Digital friends are driving business and increasing engagement for Hostelworld.com.
At a Travel Technology Initiative talk, Hostelworld editor, Colm Hanratty spoke about using Facebook to improve business.
In the presentation, titled “making friends”, Hanratty said Facebook is a key part of his company and his customer service strategy.
“On a daily basis, people leave comments on our Facebook wall,” Hanratty said.
“It could be something like, after making a booking I arrived at the hostel and they did not have my reservation, what do I do?”
“Now we have 67,000 likes so people ask, well how are we going to manage that?”
“But we only get about one problem a day on the wall so it is really easy to manage.”
“We also have people who will post questions that are a bit more social. We send them a link to one of our hostels and hopefully that will convert into a booking. So it’s great for customer service.”
With 1 in 11 people on earth on Facebook, Hanratty said using social media makes it easy to connect and engage the public.
There are some pitfalls though, he said it is important not only to be on Facebook but to use it both wisely and regularly.
Comments and questions need to be responded to quickly.
It is also important to post wisely. If a business never posts, there is no reason for customers to make return visits to the site.
Hanratty said he tries to post twice daily with a short message.
People who post too much will clutter their users news feeds and risk losing followers.
Timing and message also make a difference. Posting when customers are most likely to be using Facebook insures more people see the message and including a link back to a company’s website can help convert traffic to revenue.
This has helped Hostelworld create a thriving facebook community. It has also personalized the brand and insured return users.