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Social dining – new Facebook feature increases mobile bookings

Facebook has rolled out a new update to its ‘Pages’ function that hopes to help restaurants, bars and other eating establishments boost bookings when their Facebook page is accessed on a mobile device. This is the first major revamp to the ‘Pages’ element of Facebook since 2012.

Hospitality businesses will be able to take advantage of a more prominent ‘call-to-action’ button on their profile pages. The CTA will be to use the mobile version of Facebook to make direct contact with restaurants and bars via their social networking pages.

Cafes, bistros and restaurants will also now have the ability to list their menus, wine lists, beverage information and other products that they retail through two brand new Facebook Pages sections, which they have named ‘shop’ and ‘services’.

The number of people using Pages has risen considerably, and continues to do so

Already, in excess of one billion people use Facebook Pages every month. Facebook’s aim is to begin to compete with listing sites such as Yelp, as well as Google’s policy of placing important information about a restaurant on their listing pages – such as how the restaurant has been rated by its customers, customer reviews, contact information and web site details. Yelp and other listing sites already make it easy for diners searching for a decent place to eat to connect with bars, restaurants and other eateries in their vicinity.

A statement from Facebook about the update said: “People are spending more time on their phones and tablets, which means businesses need to keep up with people’s expectation that they can find information and communicate with a business anytime, anywhere, on any device.” The statement was made by Benji Shomair, who is the director of product marketing for Pages at Facebook. “The recent updates to Pages help businesses communicate easily with people through messaging and emphasise the information that helps them drive their goals, making Facebook the mobile solution for your business,” he went on to say.

People now increasingly likely to perform ‘internet-based research’ via mobile devices

Facebook’s opinion on mobile-optimised diners is hardly misplaced. According to analysis by Google, on average a little over three out of every ten sales in the dining niche are driven by research performed by diners over the internet. When conducting internet-driven research, over twenty-five percent of hungry customers will use a mobile device to do so.

Facebook has said that it has a substantial number of plans for Pages over the coming months, and that it will be testing new updates well into 2016 and beyond.

The hope is, naturally, that all forthcoming changes to Facebook Pages will improve the convenience of the browsing experience for smartphone and tablet users. The changes will benefit bars and restaurants in that it will lead to a greater number of successful conversions and therefore sales for business who have invested in a Facebook presence, and will encourage other businesses to explore the world’s most popular social networking app as a revenue channel.