Facebook Still Worth It?

Why “Friend of a Friend” Is Your New Trip Advisor

With backlash on Facebook after the stock issue debacle and a seeming inability to crack the mobile-advertising barrier, some clients have been asking if putting marketing efforts into Facebook makes sense.  For one segment in particular—hospitality clients—it makes absolute dollars and sense: putting heads in beds thanks to TripAdvisor’s “Friend of a Friend” program that is integrated with Facebook.  Bottom line: hotels and resorts need to do everything possible to boost their Facebook fan numbers and turn those fans into reviewers on user generated content sites.  No sweat, we can help.  But first, a little background.

Chances are you have someone in your circle of friends who’s so well traveled that you turn to her for advice when planning your next getaway.  Because if she hasn’t stayed at the boutique hotel you’re considering, she almost certainly knows someone who has.  But thanks to TripAdvisor’s integration with Facebook with “Friend of a Friend,” you no longer have to worry about connecting with your globetrotting buddy on her next layover.  Her TripAdvisor reviews—and her Facebook friends’ reviews—will pop up first in searches.  That means hotels and resorts have an even greater incentive to boost their LIKES on Facebook to better enhance their search results on TripAdvisor.

If you’re like me, for years you’ve been viewing TripAdvisor reviews with a sideways glance asking yourself, “Who are these people? And do we have the same taste?”  Now it seems that TripAdvisor is solving this issue with a little help from your Facebook friends.  As an example, I researched a little pre-wedding getaway to the Caribbean and considered the Westin Casaurina Resort & Spa on Grand Cayman.  Low and behold TripAdvisor immediately connected me with a review from a friend of a friend who used to work with me at Condé Nast Traveler—I’m thinking we probably have pretty close sensibilities.  The same held true when I looked into a possible honeymoon destination—Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda.  A friend of a friend of a globetrotting cosmetics executive turned up some terrific advice on TripAdvisor.

“Travel advice from friends is incredibly useful, but your inner circle may not have all the answers on a particular hotel or destination you are researching,” said Adam Medros, vice president of global product for TripAdvisor. “The Friend of a Friend feature increases the probability of an even greater personalized TripAdvisor experience by highlighting opinions from a larger network of travelers that know the people you trust.”

If you’re in the luxury hotel business, still not convinced that your customer is looking at TripAdvisor?  What if I told you that according to Four Seasons Luxury Trend Report this year, 70% of their customers report consulting TripAdvisor before booking a hotel.  Now tell me you’re not looking to tempt away a Four Seasons customer?

According to TripAdvisor, one out of every four reviews submitted to the site on a daily basis are from Facebook-connected people.  Each of those reviewers has an average of 190 people in their friend network.  Suddenly, you could potentially have access to a network in the thousands of people you might trust more than a stranger.  When searching for reviews, the first ones that pop up will be comments from your friend, followed by friends of friends.  There are various privacy settings for sharing and not sharing information.

Given the enhanced integration between the two popular platforms, hotels and resorts of all sizes should consider actively boosting their Facebook fans, and turning those consumers into TripAdvisor reviewers.  Our team has developed some effective and fun strategies for helping properties do just that using a combination of quizzes and contests with targeted Facebook advertising campaigns.  We’ve implemented extremely successful programs for both large and small properties.  So reach out and let’s become friends.

JP Buchmeyer, VP Digital Engagement, @jpbuchmeyer, jp[at]meteversemodsquad.com



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