Why you should use Facebook Ads to drive bookings through chatbots

The increase of the use of instant messaging apps has led to people spending more and more time into those apps, and people will now start use them not only to talk with their friends but also to read the news, talk to companies and start booking services like hotel rooms.

If you’re an hotel manager and decided that your property would benefit from having a chatbot, you start promoting it by making a post announcing your new cool service. Maybe you can even add the Facebook “Message Us” plugin to your website and some users start testing it. But then the number of messages you receive are similar to the numbers you had before launching the chatbot and you start wondering if launching it was the right thing to do.

Why you can’t expect users to just start chatting with you…

Even knowing that hotel chatbots with booking capabilities are great, there isn’t still a broad adoption from consumers to bots. The reason for this is clear, since most of the people are still unaware that they can talk with companies through Facebook Messenger.

There are still some discovery issues with chatbots, and while the early adopters know where to look them, the general public will need to be educated of their existence and how they can benefit from using them.

…and why you shouldn’t feel discouraged!

New technologies take time to embrace and brands need to be patient outlining the best strategy for their particular needs. Facebook is also changing its platform to improve the bots’ discovery process and in the next following months more and more people will start to interact organically with businesses through messenger. Until then, you need an active promotion strategy to take full advantage of this tool.

What to do?

From all possible strategies to bring valuable costumers to your chatbot, one surpasses all others: Facebook Ads. We’re not suggesting promoting your chatbot to a broad audience with no interest in your hotel or property destination. Instead, you should target people that are in market and looking to book near your property in the near future! For this, retargeting is the most important piece of the advertising puzzle for the Facebook Ads platform.

Use Facebook Retargeting to promote your chatbot

Facebook retargeting allows you to show ads to users who have already visited your website. People rarely book with your hotel the first time they visit your website. They would rather take their time, compare your pricing with other hotels and destinations and visit your site a few more times before completing that reservation.

Why chatbots are so powerful for retargeting

Conversation is the most natural way of communication and messaging apps just happen to be the most recent way to do it. If people visited your website but didn’t booked, probably they have some doubts or need further clarifications. Chatbots’ ability to understand users’ intent, reply in real time and being always aware of the user context means you can create a meaningful and personalized experience necessary to make that booking happen. If the bot doesn’t know what to answer he can always hand-of to a human agent the conversation, and you will gather valuable information to understand your costumers and what you need to improve.

There are many tools out there allowing companies to communicate one-to-many, from email marketing to social media and websites, making it easy to reach a large audience. Unfortunately, these tools do not allow companies to communicate with people on an individual level. The beauty of chatbots is that you can now do individual targeting and reach mass amounts of people at the individual level.

How to launch your retargeting campaign

You can launch a retargeting campaign using Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature. For that you’ll just need to install a code on your website called Facebook Pixel. With this installed on your site, the pixel will send information back to Facebook about which pages were viewed on your site by a specific visitor and you’ll be able to retarget these users on Facebook, either on desktop or mobile.

You can create different Custom Audiences to retarget different segments. For example, you might retarget people who visited a certain page, or even people that selected a room but didn’t complete the reservation. You can then show them a tailored banner to start a conversation with you, understand in an automatized what is preventing them from booking and make sure the booking will really happen.

NB: This is a viewpoint by Pedro Gonçalves, co-founder at HiJiffy. HiJiffy brings chat to the hospitality industry, enabling guests to effectively connect with Hotels through instant messaging apps.