Last week, Facebook announced it is reportedly working to develop a single, unified messaging infrastructure and increasing the connection between several of their apps.
The integration will allow users to communicate cross-platform even while using the individual apps of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram’s messaging, combining the world’s 3 largest messaging platforms. Thousands of Facebook employees are supposedly hard at work, with the goal being to make the integration complete by the end of 2019 or early 2020, though Zuckerberg has said that the functionality likely wouldn’t be possible until sometime in 2020 at the latest.
This is happening in the midst of questions about too much connectivity and user privacy concerns, which has garnered mixed reactions to the news at hand even though Facebook first started laying the groundwork for this as early as 2016.
Right now, while users are deciding how they feel about this, businesses and marketers have gone straight into what it might mean for them and how it will impact their guest relationships. Some have argued that it will “strengthen Facebook’s grip” on users, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg taking charge of platforms he’d previously said he wouldn’t be heavily involved with.
After a great deal of research, I believe this will be a powerful and very positive change for businesses in the hospitality industry, opening the door to the future of live chat.
We already know that live chat is essential for businesses in the hospitality industry, where guests frequently have questions to be answered or special accommodations to be requested that an FAQ section just won’t solve. One study even found that 79% of customers prefer live chat to other options because it was both immediate and convenient, which is a winning combination in our on-the-go world.
We’ve already seen an increase in guests reaching out to hotels and resorts through social media direct messaging because it’s easy and it’s fast for them, but it’s still convenient. They’re able to send a message to a resort through Facebook Messenger, put down their phone, run their errands, and then come back later to see what was said. There’s the immediacy of live chat without the inherent urgency; they won’t be dropped from the chat if they don’t reply quickly enough, so it’s well-suited to busy consumers.
I believe that this Facebook messaging integration, as a result, will become a live chat replacement, giving consumers the ultimate control in how and when they’re getting in touch with hotels. Since there are more than 2.6 million users on the messaging apps combined as it is, this is a valuable opportunity for businesses in the hospitality industry to connect with their guests in a place they’ll be happy to engage.
Consumer control is almost always a good thing for any business that’s willing to rise and meet the challenge, and I know we’re getting our clients ready for the shift ahead. Are you getting ready?
Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, full-service Hotel Marketing and Social Media Engagement Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. Since 2001, we have provided hundreds of hotels and resorts with proven, ROI driven online marketing services. For more information please visit call 877-291-4411 or visit https://lodginginteractive.com.
President & Founder