What Do the New Facebook Rules Mean for Travel Agents?

by Richard D'Ambrosio
What Do the New Facebook Rules Mean for Travel Agents?

Photo: tuthelens/Shutterstock.com


Travel agents marketing through Facebook and Instagram likely will take a big hit this year as the social media company implements plans to decrease the reach of business posts in their users’ news feeds.

In a post Thursday night, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told users that in the next few weeks and months, “you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media” as part of a major change for 2018.

“We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” Zuckerberg wrote, providing no further details. Facebook also owns Instagram, and most observers believe that the changes will impact both platforms.


According to a Travelport survey released in Fall 2017, 82 percent of travelers aged 25 to 34 in the Americas are influenced by content posted by travel brands on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, while 76 percent of travelers aged 35 to 44 are inspired or influenced by branded content on social media.

Social media marketing experts and travel agency business owners have been saying for years that Facebook’s continuous tweaks to its news feed algorithms have made it harder for small businesses to leverage the platform to reach clients and new customers through unpaid posts.

Most experts estimate that a small business like a travel agency is reaching less than 10 percent of their followers today. Under the new rules Facebook is implementing, that may drop even further.

Social media marketing consultant Nick Borelli, president of Borelli Strategies, Cleveland, Ohio, has been monitoring Facebook’s testing of its most recent algorithm changes, and was documenting the impact on his clients’ posts. He believes the move will drive more agents to pay to be seen in news feeds.

“Black and white—if you are not investing in Facebook ads, Facebook will not help you grow your business,” he told Travel Market Report.

Facebook says it is responding to user feedback
In his post, Zuckerberg said that the changes were in response to user feedback that “public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

He blamed that crowding out of personal moments to “video and other public content” that “exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do—help us connect with each other.”

The door for small business marketing might be left open by one theme Zuckerberg repeated in his post—“meaningful interactions between people” through “tight-knit communities,” like those around TV shows and sports teams.

The changes could lead to brands trying to leverage more user-generated content and social media influencers in the coming year. According to the Travelport survey, 81 percent of travelers aged 25 to 34 in the Americas are influenced by “video and photos posted by friends on social media” while 75 percent of travelers aged 35 to 44 are similarly inspired.

“There is an alternative: being friends with your clients from your personal page and looking into influencer marketing strategies,” Borelli said.

Zuckerberg also mentioned how Facebook sees greater benefit from live videos versus “regular ones."

“Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.”

By making these changes, Zuckerberg said, “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

  4
  0
Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

Daily Top List

Best Resorts in Montana

1. The Resort at Paws Up

2. Blue Damsel Lodge on Rock Creek

3. Triple Creek Ranch

4. The Ranch at Rock Creek

5. Rainbow Ranch Lodge

Source: The Crazy Tourist

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=46d9854c-8d33-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
What Should Travel Agents Post on Social Media?
What Should Travel Agents Post on Social Media?

One company has studied what engages travelers the most on social media platforms, and offers its advice.

Travel Agents Assess Department of Labor’s Current Review of Overtime Pay Rules
Travel Agents Assess Department of Labor’s Current Review of Overtime Pay Rules

Department moves to increase annual salary threshold where employers have to pay overtime to $35,300.

Comprehensive Operations Help Allianz Build Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive Operations Help Allianz Build Comprehensive Coverage

At its vast Richmond, Virginia campus, Allianz Global Assistance finds that owning and managing travel insurance operations end-to-end helps it to consistently deliver value to customers.

How Can Travel Advisors Handle the Boeing 737 MAX Problem?
How Can Travel Advisors Handle the Boeing 737 MAX Problem?

The situation serves as a useful, though tragic, vehicle for reminding advisors of their responsibilities related to the safety of aircraft.

How to Sprinkle the Oprah Genius into Your Marketing Plan
How to Sprinkle the Oprah Genius into Your Marketing Plan

From finding your purpose to leveraging trends and refining selling strategies, Oprah laid out a roadmap for successful marketing.

How the Best Group Travel Advisors Keep Calm and Stay Efficient
How the Best Group Travel Advisors Keep Calm and Stay Efficient

Think getting into group travel will better maximize your time and your profits? Tread carefully, because more people, all traveling at the same time, requires efficiencies to be successful.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: The Northern Lights of Finland