hotel facebook contests made easier

Hotel Facebook contests made easier

One of the best ways to create engagement and buzz on your hotel’s Facebook page, and have some fun at the same time, is to run a contest (sometimes called a promotion or sweepstake). And Facebook has just made it a whole lot easier by lifting some restrictions – restrictions that many businesses ignored anyway!

Anatomy of a contest

A contest

  • Has an entry or registration sequence
  • Usually provides a giveaway or a prize to the winner, and
  • There must be an element of chance to win.

For example, in order to gain Likes for your page, your hotel might run a contest and offer a discounted or free night or an upgraded room to your Like # 1000. Read how Fairmont Hotels used a Facebook contest to segment their fans and how Kimpton’s “Write here, right now” campaign encouraged guests to share their photo or even a haiku, poem or sonnet!


Prior to June 27th, 2013, Facebook had strict guidelines around contests. They required all competitions to use third party applications to administer the contests, and they also required the contests to post disclaimers stating something similar to the following:

“This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to (name of vendor) to send promotional emails and notifications to the email address submitted.

This requirement essentially removed Facebook from direct connection or liability for the contest. Facebook did not allow you to post the winner’s name on your Page before he or she was personally informed. So businesses had to find another way, such as calling, emailing, or snail mailing the recipient of the prize. This created difficulties, because often the winner was difficult to find.

Before After Cookie


You now have two ways to administer contests. As of the end of June, you have the option to administer contests directly on your own Timeline, or you may retain the use of a third party app. It all depends upon your goal for the contest.

Using your Timeline

You can now collect entries:

  • Via users posting on your Page wall
  • By users commenting or liking a Page post
  • By having users message your Page, or
  • Collecting votes via Likes.

According to a Facebook Spokesperson recently:

This capability makes it even easier for smaller businesses to help build awareness for a new product, promote the opening of a new location, sell inventory, or advance other business objectives.  Say, for instance, a local pizza parlor wants to give away free pizza for a month to the 100th person to like its post. Now the business can do this right on its page (and increase awareness of the post via promoted posts) without needing to work with a third-party to build an app (”

Using third party apps

You may have additional marketing priorities for your contests and will therefore continue using apps. Using a third party app allows you to offer a more sophisticated contest. You can:

  • Build your list by collecting email addresses securely
  • Track usage, and
  • Keep accurate statistics.

App or Timeline – which one will you use?

Decide what it is you want by answering the following questions.

  • Can I create a more personalized experience?
  • Is my contest in line with my hotel’s branding strategy?
  • Do I have more space and flexibility for content than Page posts alone?
  • Am I able to collect data in a secure, structured way that may be appealing to advertisers?

Answer: you need to create your contest or promotion via a third party application. Or:

  • Do I want a fast and easy-to-create contest?
  • Am I looking for a broader audience by having my contest/promotion show up in the Newsfeeds of people who Like my Page?

Answer: you may create your contest on your Page Timeline.

Or why not test – and use both. Please note that you may never create a contest on your personal profile.

Tell us

Post below and let us know if you have tried both methods, which one you prefer, and how you decide to deliver your next contest.
We would be most interested!

Image (cc): vincos
Image (cc): Matthew Ragan


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