How Can Hotels Capitalize on Instagram New Booking Feature?
Last month, Instagram announced new action buttons that will allow users to book a hotel room directly within the app. Users can now ‘Book’, ‘Reserve’, ‘Get Tickets’, or ‘Start Order’.
Instagram has teamed up with numerous booking partners, including Yelp, OpenTable, EventBrite, SevenRooms and Booksy, with plenty more companies lined up as part of its ongoing expansion.
All of this represents a big leap forward. Previously, travelers could only get in touch or make a reservation with a hotel using a “call us” or “message us” button. These new action buttons now add a new level of convenience by letting users reach a booking page in just one tap.
This rollout follows on from Instagram’s recent native payments feature, which enables payments to be made on the platform. In addition, it’s now easier to communicate with customers thanks to a simplified inbox that shows messages in the Direct inbox, rather than the pending folder. A ‘quick replies’ tool is also being tested to speed up responses.
So what does this all mean for hotels, and in particular, how can they take advantage of the new action buttons to drive more direct bookings?
The influence of Instagram on travelers
Instagram now has over 500 million daily active users sharing an average of 80 million photos a day. When it comes to travel, images of exotic destinations, accommodations and experiences earn thousands of likes and have a major influence on where people decide to visit. Instagram is also incredibly effective at driving engagement. An analysis in 2017 found that brands receive four times more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook.
In the past, brands such as Conrad Hotels and Resorts and Starwood enabled travelers to book a hotel room by tapping on an Instagram photo. But these weren’t entirely hassle–free. In the case of Starwood, after tapping a photo, users were emailed a link to book their stay at the hotel’s featured properties.
With the new call-to-action buttons, this kind of booking friction will be eliminated. Now, an inspiring image on a hotel’s Instagram channel puts travelers just one click away from being able to book a room.