If you signed up to beta test Facebook’s Graph Search, which I covered in detail in a previous article here, you should see an invitation at the top of your screen the next time you log into Facebook. It will look like this:
Once you turn it on, the top of the page will transform to this:
It may not be obvious (it wasn’t to me), but the Graph Search bar is at the top where it says “Search for people, places and things”. The Facebook icon turns into a magnifying glass when you hover over it with your mouse, to indicate this.
So, let’s take this thing for a spin and see how guests could use this to find hotels. I first tried to see how many of my friends had checked into Seattle hotels on Facebook. Immediately, Facebook offered me suggestions based on my query.
This is very clever on Facebook’s part. I obviously meant to search for hotels in Seattle that friends had checked into (I don’t care where my friends were from). But Facebook predicted that there might be people who would have searched for friends from Seattle who had checked into hotels. Facebook presented both options to me and let me choose the one I really meant.
What a useful result! Let’s dissect this a bit. Each result shows my friend and which hotel my friend has been to in Seattle. Nate had visited more hotels in Seattle than could fit in the result, so Facebook groups them together as a link. Clicking on the link shows me all of the hotels my friend Nate has checked into.
This is an incredibly useful result for guests planning a trip and wanting genuine recommendations from friends.
To the right you see a box called ‘Refine this search’ which allows you to further filter your results by a friend’s gender, relationship status (for stalkers?), employer, current city, hometown, school, and friendship level (which includes close friends, friends of friends, not friends, and more). Choosing ‘female’ significantly reduces my search results. Guess I need more lady friends. Note that if you hover your mouse over a hotel’s name, a timeline card flies out, showing you the hotel’s cover photo, avatar, basic details, and it gives you the ability to immediately like the page or send a message to the hotel.
Now, the number of filter options this beast gives you is intimidating. Below the Refine box, click the ‘See More’ button–but be warned! The number of options may just make your head explode:
Good gravy. That’s a lot of options. This tool is compelling because it offers the promise of discovering nearly anything you ever wanted to know about your friends–maybe even things they don’t know are public, and might not want you to know. Because of this, my hunch is that Graph Search will take off, and become a go-to tool for many personal queries, including vacation advice.
My previous query was a round-about way of finding hotels on Graph Search. Here’s a more direct route:
With this search, I can actually browse a gallery of hotels my friends have been to. Note the final option Facebook offers: “Hotels my friends are from”. I doubt very many of my friends were born in hotels. At least, I hope not. Looks like Graph Search has a few kinks to get out of its system.
The data for each hotel is taken directly from your hotel Facebook page’s Info section, so make sure your Info section is complete to give you the broadest coverage in Graph Search. Notice that some of these hotels classify themselves into subcategories, like Casino, Landmark or Resort. These subcategories will help them be discovered for queries like “Resorts in X”, so make sure that you list your property as a bed and breakfast, inn, lodge, or cabin subcategory to maximize your exposure.
The possibilities are nearly endless. What are some hotel/travel related queries you can think of?