It’s easy for hospitality marketers to take Facebook for granted.
The platform has been around for so long—more than 15 years now—and is so well established that it sometimes can blend into the background and feel like just one marketing option among many.
However, the reality is that it’s far from just another marketing channel: for hospitality brands, Facebook is a uniquely powerful platform that has distinct advantages and holds unparalleled opportunities.
What are these advantages and opportunities? What makes the social network so special? Why should marketers remain bullish on it after all these years?
Here are six key reasons why Facebook is an essential marketing channel for hospitality brands:
1. Facebook ads are highly effective for hospitality brands
Facebook’s importance to hospitality brands is rooted in a simple fact: it works.
Specifically, Facebook’s advertising options tend to be consistently more effective than other approaches in helping marketers reach valuable travel audiences.
This effectiveness can be seen clearly in the platform’s popularity with marketers. According to Sojern data, as cited by eMarketer, Facebook ads were both the most utilized social media channel by hospitality brands last year and the most utilized channel by hospitality brands this year.
What’s important to note is that it’s not just standard Facebook ads that marketers turn to. Other options, such as Facebook’s travel-specific dynamic ads and Stories ads, are also utilized more by hospitality brands than Twitter ads, Pinterest ads, or Snapchat ads.
2. Facebook has a unique combination of scale and targeting
Why are Facebook ads—and Facebook efforts in general—so effective for hospitality brands?
Primarily because of the platform’s massive scale. According to Pew Research data, 69% of adults in the United States use Facebook, making it the second-most popular social platform after YouTube. To put that in context, more than twice as many US adults use Facebook compared with Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or Twitter.
This huge audience is paired with sophisticated advertising options that enable marketers to connect with specific groups. In other words, Facebook is a unique blend; it combines the reach of mass media, such as television, with the targeting options of digital channels, such as search.
3. Facebook enables hospitality brands to reach valuable travel audiences
The benefits of combining massive scale and sophisticated targeting can be seen when trying to reach specific audiences.
Affluent travelers are a good example of this. According to Skift Research data, as cited by eMarketer, Facebook is by far the most utilized social platform for trip inspiration/planning by those with a household income of $100,000+ (some 39% of respondents use it, compared with 33% for Instagram, 18% for Twitter, and 14% for Snapchat).
The same also holds true for other valuable audiences. Essentially, because Facebook is so popular and has so many different content options (text, photos, videos, brand pages, etc.), it tends to be the first social network many different groups turn to when planning travel.
4. Facebook is effective in helping achieve both branding and DR goals
There are a number of marketing channels that can help hospitality brands achieve either branding or direct response (DR) goals. What makes Facebook unique is that it’s highly effective for both.
According to Sojern data, as cited by eMarketer, travel marketers rank Facebook and Instagram (combined) as the most effective channel for both branding and direct response advertising—well ahead of other options such as paid search, video advertising, and programmatic display.
This double effectiveness has important benefits for hospitality marketers. For example, it enables marketing efforts to be run on a single platform rather than across multiple platforms, allows for easier measurement, and makes hybrid branding-DR campaigns more powerful.
5. Facebook helps different hospitality businesses in different ways
Facebook isn’t just seen as being highly effective by some types of hospitality businesses, it’s seen as being highly effective by all types of hospitality businesses.
However, the biggest benefits tend to differ by firm type. For example, according to Sojern data as cited by eMarketer, inns say that Facebook advertising is most effective in targeting new audiences; independent hotels say it’s most effective in building brand awareness; and home shares say it’s most effective in driving direct bookings and personalizing offers.
This doesn’t mean that Facebook can’t help each type of business achieve other goals; rather, it indicates that the platform is so powerful and so flexible that it’s able to handle the unique needs of different types of firms.
6. Facebook is about more than just Facebook
Finally, in the charts you’ve seen throughout this post you may have noticed that Facebook appears to have a strong, up-and-coming competitor: Instagram.
The twist with that, of course, is that Facebook owns Instagram.
This highlights another key thing that makes Facebook unique: its family of services is both broad and deep, encompassing everything from the main Facebook social network to Messenger, Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp.
That’s important in both the short term and the long term. Right now, it means that hospitality brands can engage through the overarching Facebook platform in a wide range of ways—in-feed advertising, organic posts, Stories ads, video ads, etc.—and across a wide range of apps/services. Going forward, it means that the company’s control of the social media space is unlikely to wane.
Put simply: Facebook is incredibly well-positioned today—and for the future. Given that, and given its effectiveness across many key areas, hospitality marketers should make sure to treat it as a unique and powerful option, not just another marketing channel.
MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and Brooklyn, NY, is one of Florida’s top hospitality branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include branding, logo design, creative, print advertising, direct mail marketing, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, outdoor, newspaper, digital marketing, website design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, paid search marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797 or visit mdgadvertising.com.
Written by Michael Del Gigante