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A Whole Lot of Like: What Facebook's "Like" Button
 Can do For Hospitality Brands



PARSIPPANY, NJ , May 24, 2010 - In April, Facebook debuted their new-and-improved “Like” button, allowing users to more easily connect with brands, services, and products across the Web.

The old Facebook “Like” function allowed users to connect only within their Facebook networks. For example, if someone posted any content, their network of friends could click a button if they enjoyed the content. The new “Like” button takes this group-excitement principle a step further by letting Facebook users click “Like” buttons on third-party websites. The user’s Facebook profile will then be connected with the company’s Facebook page.

The third-party “Like” button isn’t a one-time connection; it’s an open channel—like adding a new friend—that allows the third-party to update the user’s News Feed with news, offers, links, or photos. For those in the hospitality industry, this means you can offer discounted rates, room photos, or special offers directly to people who are already interested in your services. This represents a truly specific and personal style of advertising with a correspondingly higher ROI.

There are several intelligent ways the hospitality industry can use to leverage this powerful connection with Facebook users. To encourage as many people as possible to “Like” your website—and, more importantly, to retain those fans—you need to follow some basic steps.
 
1. Drive Users to Your Website.
In order for people to “Like” your hotel, they first need to visit your hotel website. There are many ways to do this: the most powerful is through discounts. When a guest checks out of your hotel, print a message on their bill with an offer such as, “Click “Like” on our website and get 10% off your next stay with us!” Similar messages can be placed in brochures, emails, newsletters—even online banners.
 
2. Keep Their Interest with Content Dynamic
Once a customer "Likes" your website, they will remain fans only as long as the connection benefits them. This means offers, news, and interesting or useful content. It also means you shouldn’t spam your users with too many updates a day. Depending on the tone and the brand image, you can provide fun stories from the hotel staff, contests, discounts and freebies, you name it. Always keep in mind your customer, and put yourself in their shoes when delivering communications.
 
3. Encourage User Interaction
With the addition of the “Like” button, your Facebook page will become almost as important as your hotel webpage. Frequent travelers are fiercely loyal to the hospitality brands they prefer, and will often take photos or post testimonials about their trip. Encourage this dialogue by posting user-generated content on your Facebook page. Allow customers to upload videos, post questions or concerns, and share the details of their stay. You can also offer special discounts and bonuses to customers who go to special efforts editing movies and photos of their experiences with your hotel. This encourages people to interact with your Facebook page, and it also increases positive buzz.

Installing “Like” buttons on corporate sites is an intuitive process; sites like Duct Tape Marketing offer codes (“Social Plugins”) that can easily be added to your websites template. But for those considering using “Like” buttons as part of an overall Social Media corporate strategy, it may help to consult a digital marketing team to make sure the technology can be leveraged efficiently without making the user feel overwhelmed by communication.

Still have questions? Here’s what Facebook has to say about third-party “Like” buttons:
 
What are social plugins?
Social plugins are simple tools that can be "dropped" into any website to provide people with personalized and social experiences. Using social plugins, websites everywhere can give you more ways to experience the web with your friends—from letting you form connections on these sites with your favorite movies or restaurants to showing you the most popular content based on what is being shared among your friends. Rather than seeing popular stories, products or reviews from people you don't know, you'll now see content that matters to you the most—from your friends—displayed prominently.
Social plugins include:
  • "Like" or "Recommend" Buttons: click to publicly share and connect with content you find interesting.
  • Activity Feed: what your friends are liking, commenting on or sharing on a site.
  • Recommendations: Most liked content among your friends on a site.
How do social plugins work?
While these buttons and boxes appear on other websites, the content populating them comes directly from Facebook. The plugins were designed so that the website you are visiting receives none of this information. These plugins should be seen as an extension of Facebook. You only see a personalized experience with your friends if you are logged into your Facebook account. If you are not already logged in, you will be prompted to log in to Facebook before you can use a plugin on another site.

At a technical level, social plugins work when external websites put an iframe from Facebook.com on their sites, as if they were agreeing to give Facebook some real estate on their websites. When you visit one of these sites, the Facebook iframe can recognize if you are logged into Facebook. If you are logged in, it’ll show personalized content within the plugin as if you were on Facebook.com directly. Even though the iframe is not on Facebook, it is designed with all the privacy protections as if it were.
 
As a sign of which way the trend is headed, it’s interesting to note that Foursquare has begun offering customer’s a chance to “Like” a place when they check in. With the ability to directly communicate with customers already interested in your services, it’s little wonder social plugins like the “Like” button are exploding in popularity.
 
About Lodging Interactive
Lodging Interactive, headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, is an award winning leading provider of Internet Marketing Services to the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. The company provides a portfolio of effective hotel internet marketing services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, timeshares, spas and restaurants. Clients include branded hotels from nearly every major brand as well as prestigious, landmark independent hotels.

Through its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency operating division, the Company offers hospitality focused and fully managed outsourced hotel social media marketing.

Lodging Interactive is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). For more information contact Richard Walsh, Vice President of Business Development at sales@lodginginteractive.com or at 877-291-4411. The company’s website is located at www.LodgingInteractive.com.
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Contact: 

Richard Walsh
Vice President of Business Development rjwalsh@lodginginteractive.com
877-291-4411
www.lodginginteractive.com

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Also See: Guest Satisfaction - April 2010 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / May 2010

Guest Satisfaction - March 2010 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / May 2010

Lodging Interactive Launches Chatter Guard Lite Social Media Sentiment Monitoring For Hotels / April 2010

Guest Satisfaction - February 2010 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / March 2010

WARNING TO HOTELS... Don't Use Free Link Shortening Services in Your Marketing / March 2010

Lodging Interactive Enables ROI tracking of Facebook & Twitter Hotel Bookings / February 2010

Measuring Your Hotel's Online Reputation By Service Attributes / February 2010

Hotel Social Media Perspective / February 2010

Hotels Book More Government Business With Innovative Link2Brand Service / January 2010

Guest Satisfaction - December 2009 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / January 2010

Google Real Time Search Integration & Hotel Social Media Marketing / January 2010

Why Your Hotel Should NEVER USE TinyURL to Redirect Links / December 2009

Guest Satisfaction - October 2009 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / November 2009

Lodging Interactive Offers Turn-Key Mobile Websites For Hotels / November 2009

How to Handle Google Maps Mixups / October 2009

Guest Satisfaction - September 2009 Chatter Guard Benchmark Report Is Released / October 2009

Introducing: CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency for Hospitality / September 2009
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