It may not be Zagat, but Facebook graph search can help drive traffic and awareness to a hotel brand’s presence online.
If All Your Friends Are Doing It, Does That Mean You Should, Too?
Graph search provides users with a Facebook version of what most of us do in Google, only it makes the results hyper-relevant.
For instance, if you want to know which friends of yours have liked hotels in South Carolina, just type in “friends who liked in hotels in South Carolina” into the search bar on Facebook. Then the results will be laid out for you to see.
The results generated will show which friends have stayed at the hotel, what comments they made, and will even show any photos they took.
Google can show you popular hotels based on reviews, but those results don’t pack the same punch as the results Facebook can give you. After all, advice from a friend is almost always better than that of a stranger.
Graph Search also makes it easier for users to get really specific and ask detailed questions like “which of my male friends from Chicago like hotels near the Miracle Mile.”
Facebook Needs To Work Out The Kinks
Essentially, this is Facebook’s effort to unlock big data’s potential. While it’s got a lot going for it, currently, the graph search tool on Facebook is full of limitations.
Facebook users need to “like” the actual hotel for the results to be generated properly. In the near future, any mention of hotel names (and any other kind of brand, product, or entity) in a status update will also factor into the graph search results.
Tagged photos on Facebook or Instagram are also not yet included in graph search as of yet, but will be soon enough, according to the company.
Can Graph Search Compete with Industry Leaders?
Even when these upcoming features are integrated into graph search, Facebook still has to compete with popular apps out there that already tell users where hotels are, what they offer, directions to the hotels, dining in the area, and so forth. All graph search can do at this point is say that your friend Joe Blow likes a hotel you’re interested in.
Plus, while Facebook can tell you what your friends thought of the place, unless your friends write for Zagat, they aren’t exactly highly qualified to give a real review. Users might want to know what the professionals think of the place and those opinions are not yet available on graph search.
Check Out Graph Search Before Checking In
However, even with limitations, graph search does provide the hospitality industry with a little extra oomph.
According to an article by tnooz.com, graph search can enable Facebook to become a go-to source chock full of images, videos, and blurbs of info about the hotels.
Graph search can also help drive traffic and awareness to a hotel brand’s presence online. User-generated content and employee-generated content will help feed the graph, so long as the individuals creating the content tag the appropriate terms so that the results can be collected by the search.
It would be wise for corporate heads to encourage activity on the local facebook pages for each hotel to help drive awareness.
The Future of Graph Search Is Wide Open
There are many options that decision makers at facebook can use to give the new tool the power it needs to become a sought-after tool for marketers everywhere hoping to get brands to show up on the graph.
As for graph search’s ability to move from facebook pages into actual room bookings, well, that remains to be seen.