What Hoteliers Need to Know About Facebook Graph Search
On Tuesday, Facebook announced its newest product, Graph Search, a semantic search engine that will allow Facebook users to search within their networks, rather than across the entire World Wide Web. The search engine will initially be focused on four broad categories: places, people, interests and photos.
Now, TrustYou is no stranger to semantic technology; it is the bread-and-butter of our business. But for hoteliers less familiar, here are the first couple of things you should know as Facebook rolls out its newest product.
Graph Search will make it easier for Facebook users to discover your hotel based on its reputation and social interactions.
We’ve mentioned time and again the importance of peer reviews and comments on social networks like Facebook. 93% of people trust reviews from their friends (compared to 43% who trust traditional advertisements), and 52% have actually changed travel plans based on recommendations from friends in their social networks. With Graph Search, Facebook users will be able to search reviews and recommendations from their most trusted source – their friends.
How does this work? Let’s say I am traveling to New York and want to find a hotel. With Graph Search, I will be able to search for hotels (or restaurants, etc.) that my Facebook friends have visited, "liked" and/or "checked in" to recently for a recommendation. Or, I could search friends living in New York to contact them for a hotel recommendation.
And if I don’t know anyone who has traveled to/lived in New York? No problem. I may also choose to search for hotels in the city (regardless of whether or not my friends have stayed there). In this case, a hotel’s volume of social interactions (“likes,” “check-ins,” etc.), particularly among the circles closest to me (friends of friends, for example) will play a significant role in the top ranking search results. Hotels that are most successful in promoting positive feedback and forging relationships with their guests will also be the most successful in Facebook's Graph Search.
Your hotel can optimize its page to improve visibility on Graph Search (and Facebook in general).
1. Take care of the basics.
Graph Search will take into account the information that your hotel provides on its page, so take a few minutes to ensure that your name, address, category, URL and page information are accurate. This also makes it easier for social travelers to find you to “check-in” to your page upon arrival or “like” you following their stay. Don’t have a Facebook page? Now is the time that you may want to consider creating one.
2. Give guests a reason to like you.
Because social interactions will impact search results, your hotel will benefit from gaining more “likes,” more “check-ins” and more overall engagement from its fans. So give them something to like! Update content regularly, reward travelers who “check-in” on Facebook, engage your fans and encourage feedback. All will improve visibility on Facebook’s Graph Search and win more loyal, more enthusiastic fans - a win-win for business.
3. Get visual.
Speaking of content, are you using pictures to your advantage? They are a must, especially as Graph Search rolls out. With the new feature, users will be able to search photos for even more travel inspiration and advice. Wise hotels can benefit from this feature. Take advantage of the fact that 72% of guests already post photos to social networks while on vacation. Encourage them to highlight your hotel in their photos by holding Facebook photo contests or impressing guests with interesting or unusual amenities and attractions.
Facebook’s Graph Search will be rolling out over the upcoming weeks. We are looking forward to watching it unfold. In the long run, we see it is a big step in placing friends’ reviews, recommendations and advice at the forefront, and it highlights the importance of online reputation and social media management for hotels and businesses.