"Facebook Offers" – Are They Really Helping Travel Companies And Customers
In May 2012, Facebook rolled out a feature called “Facebook Offers”. This is much enhanced version of their earlier feature called “Facebook Deals” (that was scrapped in December’11). Let’s discuss how Facebook Offers has influenced travel industry. ”Travellers referred to a hotel or tourism booking site by Facebook are more likely to book travel than those who are referred via search engines like Google” – PhoCusWright Travel Research.
A research also says that 92% of consumers around the world trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
Quickly, let’s explain how to create Offers. First and foremost – only companies that are registered as “Local Business” in Facebook can use this feature. “Offer, Event +” option will be visible only to the “Local Business” companies. Refer screen below. Actually, this restriction from Facebook doesn’t make much sense. So, an international company can’t roll out offers? An airline that serves international route should be registered as “Local” business in order to utilize this “Offer” feature? This is not very convincing from Facebook.
In the company’s page in Facebook – Admins can define in text what the offer is about, attach a deadline / expiry date for the offer and upload a nice picture that symbolizes the offer. Also, Admins can define the number of offers that can be claimed.
Example: MakeMyTrip can post an offer that reads “Book any hotel with us at 25% discount, offer valid for first 5,000 entries”.
As soon as user claims the offer, Facebook sends an email about the offer details to the user.
This entire process of offers can be segmented into two steps.
Step 1: Customer claiming the offer that the company had posted in Facebook
Step 2: Customer actually utilizing the offer that s/he claimed
This process can be compared to the customer shopping and booking experience in a website. Step 1 is actually “Shopping”, and Step 2 is “Booking”. In a website, more than 90% of customer who shop doesn’t end up in buying what they shopped. Similarly, in Facebook – what’s the guarantee that a customer who claimed the offer will actually utilize it?
As of now, we see that in Facebook, the shopping (claiming offer) has picked up well. From a customer standpoint, claiming an offer is FREE. They don’t have to be a premium member or have few thousand loyalty points to claim offer. So, the shopping (claiming offer) is a great success in Facebook. But, how travel companies are ensuring that Booking (utilizing the offer) also happens is a question. Is this feature going to kill Groupon? Are travel companies going to shift focus from flash deal sites to Facebook? It’s a wait and watch situation.
Author: Karthick Prabu
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