We’re at F8 (the Facebook Developer Conference) this week exploring all the new things that Facebook has to offer. Yesterday a ton of cool stuff was announced, but one of the things that we’re most excited about is Messenger Business. It could have big impacts on the way that hotel rooms are booked and how reservations are serviced.

If you’re not familiar with Messenger, it’s Facebook’s messaging app. It includes support for text content, calls, photos, voice messages, emoji, and now supports additional rich content via extended app integrations. It’s a communication platform. With Messenger Business, Facebook is trying to enable communication that is more streamlined and potentially more impactful between customers and businesses.

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In Facebook’s demo yesterday, here’s how it worked:

  1. The user checked out from their store normally from their desktop
  2. There was an option to get order details sent directly to Messenger
  3. A rich receipt and order updates came directly to the user via a Messenger chat, and also enabled the user to get specific support with their order if needed

 

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All our team could think about when seeing Messenger Business demo was how helpful this might be for hotel bookings. The user experience could be very similar.

Better customer experiences

I had my own experience with having to change my reservation this week. I called the hotel, I got transferred internally, I was transferred to reservations, I was put on hold… it was a very basic but very critical change, and it wasn’t a great experience.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 10.11.24 AMInstead, I could have just popped into Messenger, said that I needed to update my hotel reservation, and had it all taken care of without the additional hassle of being on and off the phone and waiting on hold.

By dealing with the issue in that form I could save time and energy, and have had the potential for a much more engaging user experience. As a user and very frequent hotel guest, I would be elated for this kind of functionality.

More revenue opportunities

With this type of short, rich, and streamlined communication, hotels could also drive more revenue per booking. There’s a lot of opportunity to present upsells in better ways and through more channels.

Imagine a user customizing their stay efficiently through Messenger. A hotel could send a picture of an upgraded room or service and make the upgrade extremely easy to process. Not only would this be a very low friction experience, it could be low cost as well.

The benefit of Messenger in this scenario is the potential for personal communication. As a user, I probably wouldn’t respond to an e-mail offering me a better room for a small fee if it wasn’t the right fit. I might do that in Messenger though… maybe the upgrade isn’t right this time, but a higher floor is. I’m pretty sure if I responded to a marketing e-mail with that feedback, it would bounce or get lost in space.

Right now Messenger Business is in its very early days, and its sounds like it will only be supported by a few retailers out of the gate. It’s hard not to get excited about the potential, though.

To learn more you can check out their website, where you can also request more information.

 

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