How the new Facebook will impact travel

by Travis Pittman

Opinions ranging from praise for its Apple-like foresight of producing a product that we didn’t know we needed until they built it for us, to more angered opinions at how Facebook is attempting to further infiltrate everything we do by becoming the ultimate online receptacle for our entire lives.
In the last couple of days I’ve dug further into the new Open Graph developer documentation Facebook. In doing so, I have attempted to briefly summarise how the Open Graph changes may affect its users and the travel industry.

Now instead of just being able to “like” a book, users will be able tell friends when they have “read” a book. Or “listened” to a song. Or, in the case of the travel industry, “booked” a flight, “hired” a car, stayed” in a hotel, “‘done” a tour, “reviewed” a point of interest.

This might sound rosy. However, there could be some negative impact, too.
With the Gestures launch, and the new live Ticker on the top right of a user’s homepage, we are entering a new level of content consumption.
The Ticker is what I would call a live commentary to friends of your actions both on Facebook and on websites/apps outside of Facebook, but which you have authorized to connect to the system.
For example, as you “listen” to a new song using the Spotify app which you’ve granted permission, a message is automatically sent to the Ticker on all your friends home pages to say that “Travis is listening to Barbie Girl by Aqua on Spotify”, which you can click and start doing the same.

Ultimately, this means that after giving permission to an app, little messages are automatically (what they’ve named “Frictionless sharing”) being sent back to Facebook, your girlfriend, your co-workers and your friends about your actions on external websites.

What about travel?
So what does this all mean for the humble traveller? And for the businesses in the travel industry such as hotels, travel agencies, airlines and tour operators?
1. Travellers
As more businesses integrate the new frictionless sharing feature of the Open Graph to their websites and Fan Pages, there is an increased chance of friends being inspired by their friend’s activities during the planning phase and potentially joining them (or at the very least, telling them which sites their friends use in their travel planning).

I’m sure it would be interesting/distracting for people who are about to plan a trip of their own, are having a bad week at work or haven’t taken a holiday in a while when they see a flow of messages like:
“Travis booked a flight on Expedia to Cape Town”
“Travis read a review about xyz hotel in Cape Town on TripAdvisor”
“Travis compared 5 tours of South Africa on TourRadar”
“Travis installed tripwolf’s Cape Town iPhone city guide”
“Travis booked his travel insurance with World Nomads”
“Travis read an article on news.com.au about The Garden Route”

…to eventually things like:
“Travis boarded his flight to Cape Town on Virgin Atlantic”
“Travis ate a steak at a Cape Town steak restaurant”
“Travis was at Kruger National Park”
“Travis added 154 new photos to the album “South Africa Safari”

It’s a fascinating and landmark move, which will affect every one of Facebook’s hundreds of millions of users, as well as the thousands of travel companies using it to engage with customers.

Get the full story on Tnooz

************** DDIH Question****************

Will Facebook Open Graph impact the hospitality industry in a positive way or a negative way?

Share your opinion

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Posted on September 28, 2011, in Hospitality Digital Marketing Services and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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