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.