The Newest Shiny Object for Hotel Marketers: Facebook City Guides

One the most daunting challenges facing hotel marketers today is weeding through all of the “shiny new objects” coming at them every day.

Recently catching the eye of HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council is City Guides in the Facebook app which enables users to book some hotels and restaurants, and message or tap to call other hotels, restaurants, tours, and attractions. While not in every market today (the rollout is in 20 markets), or super robust in the markets it is in, it does opens the door for a lot of potential (whether for Facebook or hotels depends on your point of view). Added to Google’s already existing guide program, there are suddenly very big players on the scene between hotels and their guests.

How should you be thinking about this new development? Consider these thoughts from HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council:

  • It sounds trivial, but this development highlights the fact that you need to have a “Book Now” button on your Facebook page if you don’t already have one.
  • City Guides are mobile-only at the moment, which is added pressure/incentive to have a good mobile experience for your hotel.
  • I view this change as being similar to how we manage Google Local pages. My biggest concern with this is that hotels will feel they have to have a Facebook page, and in the case of branded hotels, I don’t think they should if they don’t have the bandwidth to manage it effectively. If a hotel has a Facebook page that isn’t being managed properly, it could have a negative impact on them and the brand. For hotels that do have a Facebook page with a “Book Now” button, they should ensure that it links properly (ideally to – note that some brands will want the “Book Now” functionality to be managed centrally).
  • It’s a very interesting development, and likely only a matter of time before Facebook looks to monetize City Guides, and potentially create a bidding environment.
  • This is certainly a development to watch. Serving up this guide is part of a series of moves by Facebook that looks toward their positioning themselves as a power player in the travel space. Consider other recent initiatives including retiring the Atlas Program, letting everyone on the Facebook audience network, allowing instant articles, and connecting Facebook Live to Apple TV.
  • Google is still way ahead on the booking side of things, but that doesn’t mean Facebook won’t/can’t move quickly.
  • This move forces us to focus on Facebook more closely as we prioritize our content creation strategies.
  • With Facebook DAT (Dynamic Ads for Travel), you can demographically profile and offer live inventory at the rate that is most rate resistant for the demographic profile you’re targeting.

Resources & Recommended Reading

About HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council

HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council connects travel marketers in a way that leverages interactive customer engagement as a marketing medium while increasing the awareness of emerging issues, opportunities and trends. This is accomplished through a wide range of information sharing, networking and educational opportunities. 2016-2017 members include:

  • CHAIR: Holly Zoba, CHDM, Senior Vice President of Hospitality Sales, Signature Worldwide
  • VICE CHAIR: Shawn Paley, CHDM, Director, Global eCommerce & Digital Services, Marriott International
  • Shaun Aukland, Senior Account Executive, Google
  • Aimee Cheek, CHDM, Director of eCommerce, OTO Development
  • Robert Cole, Founder-CEO, RockCheetah
  • Chris Copp, VP, Global Digital Marketing, IHG
  • Erica Eyring, CHDM, Director, Account Management, Expedia Media Solutions
  • Isaac Gerstenzang, CHDM, Assistant Vice President, Corporate E-commerce, Destination Hotels
  • Loren Gray, CHDM, Founder, Hospitality Digital Marketing
  • Jamie Hansen, CHDM, Director, Marketing, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Sr. Corp. Director, Marketing & Distribution, White Lodging
  • Jay Hubbs, III, CHDM, Senior Vice President, eCommerce, Remington Hotels
  • Michael Innocentin, Vice President, E-Commerce & Digital NCA Region, AccorHotels
  • John Jimenez, CHDM, Portfolio Director of eCommerce, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
  • Chris LaRose, VP, eCommerce Americas, Hilton Worldwide
  • Sarita Mallinger, Regional Director, Digital Marketing, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Delana Meyer, CHDM, Corporate Director of eCommerce and Marketing, Crescent Hotels & Resorts
  • Amy Mierzwinski, CHDM, Director, Horwath HTL
  • Anna Paccone, CHDM, eCommerce Director, Second Wave Marketing / Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Donna Quadri-Felitti, CHDM,PHD, Director and Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University
  • Chris Rockett, SVP Sales, Milestone Internet Marketing
  • Darlene Rondeau, Vp, Best Practices, Online Merchandising, Leonardo
  • Mariana Safer, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Marketing, HeBS Digital
  • Kevin Scholl, CHDM, Director of Digital Marketing, Red Roof Inn
  • Dave Spector, Partner, Tambourine
  • Dan Wacksman, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Outrigger Resorts
  • Christine Beuchert Williams, Sr. Director of Marketing & Ecommerce Strategy, Marcus Hotels & Resorts


Categories: Marketing, Digital
Insight Type: Articles