

Engage and Respond

First, make sure you’ve covered the basics. Your team should be monitoring and responding to questions, comments and, especially, complaints shared on the brand’s Facebook wall. Make sure you’re not posting too frequently; by talking less, your fans can be heard more.

Provide Relevant Travel Information

Second, make sure there is enough information available to satisfy visitors on the provided Info, Photos, and Events tabs on the left side of the page. Build out tabs with helpful applications like a Plan A Trip application that link to specific web pages users are looking for on your website such as restaurants, lodging and attractions in your area. You can develop and post descriptions of specific types of trips, too, like foodie, adventure or cultural. Anticipate what first-time visitors would want to know and deliver. And remember to say thank you because a little appreciation goes a long way toward inspiring loyalty. For guidance about how to make your page engaging and compelling, check out Facebook’s Resources page.

Make It Easy to Book

Third, consider what services are logical to provide directly on the page, whether that’s enabling fans to buy airline tickets, check in for flights, book hotel rooms, reserve restaurant tables, sign up for tours, purchase tickets to attractions, or check the weather. You’ll need to work with a social media application developer to add this level of functionality to your page.

Showcase and Promote

Fourth, direct people to the new information. Post about it on the wall and purchase Facebook advertising targeting your brand’s existing fans to call attention to the new content and ensure your page is still showing up in their news feeds.

Lastly, if your brand truly operates as a concierge, take the concept offline, too. Brainstorm what you can do in the real world to provide service above and beyond the expected.  What would Doug do? He’d greet each customer by name, notify them of potential issues he’s resolved, offer iPads for the duration of the stay, make bicycles available for free day-use, and, of course, ask how else he can help. Because each person is different, the possibilities are endless.

3 comments on "At Your Service: Facebook Takes On Role Of Travel Concierge".

  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: November 28, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.
    FB ? Never ! It is nobody's business what I can afford or not afford or how much I spent on what. Very bad assumptions can be made and it all can turn into a very bad situation down the pike. There is so much to find on line and in books, yes, books.
  2. Jaclyn Amoroso from OnQ Marketing Melbourne
    commented on: November 28, 2011 at 8:11 p.m.
    Great article Vicki. There are many travel companies out there with a social media presence that unfortunately lack strategy, and you have posted some very helpful tips. The key in most instances is to try different tactics and keep an eye on Facebook insights to monitor what type of posts and updates are working for your page. For some more handy tips visit http://www.onqmarketing.com.au/travel-agents-and-social-media/
  3. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd
    commented on: November 29, 2011 at 6:35 a.m.
    Facebook is a wannabe in travel - a solution looking for a problem. it appears it is prepared to try anything to get worthwhile, measurable traction in travel in a commercial sense. Frankly, travel is for the travel social media, like Trip Advisor, even they're in hot water. Until Facebook can materially influence the travel sopping and conversion process, and be proved convincingly to do so, with meaningful ROI stats, it will always be on the sidelines.

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