Facebook hires its first head of travel, Lee McCabe

Skift Take

The hiring doesn’t mean that Facebook will be getting into travel transactions any time soon, but it does want to fine-tune its message to the travel industry.

— Dennis Schaal

Wondering if your travel business is using Facebook effectively or if you are trying to run before you can walk? Facebook recently hired Lee McCabe, its first head of travel, and he may be the go-to-guy for this kind of advice.

McCabe is also expected to be Facebook’s public face at travel conferences and events, and he’s no newcomer to the travel business.

A UK native, McCabe held various market management posts at Expedia over the past five years, working from Sydney and the Seattle area, before coming to Facebook in October.

Facebook has been hiring executives to head its various verticals with travel being the latest post to get filled.

“I have kept a keen eye on the evolution of social in travel and I’m very excited to join Facebook,” McCabe told Skift. “Travel is inherently social, so it will continue to present some very interesting opportunities for the industry.”

McCabe plans on working with travel partners on best practices and sorting through the social network’s abundant offerings for travel marketers.

“A big part of the role is helping our travel partners reach existing objectives by connecting, engaging, and influencing consumers on the Facebook platform,” McCabe says. “We’re already doing that by identifying the right solutions for travel, such as Custom Audiences, Facebook Exchange and Offers. So far, our partners that have the most clear objectives and focus on core solutions are seeing the most success.”

No word from McCabe yet on a variety of hot-button issues, including whether there’s a need for “social travel” sites other than Facebook, and how travel marketers can effectively leverage Facebook through its — and their own — mobile offerings.

Stay tuned for more as Facebook tailors its message to the travel industry, and McCabe makes his way around the travel conference circuit in 2013.

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