8th March 2012
In 2011, not a single day went by without a new article appearing about Facebook reminding you that you should not count on Facebook to generate a significant revenue. In the past, consultants and journalists alike have pigeon-holed Facebook as a customer relations tool. In 2012, the game may be changing.
Hôtel Relais Bosquet in Paris, an early pioneer of online sales via Facebook
The recent example of Hôtel Relais Bosquet proves that a hotel can build a successful, Facebook-based business model. At the end of 2011, the hotel was one of the first to benefit from the version 2 of the Availpro Facebook booking engine on its page. Now that the hotel has laid the groundwork by acquiring a network of fans, it is starting to see genuine positive outcomes.
Bertrand Lemoine, Revenue Manager at the Hôtel Relais Bosquet, discusses the results of his efforts. “In the last two months of 2011, we achieved €14,000 and €13,000 of sales via the Availpro booking engine. And the figures continue to rise. In the provisional 2012 budget, this represents more than 10% of our total sales generated via this new channel! And there’s no extra work involved, as we manage all our distribution channels – including Facebook – via our normal Availpro management extranet.” The hotel accepted to share its experience of online sales via Facebook in a case study.
Special, flexible offers: essential elements of Facebook-based sales
Hôtel Relais Bosquet decided from the outset to create exclusive special offers for its fans, with preferential rates and free breakfasts, with fans able to cancel their booking up to 3pm on the day before check-in at no cost. Other hotels have followed suit with a similar preferential, no-restrictions offer, and have seen bookings flood in as a result. These hotels have also gone a step further by advertising the special, Facebook-only offers on their website homepage along with a link to their Facebook page.
Antoine Buhl, Technical Director at Availpro, discusses some of the projects that his teams have been working on. “We are always looking for ways to exploit the possibilities that Facebook offers, including sharing booking information on users’ walls and mentioning special Facebook rates on the hotel’s online booking engine. We follow very closely changes from Facebook itself such as the release of the Timeline version of Facebook at the hand of the month in order to adapt our Facebook solution. We are also putting the finishing touches to our Facebook booking engine for hotel groups and chains to meet increasing demand in this area.”
Facebook-based sales is still a largely under-exploited area, with plenty of scope for innovation and experimentation. However, we are confident that the majority of hotel owners that use version 1 of the Facebook booking engine will appreciate the new features on offer in version 2. In 2012, Facebook will act as a genuine, customisable window on the hotel, allowing guests to book rooms directly.