Facebook is definitely here to stay and has experienced tremendous growth, but it is not going to replace Google as a travel planning tool anytime soon. Though Facebook initiatives drive traffic to hotel websites, this trackable traffic is not directly responsible for any significant revenue.
Here are the reasons why:
When consumers want to buy books online, they go to Amazon.com. When people want to buy new laptops or PCs online, they go to Dell.com, Apple.com or BestBuy.com.
When people plan travel they go to:
· Search Engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing
· Meta Search Engines: Kayak.com
· OTAs: Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.
· Major hotel brand websites: Marriott.com, Hilton.com, etc.
· Independent/boutique/luxury hotel Web sites
· Consumer review sites like TripAdvisor.com to check out what their peers think of certain hotels, once they have narrowed down their choices
About 84% of Americans plan travel online, according to Travel Industry Association, using the above approaches. In other words, social networks are not the first options that come to mind when planning a business trip or family vacation. Many travel consumer surveys attest to the above behavior, time and again.
Seeking Friends/Family/Peer Advice
There is no doubt that social networks are being used as channels to solicit friends/family/peer opinions about travel experiences—”Have you been to Boston lately?”, “Can you recommend a cool hotel in Miami? You just came back from there.”—in the same manner as people solicit opinions from colleagues by the office water cooler or chatting with friends over the phone. But these opinion/recommendation solicitations are conducted on Facebook “behind closed doors” (i.e. within the private network of a Facebook user), and have nothing to do with hotel Facebook Fan Pages or hotel advertising on Facebook.
Get the full story at Hotels Magazine