Everyone is focused on the integration of prices by Google in maps and universal search results, and on how this will affect the hotel and travel distribution landscape.
And they are right as it will have an important impact on direct sales for hotels.
But there is something else going on that you need to be aware of for your hotel internet marketing strategy. Facebook is becoming a hotel search engine!
Social media marketing has been getting a lot of attention in the hotel and travel industry over the last two years.
But now more than ever it is vital for hotels to have a presence in Facebook with a company page for their hotel. Your hotel listing needs to contain relevant, useful and recent information for your guests and potential clients.
Why? Online travel agencies and aggregator websites are moving in on your turf.
Take look at the search below for the Qbic Hotel in Amsterdam. Besides TripAdvisor it includes results from Booking.com, HotelChatter and FourSquare.
Yes it is not limited to only your page, but distributors, travel communities and review websites are listed, potentially diverting traffic away from you.
In a search for Hotel San Sebastian Playa in Sitges we encountered HolidayWatchdog, TripAdvisor, VirtualTourist and Frommers.
You have to make sure your hotel page comes out on top in FaceBook and offers interesting information for travelers. Otherwise they will simply move on, and you will be losing out on some direct business.
A search for Booking.com confirms that it is indeed listing hotels in Facebook. We have seen it before, but it seems the list of properties has grown.
In order not too lose out on direct business it is extremely important that you have a well developed page for your hotel listed in Facebook.
You need to provide attractive, relevant and recent information to capture the interest of potential bookers. Remember images speak more than a 1,000 words.
Hotels cannot afford to be left behind and need to make sure they have a structural social media marketing strategy in place!