How to create an outstanding hotel Facebook page

Martin Kubler shares his top secrets to being fabulous on Facebook

Martin Kubler
Martin Kubler

Martin Kubler starts the New Year with top tips on establishing a fantastic Facebook page that’s sure to be a favourite among guests

Welcome to 2013! I hope you had a happy and social festive season and haven’t given up on your New Year’s resolutions yet.

One of my many resolutions, aside from eating healthier and going to the gym, is to make hotels even more social in 2013 and I thought I’d start the year by looking at one of the cornerstones of a hotel’s social structure: your Facebook page.

What makes a great hospitality Facebook page? Here’s a hint: It’s definitely not just the number of “Likes” a page has gathered.

CLICK HERE FOR KUBLER'S FAVOURITE FIVE HOTEL FACEBOOK PAGES IN THE REGION

We are all in the business of hospitality and providing a friendly greeting upon arrival and a sincere farewell will always remain some of the most important aspects of our work. A great Facebook page should reflect that.

Firstly, your Facebook page should be visually appealing with engaging timeline imagery that changes regularly. It’s the first thing your online connections see when looking at your page, so make the most of the 815 x 315 pixels Facebook allows you for the timeline cover image.

Use it to showcase your USPs or to draw attention to upcoming events – careful with the latter though, as Facebook’s official terms of service forbid the use of timeline covers for advertising purposes.

Also make sure that you’re displaying meaningful address info in the “About” section, just under your timeline cover picture: “P.O. Box XXXX, Dubai, UAE” isn’t going to make it easier for your fans to find you.

The blue address line is actually a hyperlink that directs visitors to your location on Bing Maps. Test the link yourself to ensure that Bing shows your hotel in the right place.

Layout changes
Following the recent layout changes, only four featured tabs remain ‘above the fold’ on your Facebook page — to see all tabs, visitors to your page have to click the little down arrow on the right side of the tab section to expand the section.

All tabs but the “Photos” tab can be moved, so display important tabs above the fold. Personally, I fail to see how the “Likes” tab (which essentially does nothing else but display the number of fans your page has) is important enough to remain above the fold, yet that’s where it is on most hotels’ Facebook pages.

Ask yourself whether visitors to your page are really more interested in seeing a box with the number of your page’s likes or a box that shows them more info about your outlets, lets them book a room, or sign-up to your newsletter. I’ll think you agree that the “Likes” tab wastes valuable screen real estate and should be moved to a position below the fold.

It’s also a good idea to display your comments policy or “house rules” somewhere on your page. A good example here is the Holiday Inn Al Barsha, though whether you should display them above or below the fold is debatable.

I tend to banish them to a position below the fold. Either way, it’s helpful to let your fans and visitors know what you will and won’t accept on your page, who to contact in case of complaints, etc.

Try and use some of the available tabs to incorporate your TripAdvisor review page or your listings on sites such as YaDig.com or Zomato — it really helps to increase the number of reviews you receive on such sites. Also don’t forget to let visitors know about your other social media platforms, e.g. use tabs to integrate your YouTube channel or Twitter feed.

CLICK HERE FOR KUBLER'S FAVOURITE FIVE HOTEL FACEBOOK PAGES IN THE REGION

Photo Friendly
Did you know that photos on Facebook pages are twice as likely to be ‘Liked’ than text updates? Videos are even more powerful — they’re 12 times more likely to be shared than links or text posts combined. Keep you page’s timeline visually appealing and use engaging pictures and videos which your fans want to share.

Always make sure that your hotel’s Facebook page portrays the personality of your property correctly. Your online visitors are keen to ‘see behind the brand’ and want to find out more about the people and facilities that make your hotel stand out in the local market place.

Make your page interesting to look at, useful to be connected to, and worthwhile to come back to. Complete your page’s timeline fully, so visitors can see your hotel’s history, and also, always encourage ‘user-generated content’, i.e. posts to your page by your fans.

It could be a photo of a guest’s recent stay, or a short paragraph about a guest’s experience in one of your outlets — user-generated content is extremely valuable, so work your live testimonials and use your page to amplify positive feedback from other sources, e.g. share positive TripAdvisor reviews.

Lastly, take time to respond to comments, queries, and suggestions from your fans. Did you know that 95% of Facebook timeline posts are not answered by brands? Don’t miss out on a prime opportunity to get into a conversation with your fans and to start building relationships online — once your fans realise that your hotel is responsive on Facebook, they’ll get more talkative, which gives you an opportunity to upsell, or the chance to deal with problems before they end up on TripAdvisor.

Remember: Your social media is healthy if you are engaging and entertaining, acting and reacting, sharing and comparing, recording and analysing.

Whatever you do: Keep it social!

About the Author:
Martin Kubler is owner, director and chief cook and bottle washer of Iconsulthotels FZE, an ultra-boutique hospitality consultancy in Dubai. Email: info@iconsulthotels.com or visit facebook.com/iconsulthotels

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