Facebook & Instagram: which one is more effective for hotels?

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As with every business that wants to stay relevant, competitive, and innovative, social mediachannel Instagram is constantly updating and seeking to make improvements. 

In fact, Instagram now has more than 800 million users and could reach one billion this year. By comparison, Snapchat has fewer than 200 million users and the two platforms compete in similar ways.

As of May 2018, Instagram announced a range of new features, designed specifically for business pages. Given that more than 200 million daily active ‘Instagrammers’ visit a business profile each day and more than 150 million have a conversation with businesses through Instagram Direct each month – it’s a welcome development for the hotel and travel industry particularly.

1. Instagram makes it easier for businesses and customers to connect

Instagram has rolled out the major changes including call-to-action buttons and improvements to direct messages, both of which are framed to help businesses interact easily with users and capture more customers.

Many pages already have the action buttons to ‘Call’, ‘Email’ and ‘Get Directions’. Now select businesses will be able to include ‘Book’, ‘Get Tickets’, ‘Reserve’, or ‘Start Order’.

As for direct messaging, businesses can now see important new customer messages in their main inbox, instead of in the pending folder. Moreover, they can mark messages with a star and filter conversations to make it easier to follow up with enquiries. Quick replies are also being tested to allow common questions to be answered instantly.

All improvements are designed to make interaction much simpler for both business and customer, since users won’t have to open a new app and the business has a new and better way to accept purchases, gather data, and drive revenue.

2. Instagram's new features are more effective than Facebook?

Hotels should definitely be excited by the progress being made. The ‘Book’ action button now enables the same direct booking functionality that Facebook has had for more than a year.

Once all hotels can implement this, it could prove even more effective than Facebook in driving bookings, as organic reach for businesses on this channel continues to dwindle.

The growth of Instagram and potential reach could start to far outweigh Facebook – especially considering the young audience of the photo-sharing platform.

Travel companies and destination pages are some of the most popular on Instagram, with images of destinations, hotels or restaurants frequently receiving hundreds of thousands of likes. Marriott Hotels’ Instagram account has 287,000 followers while Hilton Hotels & Resorts has 226,000 followers, and IHG’s InterContinental brand has 146,000 followers.

By providing this solution to hotels, Instagram is trying to bridge the gap between travellers finding inspiration and research on Instagram, and actually making moves to visit the destination that caught their attention.

It’s especially exciting because the huge focus hotels are putting on direct bookings makes this the perfect time to embrace Instagram promotion and use these one-click features to boost direct business.

Read more: Top 6 hotel marketing tips for summertime

Mai Huynh