Facebook Options for Businesses advertising COVID safety

As usual Facebook when they add (or delete) things, they tend not to let users know. This is one that I suspect not a lot of business owners know about as I’ve only seen it so far on two business pages.

If you are advertising additional safety measures that your business is doing to help keep people safe you may want to consider enabling this option. I suspect we may see additional changes in the next several weeks to a month as since I had done a SCORE workshop on the new business format there have been over a dozen small page changes since then.

In order to get the banner, go to “Edit Page Info” (on the left) or on the left alignment in the body of the business page and then scroll down towards the bottom (in the middle) and you will see various options. I’d recommend not just sending people to your home page unless you are actually advertising the information on your home page but instead directing people to specifically where on your website that information is listed so you don’t make people hunt.

B&Bs, What Does Your COVID Messaging Say? (or Not Say)

Covid Pop-up box example
COVID is an issue with lodging, whether you believe it is a real threat or not. Studies by industry experts have shown that a large majority of people traveling take it seriously and are concerned for the cleanliness and sanitation of a facility.

Recent news highlights that many hotels and homestays as well are not paying attention to standards even though they tout they are.

Where does this leave other legal lodging properties?

It leaves us with a golden opportunity to capture the market of people who are leery of traveling and are very concerned for their safety. While most B&Bs and other lodging properties are making a point somewhere on their websites of mentioning what they are doing to keep guests safe, Some are not. That needs to be fixed, especially if your property is implementing additional safety standards. Your potential guests won’t take the time to inquire, they will just go elsewhere.

Pop-up box exampleI did want to point out some things I am seeing that can be improved and adjusted with many of the properties that ARE advertising what they are doing. One of the biggest pitfalls I am seeing is the use of pop-up boxes. Pop-up boxes are great, I love pop-ups, BUT not so great for advertising what you are doing for cleaning and safety standards if that is the ONLY place you are letting guests know about it. I am seeing a lot of properties have these boxes, but nowhere else on their site are they talking about the additional steps they are taking.

As a guest, I may (or may not) bother to read the popup, once it’s closed, it’s gone. What if I have questions? What if I did want to now read it but now can’t do so because I’ve closed the pop-up? I am not going to search and I probably won’t bother to inquire, I’ll go elsewhere. I’d add the pop-up boxes that go on for over a page, the ones with the fancy script that’s impossible to read and the text that’s font size 6 where even with a magnifying glass it’s hard to read as ones that are not helping to properly let guests know what your property is doing. 2 out of every 3 properties with pop-ups only have the information on the pop-up. I’ve been tracking this as I look at dozens of property websites a week.

As a guest, and in normal times I am one frequently, I want to know what a property is doing to keep me safe. If I had to travel now, I would definitely stay in a B&B, with the caveat that I can find easily what the property is doing to keep me (and other guests, and themselves) as safe as possible.

While I do agree we don’t want to go overboard, think of how a guest or potential guest views your site to potentially make a reservation (looking at your Google Analytics would help as well), they land on your home page (and may not scroll down below the fold if that is where you have your safety information listed). Where else if anywhere is your safety information listed? Is it a separate page? Do people know to go there, ie is it under the same drop-down tab as your rooms? Does it have a brief mention on your rooms pages or your policies page or your reservations platform? Have you posted about it on Facebook or other social media? How many times? If it was only once, how about mentioning it every few weeks? Have you taken advantage of Tripadvisors ability to let guests know what you are doing additionally? What about Yelp? What about your Google My Business listings?

If your property is taking the extra time and added expense to enhance your cleaning and safety standards, please let your guests know about it. They want reassurance and you can advertise that you care, but you need to let them know you do in ways they will actually see and remember.