Google has always been a valued Priceline Group partner but, until now, Facebook not so much. The Facebook relationship with Booking.com is improving, however, as the two behemoths increasingly friend one another.
After years of dismissing Facebook as an ineffective marketing channel, Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston says his brands are “finally” getting good traction through retargeting efforts on Facebook.
During the Priceline Group’s second quarter earnings call August 5, Huston said he has to give Facebook credit for the marketing strides they are making and officials from both companies are actively speaking about making further improvements in deciphering traveler intent.
Huston said the Priceline Group has always “struggled” in trying to leverage some of the big horizontal platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Wechat, Yahoo and the Microsoft’s MSN so the breakthrough with Facebook is significant.
“They are investing a lot of time and energy into it,” Huston said, referring to Facebook management.
In Facebook’s second quarter earnings call July 29, COO Sheryl Sandberg cited Facebook’s partnership with Priceline Group brand Booking.com and its progress with Facebook’s Book Now button.
“In Q2 they saw meaningful booking results and they’re expanding Facebook ads across multiple markets,” said Sandberg.
Huston said today that the breakthrough with Facebook would be significant for Booking.com. “We are finally getting some good” traction, Huston said.
Mobile is Huge and Getting Bigger
In other Priceline Group news, Huston said he expects half of the Group’s business to take place on mobile devices within two to three years. He said about one-third of bookings occurred on mobile devices in the second quarter and on one Sunday alone in the quarter Booking.com processed 300,000 bookings on mobile devices.
While lauding Facebook, Huston also praised Google, saying “Google is working better and better for us” in attracting Web-based mobile traffic and bookings.
Unlike the Priceline Group’s Kayak and OpenTable brands, the bulk of Booking.com’s mobile business is Web-based, Huston said. Kayak and OpenTable are more app-based because customers use these apps frequently to check flights and restaurants, respectively, he said.
Booking.com gets leads from Google for lots of customers using Web-based mobile devices that Booking.com hasn’t seen before, Huston said, adding that its app customers are more loyal.
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Photo credit: Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston says Booking.com's marketing through Facebook is becoming much more effective. Pictured is Huston's Facebook profile picture. Facebook