Last week we discussed how major changes from Google in 2016 affected hotel marketing. In part 2 of our 2016 recap, we turn our attention to the changes made by other major industry players that will impact hotel marketing in 2017.
Facebook Updated its Newsfeed
Facebook has been a great tool in a hotel marketer’s arsenal. Up until recently, you could easily post updates on your company Facebook page and it would appear in the newsfeed of you followers to drive organic traffic to your website. But that all changed in 2016, when Facebook announced a change to their news feed algorithm. Now, posts made by friends and family are given more visibility, and promotional posts (i.e. from businesses) appear less frequently.
Your posts won’t disappear from users’ newsfeeds completely, but unfortunately fewer people will see them. Those who do see your posts will likely only be people who have already interacted with your Facebook page, making it harder for you to reach new travel shoppers.
This isn’t to say that marketing on Facebook is completely dead, just now it’s likely going to cost you. Facebook generates a majority of its revenue through advertising. So it makes sense that Facebook wants to reduce the number of organic posts from businesses, and force them to spend more on advertising instead.
Facebook Opened up Messenger to Chatbots
At Facebook’s Developer Conference in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced that companies would be able to use Facebook’s open API to build chatbots for Messenger. The announcement presents an interesting opportunity for hotels to improve the customer experience at every stage of the travel shopping journey.
Allowing for 24/7 communication with travel shoppers, chatbots could help hotels improve communication with guests, guide traveler shoppers down the booking path, and reignite interest with those who have abandoned previous bookings.
Hotel chains and OTAs have already begun using chatbots. Edwardian Hotels launched their virtual host, Edward, in May 2016. Booking.com launched a similar bot that is multilingual and allows for instant translation between the guest and the hotel. And Expedia launched a chatbot in Messenger that allows travel shoppers to book a hotel using natural language.