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Facebook for Hotels: Get smarter with Targeting to Improve Brand Awareness, Social Engagement and Conversion.

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Facebook advertising is now an essential part of a hotels digital marketing strategy.

Facebook often update their algorithm to ensure users are getting the best possible experience when they log in. Great news for users but more of a challenge for marketers leaving the news feed a highly competitive place to bid for real estate.

Of late, Page owners will have seen a decline in their organic reach on posts as a result of an algorithm update by Facebook in Jan 2015, making it near impossible to rely on this alone without the backup of paid advertising.

Organic reach refers to the number of people that you can reach on Facebook for free by posting on your page. Organic reach is declining due to the sheer volume of content that is being shared on a daily basis; on average over 1,500 stories can appear in a person’s news feed each time they log in. As a result the newsfeed has become extremely competitive making it harder to gain exposure. On the other side Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm is built to only show people content that is relevant to them making it more engaging to the end user.

Recent studies show the increasing importance and influence of social media in the search & planning stages of travel.

Approximately one-fifth of leisure traveller’s worldwide turn to social media platforms for inspiration within different categories of their travel planning including:

  • Hotels (23%)
  • Vacation activities (22%)
  • Attractions (21%)
  • Restaurants (17%)
 
Facebook pages are an extremely important platform for hotels current and potential guests. According to Facebook in October 2014 alone over a billion people visited pages and of this over 750 million visits happened on mobile devices.

This article will explore the benefits of Facebook advertising for the hotel Industry and will also provide you with the following key takeaways that you can apply to your hotel to ensure you are capitalising on this essential advertising channel.

 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Identify & develop your key target markets
  2. Invest in Facebook advertising to target new & existing customers
  3. Create custom audiences to reach customers who have already engaged with your brand
  4. Reach your customers at the right time throughout the buyer journey.
  5. Redefine your targeting to increase relevance, reduce wastage and increase ROI.

One of the main reasons people log onto Facebook is to see what’s happening in their news feeds, people engage with content that is more relevant to them. They thrive to see stories from friends and pages they actually care about & less about promotional content.

 

Benefits of Facebook Advertising:

Social Media is now influencing the search and buying process of the customer, your social channels have become an extension of your hotels website.  According to Social Media Examiner, 97%of marketers are currently using social media to support their overall marketing efforts & 84% of the respondents indicated that Facebook was the top medium used for paid social advertising with strong plans to increase this activity in the coming year.

  • Increased brand awareness – an additional touch point for increased brand visibility not only with existing customers but also makes you more accessible to new customers.
  • Increased conversion through your site – building on your brand and communicating with customers on a personal level through Facebook helps to improve trust & credibility.
  • Increased Website traffic; will help increase levels of returning visitors & new visitors to your site.
  • Improved organic search engine rankings - The major search engines have indicated that they now look to these social websites for signals for determining the final ranking of a hotels webpage
  • Opportunity to create a relationship with existing & potential customers by connecting with them on a more personal level on a platform which they use on a daily basis.
  • Turn lookers into buyers – retargeting customers who have searched for availability on your hotel website or who have filled out a reservation form but who have not yet converted.
  • Opportunity to grow e-zine database – retarget visitors/customers of your website with adverts encouraging them to sign up to your ezine database.
  • Inexpensive for the results achieved
  • Extremely targeted powerful targeting parameters

Are you getting the best return from your Facebook advertising? Allocate you’re spend more efficiently and target people who are actually interested in your hotel, services & amenities. Discover how certain targeting options can increase your website conversion.

 

Facebook Advertising – Targeting Options

In order to reach potential guests where they are most engaged & to effectively target them on their path to purchase we have outlined below the best targeting options available to achieve this.

Custom Audiences: Facebook custom audiences allow you to reach customers you have already established a relationship with. These types of campaigns are very effective and avoid wasted clicks from a more generic audience

 

Custom Audiences can be created in a number of ways:

1. Database Retargeting:  Upload your e-zine/phone number database & Facebook will match these contacts with Facebook users. You now have an extremely targeted list of customers that you can deliver ads to. This is powerful as a follow up tool to complement your e-zine campaigns & to further reinforce your message and encourage a booking.

2. Website Retargeting:  Website retargeting allows you to retarget people who have visited your website and/or specific pages within. For example you could target people who have checked for availability on your website but have not yet made a booking. The biggest advantage of remarketing is that people have already invested an interest in your hotel.

3. Lookalike Audiences:  Lookalike audiences allow you to reach new people on Facebook who share similar demographics and traits to your other audiences. For example a powerful lookalike audience would be similar people whom have already made a booking on your website.  Facebook will then match up the top % of users to display your ads to.

Advanced Targeting Options: There are numerous advanced targeting options that can be layered on top on one another which gradually makes your audience smaller more relevant and thus reducing ad costs. You can use single or combinations of interests, behaviours & geo location.

Demographics Targeting: Target people based on demographics like age, gender, relationship status, education & parental status.

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Interest Targeting: Choose specific interests that are important to your target audience. Facebook will reach specific audiences by looking at interests, activities, pages people have liked and closely related topics.  When choosing interests, be as focused as possible, know your target audience.

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Behavioural Targeting: With behavioural targeting you can reach people based on purchase behaviours or intent, this type of targeting takes users past behaviour into account to help you determine your audience.

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Why not try out some of the above strategies, test out the various targeting options available and see what works best for your property. Its important that you leverage Facebook data as much as possible to allow you to reach potential with both your existing and new customers.  And don't forget, Before you get started, spend some time to create your key personas and build each campaign around them, ensuring you are meeting the needs of each.

Neimh McGlynn is a Digital Marketing & Social Media Specialist at Net Affinity. Neimh specialises in the design and implementation of tailored social media campaigns for the hospitality sector. She has set out to bring social media to the forefront of hotels digital marketing strategy,  foster brand awareness & increase overall social engagement.