Christine Blank of HotelNewsNow writes that "Facebook is fast becoming more than a customer relationship tool for many independent properties and chains. Many hotels now offer room-booking technology on their Facebook pages, which is leading to incremental sales". She says real commerce is now starting on Facebook, giving the examples of Delta Airlines' booking engine and Sony offering car rental movies. The booking engines, it seems, are providing value to guests, some who book directly on Facebook and many who get quotes and will then select the hotel they favor.

Facebook is becoming very dominant in referring travelers to hotel websites and it stands to reason that those that have the best information, images and services will do the best. It was also noted that the conversion rate on referrals from Facebook was higher that with TripAdvisor.

Douglas Quinby, Senior Director of Research for PhoCusWright says, "The conversion rate on direct referrals from traveler review sites to hotel supplier websites ranged from 4% to 6% in 2009, while conversion from Facebook to hotel websites was 8%". Also, 35% of U.S. online travelers interacted with a travel company on an online social network in the past year. PhoCusWright's  “Traveler Technology Survey, 2010” shows that 13% of social-network users use social networks to shop for travel.

David Godsman, VP of Global Web for Starwood Hotels, advises that the conversion rate on Facebook referrals is close to conversion on Starwood's own brand websites.  Westin Hotels and Resorts has a bookings widget that serves up quotes for family holidays and comments that the new booking technology is a important way to engage travelers on Facebook.

At AXSES, we are seeing good interaction on the Widgets, Quote systems and Content Manager application for Facebook. This allows independent hotels and all tourism to easily get up-to-date with this latest technology. arcRes for Facebook loads all information, rooms, rates, specials, packages, pictures and brand content  onto Facebook. It automatically loads the booking widget that gives Facebook Fans the option to get instant quotes and to book.

More and more travelers are interacting with Social Media before they check in. Providing them with the right information and process is part of our mission:

Engage your Fans and get more bookings with arcRes Content Manager and Bookings for Facebook.


Stephen Haines, Commercial Director of Facebook's U.K. operation, at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising Conference in London, UK, suggests that  "A day might be coming when the power of Facebook means that major companies no longer bother with their own Web sites". Haines points out the numbers speak for themselves when comparing how many times Facebook users have clicked a company's "Like" button with how many times per month people visited that company's Web site. Starbucks had 21.1 million Likes and 1.8 million site visitors. Coca-Cola, had 20.5 million compared with 270,000. Oreo, 10.1 million vs. 290,000.  Dr. Pepper, 4.1 million to 325,000.  In the U.K., millions of users spend an average of 28 minutes per day on Facebook.

Haines says that Facebook can become a platform for your own website, just as WordPress has. He argues that many businesses are turning to 3rd-party Web 2.0 apps and platforms, like Google Blogger and Yahoo Flickr, which are easier to set  up than their own custom-built solutions. "Facebook interactions let companies tap into a wealth of customer information and a communication channel."

Facebook's targeting tools let hotels and tourism operators access specific demographics like "30-year-olds in London who like cricket and may want to travel to the World Series in Barbados", for example.

Other Facebook tools for Tourism include:

• Booking applications like
• Hotel content loads to Facebook pages with apps like the arcRes Publisher
• Options to offer samples & specials to customers, again available with arcRes for Facebook.
• The ability to reach smartphone travelers for local check-ins. "Clothing retailer The Gap gave away 10,000 pairs of jeans to the first 10,000 customers to use the Facebook local check-in service, and Mazda sold 100 cars --exceeding expectations--with a 20-percent-off offer at five U.K. auto dealerships", Haines said.
• The ability to build e-commerce options into Facebook pages a-la-arcRes, which let travelers see best rates for Fans and book rooms, cars and tours without leaving the Facebook page.
• Advertising to target groups that change many times a day to send a sequence of ad messages to Facebook users.
• Surveys that let tourism companies engage customers in company decisions. VitaminWater used voting, among other mechanisms, to generate 1.3 million "connections" with possible customers during its "Find a New Flavor" marketing campaign.
• Many Applications built atop Facebook's interface that let companies create custom-made interactive programs.

Facebook is also experimenting with new ideas. One is "News Feed Story Ads," in which hotel specials and news can be displayed as advertisements. Also  "Application Social Context Ads," where the app shows which contacts are also using the app.

He also warns that it's a "long-term commitment to keep a site on Facebook lively". And balance that with not annoying them with too many updated. Read more:

Load you Brand content, Fan Specials and Bookings on your Facebook page now with arcRes Publishing.
arcRes loads and manages rooms, photos, rates and bookings on Facebook direct from arcRes Publisher. arcRes Publisher also manages and markets your brand to 100s of sites and can be used as your own  "branded booking engine":