When Facebook Offers Attack

ResorTimeFacebook recently unraveled its “Offers” feature to a variety of brands. While its obviously positively-intentioned and seeks to be a win/win to both businesses and consumers, there is still a lot to be sorted out, and it’s extremely important for brands to fully understand what they’re getting into prior to setting up an offer.

Last week, ResorTime.com, a membership-based travel site that offers exclusive nightly timeshare rental deals at popular resorts around the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, was given an opportunity to take advantage of this new program.

Their offer went viral within 72 hours, and, unfortunately, due to an overload of complaints, had to be shut down.

Nevertheless, there were also a few positive outcomes that resulted as well.

Hospitality 1st covered the story, noting the following pros and cons:

 

What Went Wrong

  1. Location: Because the title of the offer was limited to 90 characters, ResorTime.com did not specify a location, which led to confusion regarding to where this offer was applicable. ResorTime.com’s registered address is in Carlsbad, which was viewable in the offer email, leading people to believe the offer was for Carlsbad instead the offer’s intended destination, Lake Tahoe.
  2. Claiming the Offer: When a Facebook user clicked “claim offer” to simply view more information, their wall was automatically updated relaying that they had actually “claimed offer,” and their friends began seeing this post in their own feeds.
  3. No Delete Option: Many users complained that they were not able to “delete” the above-mentioned post from their wall, suggesting a Facebook bug since posts typically have a “hide” or “delete” functionality.
  4. Complaints: Because the offer seemingly forced itself onto people’s Facebook timelines and their friend’s feeds, many began complaining that ResorTime.com was spamming or scamming them. A common complaint was that the company was attempting to gather email addresses, which may have seemed like the case since users received an email about the offer when they clicked “claim,” but in actuality, the email was from Facebook and there was no way for ResorTime.com to access any user’s personal information, including email address.

What Went Right

  1. New Likes: 4,838 new likes resulted from the Facebook Offer
  2. Publicity: Over 200,000 people clicked “get offer” to receive more details
  3. Web Traffic: 271% increase in web traffic to ResorTime.com compared to the week prior.

Despite the mishap, ResortTime has done a great job of taking responsibility for their actions and publicly responding to, and apologizing for, the issue.

They took to Facebook to declare a blatant apology and explanation of what happened, plus ResorTime’s Blog highlighted the following lessons learned:

  • Specify Destination: The best way to avert some of the problems would be to specifically say where the offer was valid at in the title of the post, not just once people visited our website.
  • Details: Add as many details as possible in the limited 90 characters of text allowed in the Offer title.
  • More Information: On the ResorTime.com Facebook page, have more details about the offer that people can view before clicking the link.
  • Terms & Conditions: Fill out the terms & conditions so when users click “get offer” and receive an email they will see more instructions about the offer, a statement alerting them ResorTime.com does not have access to their information, and that they have not actually “claimed” anything yet but only received a link to more information about the deal exclusively for our Facebook fans.

Make sure you’ve covered all your bases before creating a Facebook offer!