Facebook has recently launched a new tool to help users discover new experiences, things to do, events, and services based on suggestions from their friends. After writing a post, Facebook now switches on a new “Recommendations” feature that lets others know they’re looking for advice.
Comments from friends appear in the original post and are also featured within a dynamic map. Each time friends mention a recognized place, the map then expands to include this extra information. If a recommended business has a Facebook Page, the tool automatically features their Page within the comments.
Along with this tool, Facebook has also launched a new set of call-to-action buttons that businesses can use on their Facebook Page, providing customers with the ability to request extra information, receive quotes, and place orders.
These new features have only just been rolled out in the U.S. and are still relatively limited in scope. However, they have announced it’ll be expanding this service in the coming months to help customers connect with even more businesses.
Given its huge popularity as a travel research tool, it seems likely those developments will extend to the travel industry—including hotels. If that happens, it could end up providing hotels with a potentially game-changing booking channel.
In an increasingly mobile-centric world, Facebook has become intimately entwined with the travel experience. In 2012, 42% of stories shared to timelines were related to travel, which made it the top story shared by its users.
These shared stories and experiences can be highly influential. For instance, a photograph of a friend sipping cocktails by the hotel pool can be enough to spark an instant sense of wanderlust (and a hint of jealously) that prompts action. In fact, 52% of Facebook users say their friend’s photos inspire their travel plans.