WHAT IS IT?
Facebook rolled out a new travel-planning feature that gives mobile app users the ability to browse a curated list of cities that their friends have visited, along with recommendations of places to go and things to do within each city. Described by TechCrunch as a potential challenger to Foursquare, City Guides show the profile icons of your friends who have visited each destination. Once a user clicks through to a specific City Guide, they’ll find a list of itinerary items, including places friends have been, such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses. This information is presumably aggregated from check-ins and posts from each friend.
HOW CAN I UTILIZE CITY GUIDES?
As a user, this feature seems to be most useful if your friends list includes a lot of well-traveled folks. Additionally, each guide features a list of “Places the Locals Go” that highlights popular businesses with high ratings. Users are also given the ability to add locations to their “Saved” section, similar to videos or links, which allows them to create a bucket list of places they might want to visit in the near or distant future.
As a brand, you might need to wait for a few more updates before you see your destination included in City Guides. For now, City Guides only seem to focus on major international cities. Smaller destinations that might just be as popular aren’t included in the initial rollout. Facebook has noted the feature’s limited availability, so brands should expect to see updates once the feature has been rolled out on a broader scale.
ARE THERE ANY NEXT STEPS I CAN TAKE?
As of right now, there aren’t many next steps brands can take. As the data curated in the City Guides feature is aggregated from user experiences and check-in data, the ability for brands to alter the content is not a possibility. In order for your hotel, restaurant or business to appear, it already needs to be a popular spot within the destination. As for destinations, there isn’t any information from Facebook stating that destinations can curate their own City Guides at the moment. As with most features on Facebook, if the new feature is deemed successful, monetizing seems inevitable. In the future, this would allow brands a bit more control in regards to their exposure in a certain City Guide.
Until then, MMGY Global will continue to provide insights about any City Guides updates or new features.