If you are one of the many private accommodations, you will generally have more time between seasons to consider your internet presence. You can maintain portals and update your website. This may spark the questions such as: How important is social media for my business? Do I need Facebook if I only have ten beds? How much does Facebook really help and how useful is it for landlords, guesthouses and apartments?
What do small businesses do?
Facebook has been an essential part of the hospitality industry for many years. Hotels are able to attract new guests, look for personnel and post new developments and current events in their hotel. Hoteliers often have designated budgets, specialised staff, time and even commissioned advertising agencies. This is harder for the smaller private accommodations.
Obviously, it is only useful for small and medium-sized businesses to have a Facebook page if they can benefit from it.
Could Facebook benefit my business?
Targeted ads are not that important for private accommodations, despite the cost per click (CPC) being lower on Facebook than on Google Awards. Most small businesses cannot or do not want to invest so much money to increase their profit margins.
Proprieters primarily use Facebook to communicate with their guests. The possibility of attracting new guests through Facebook or other soical media channels is a secondary benefit. Discussions are posted by regular visitors. Guests can give quick and easy feedback, personal reviews or post a nice photo of their holiday either in the property or the surrounding region. Furthermore, it is the easiest way for them to share the accommodation with friends and family. It is comparable with the renowned guestbook.
Through their page, owners can market their rooms free of charge. In a time where guests are almost bombarded with different rating platforms, Facebook is a simple and easy way to give direct feedback to the accommodation and to stay in touch. In addition, on Facebook it is unusual to receive anonymous posts and extremely negative and derogatory reviews are generally disregarded.
How intensively should Facebook be operated?
If a Facebook site is operated, it should communicate frequently with guests and fans of the site. You can post, as a landlord, in less busy times and contact guests who know the house. Long-time guests are shown appreciation when you post their photos accompanied by nice captions on the wall. It is important that you make your profile public rather than keeping it private so that you can reach your target audience.
Some smaller companies have opted to use their Facebook fanpage as their website. This is not advisable as a Facebook fanpage contains too little information for a guest and is not properly indexed on Google.
Facebook is suitable for private accommodations whose focus is on regular guests. If you decide to create a Facebook page, you must be aware that a lot of work is involved in maintaining your page. For example, you need to answer posts, questions or comments in a timely fashion. If your page is only sporadically cared for, it will do more harm than good.
5 Tips for using Facebook for private accommodations
All accommodators who operates a Facebook page should consider the following tips:
- Regular guests: Invite your regular guests to like the page first. This can be done with a simple emailed link.
- New Fans: Tell guests that the accommodation has a fanpage and you would be thrilled to see their photos and videos etc.
- Masthead: Just like any company website, the Facebook fanpage also needs to have a masthead.
- Stick to the point: No political, sexual or explicit content should be posted on this page. The content should revolve around the company and its guests.
- Stay active: Check your Facebook account regularly for new posts or messages. (At least once a week.)
There is no magic formula for Facebook and people’s habits and interests are changing rapidly. Whichever form of social media you choose, you should enquire within a network, attend a seminar or speak with other accommodators. Those who wish to take a cost-effective approach to social media can do this through their regular guests without a huge amount of effort.
What is your Facebook page strategy? Do you target new guests or do you cater to regulars? How often do you post on your page? Do you have a social media supervisor?
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