As of August 31, 2010 there are 17,607,440 Facebook users on the African Continent, with a penetration rate of 1.7%. The top five countries are: Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. By their very nature – digitally savvy, in possession of internet compatible handsets or computers and obviously literate – Facebook users are a prime target market for the hospitality industry, which makes the portal itself well worth considering as a complementary channel to market.
In fact, a recent article in Travelwire.com provided tips on Ten Ways to Convert Facebook Fans into Paying Guests. The article goes into detail on the considerations a hospitality player needs to spend time on when utilising the channel and provides sound advice on the benefits and pitfalls. It describes the widgets and interactive strategies utilised and all in all, provides good practical insight into managing your online presence via Facebook.
Now whether you are a Facebook naysayer or advocate, the fact remains that with the groundswell of online members increasing every month, if used well, it could prove a cost-effective and targeted route to market. Yes, it does give your guests more of a ‘voice’ and thus if you are not confident in the quality of your product offering, may seen risky. However, for those of us in the sector who believe in our value proposition, this may well be the new face of marketing to complement our existing strategies.