With social media more important to travel inspiration than ever, Facebook and Instagram are rolling out a new feature that could be of interest to travel advisors: the ability to accept and manage appointments, customer information and send appointment reminders through the two social media apps.
How it works: the new tool will allow small businesses with an Instagram business profile and a connected Facebook page to enable new and existing customers to book services with their businesses. So, for example, if you share a great travel photo on your Facebook or Instagram account, potential clients who feel inspired to book a trip will be able to navigate to your Facebook or Instagram profile and schedule an appointment to book with you on the spot -- it's instant gratification!
Travel advisors using the service will be able to accept appointments online and send reminders to clients through Facebook Messenger or via text message. You’ll also be able to customize your menu of services, display your availability and accept and manage all appointments directly from your business page, as well as sync appointments with your personal calendar or another appointment management tool.
The service is free for all businesses on Facebook and Instagram, including SMS and Messenger reminders to clients.
To get started, you’ll need to be your Facebook page’s admin or editor. Go to your page and click the blue call-to-action button below the page’s cover photo. Then click “Book with you,” followed by “Book Now,” “Next” and “Appointments on Facebook.” Finally, click “Start Setup.”
From here, click “Next” if you want to show your available appointments, or “Not Now” if you don’t. If you choose to show available appointments, clients will be able to see your agency’s availability and book an appointment with you automatically from your page. If not, they will be able to message you with a request for an appointment.
If you’ve chosen to show your available appointments, you’ll be able to set the days and times you want to regularly offer appointments on your calendar and then click “Next,” after which you’ll be able to adjust your preferences for things like appointment approval and advance notice. After that, click “Next” again to review your services, and then click “Next” one more time to choose whether or not you’d like to send customers appointment reminders or follow-up messages. After that, click “Done.” Customers will now be able to book appointments with you through your Facebook page and, if you have a connected Instagram business profile, you’ll be able to connect the appointment tool with that as well.