Facebook announced major changes to the design and functionality of the Facebook Pages. Similar to the Timeline on the user profiles, Facebook Pages will also get the Timline as well as other changes. Those chnages will automatically come in effect to all pages on March 30, 2012.

Visual Overview

(A) Cover Photo (851 x 315px - although no advertising or promoting allowed!) Provides a new opportunity to present your business (or more specifically your hotel). Inserted into the lower left of the Cover photo is your Profile picture.

(B) Tabs
The former left-column navigation that featured apps you added to your Page are now located at the top of the Page. And fewer tabs are displayed, down to 4 optional tabs from 5 in the old layout. You can create a custom tab image for all your apps, even for those you didn't create for all tabs EXCEPT Facebook’s own apps (111 x 74px).

(C) Apps/Custom Tabs
Custom Tabs can now be displayed at 810px this allows for more complexe and complete apps.

Features

Facebook has rolled out several new tools that allow admins to better engage with their audience, and to customize messaging on the timeline.

Admins can no longer control where new visitors land when they come to their Facebook Page — the “default landing tab” option is gone. This marks the end of the classic fangate app!

Admins can now “pin” posts to the top of the Wall (for up to a week) in order to highlight specific content.

Highlighting or Pinning a post will change it to a full-width format, rather than half-width like most stories. This is great if you are highlighting a photo or a video because they get much more room.

Milestones

Milestones are posts that highlight a moment or story in the history of your brand (or the world). You can add milestones to any point (date) in your Timeline. By default, milestones appear in the highlighted post format (wide).

Back-date your posts Back-dating is essentially creating a milestone out of any previously published post, and these stories can be more than just images and text.

We think Timeline for Pages is a great change (except for losing the default landing tab). Use the that is left before the features will be turned on automatically to preapre your page. Contact us if you need support with your Page or visit our facebook page for an example of the new Timeline Page

You might have noticed that within your Google Analytics account a new set of reports called "Search Engine Optimization" (1) is available. You can find the report in the new interface, under the "Traffic Sources" section. After you connect your accounts, the data becomes almost instantly available, although data from the past two days is not visible.

Queries Report

The "Queries" report lists the top 1000 queries along with the number of impressions, clicks, position and CTR (click-through rate). The average position displayed needs a bit of an explanation since some of your keywords you ranked for will display as e.g. 1.5 average position. What it means is that Google calculates the average position based on the ranking of each result returned for the given keyword. Here is an example from Google's Webmaster Help: "To calculate average position, we take into account the ranking of your site for a particular query (for example, if a query returns your site as the #1 and #2 result, then the average position would be 1.5)."

Finding Optimization Opportunities

Using the advanced filters you can discover optimization opportunities such as e.g. queries you rank for but but are not #1 or #2. These are interesting keywords. Since these queries already send you visits, a gain in rankings could lead to a big gain in traffic. Not all keywords should be optimized - it is important to keep your conversions based on those keywords in mind.

Focusing on the standard search results, we first add the "Secondary dimension" - "Google Property". Then go to the advanced filter and search for the following.

Landing Pages Report

The Landing Pages report shows how many times your top landing pages were shown in search results, as well as the number of clicks on those landing pages. The report gives you a brief overview on the search visibility of your site- but since it doesn't show the search queries performed it is not as useful as the other reports.

Geographical Summary

The Geographical report shows you impressions and click-through rates by country using the secondary dimensions and the advanced filtering functionality you can focus on the various Google properties (e.g. image search, web search). This report is useful to get a better understanding of how your site performs in different countries.

Eyefortravel is running a very interesting interview with Rob Torres, managing director for Travel at Google.  Here are some of the best quotes and highlights:

The need to take Mobile distribution more seriously:

“The travel industry has always placed adoption of new technology at the bottom of the priority list; thus, the development of a mobile web site is often overlooked as the foundational step of being engaged in the Mobile space. I believe that our industry is truly missing the boat so far; travel companies need to consider a mobile, commerce-enabled site as an additional revenue stream and make it a forward-looking element of their 2010 distribution strategy.”

Nature of mobile bookings:
InterContinental Hotels Group shared that the group’s statistics show that roughly 70 percent of mobile web bookings are same day compared to 11 percent via the web.

“Consumers are using mobile to book an additional night at a hotel that they are already staying at. They are also using mobile for the drive-up booking, when on the road or on the move and in quick need of a booking at an upcoming location.”

Projections of mobile reservations:

“It’s no longer: Should I build for Mobile or not. You have to be developing and preparing to capture the traffic that is coming through the Mobile channel to flourish in tomorrow’s travel space. Phocuswright predicts that US travelers will spend $76 million on direct domestic hotel bookings through a mobile device this year.
Google is seeing that mobile Hotel queries have grown almost 3000% in three short years. So, although there are some developing, not quite fully-baked parts of the platform, mobile is a must.”

Read the full article at Eyefortravel

A single language website is not sufficient if you target the european market. A new EU-wide survey shows that 90 percent of Internet users prefer to surf online in their own language. Mirroring our experience throughout various eCommerce projects and Hotel portals.

A new study released by Eurobarometer of the European Commission questioned a total of 13 500 people accross the 27 EU member states. One of the survey's findings is that 48 percent of those interviewd use English "occasionally" online- making it still the lingua franca.

What does this mean for eCommerce?

If you look closer the study shows that only 18% of the EU Internet users surveyed said that they buy online in languages besides their own. 42% never buy in a language other than their own. Depending on the countries this number varies.

You might be missing out on almost 50% of potential buyers on your website. It's time to review your strategy on multi language websites.

Get the full report here

Facebook announced major changes to the design and functionality of its Pages, bringing them closer to individual user profiles in look and functionality.

We are excited about these updates, as they will improve the ability of our customers to interact and connect with audiences. The changes include visual changes, new options to promote brands and companies as well as greatly increasing your ability to build richer application experiences using iFrames.

The changes go into effect for all Facebook Pages on March 10, which gives you four weeks to preview the new format. Your can switch over at any time to unlcock the new features. It’s important to learn how they work in order to make the most of them. Below is a map of the new features, followed by an additional summary of the changes:

  1. Photo strip above the Wall (with the most recent photos you posted or tagged) TIP: To optimize your photos size them to 96x67px in order to fit in the space provided and plan for them to be in random order.
  2. Tabs move over to the left panel, in the form of a list (maximum of 6 above the fold)
  3. Profile picture reduced from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540
  4. Pages can Like other Pages, not just favorite them
  5. Featured Pages and Admins
  6. Mutual Friends and Interests section

The replacement of tabs with the photo strip at the top adds a dynamic, colorful element that will significantly improve the look of the average Facebook Page. The photos are drawn from the most recent ones you posted to your Wall and those you tagged. Users can hide undesirable photos. The new left placement of tabs also allows for longer tab names.

By enabling Fan Page admins to comment in the name of the page itself and to interact with other Fan pages, Facebook has finally made it possible for brands to utilize the same methods that has powered the interaction and its growth among individuals. Your power as a page administrator is increased in a number of other ways, including the ability to set filters on your Wall so that visitors see relevant posts first, and to view all the content and get notices whenever someone posts to your wall.

Workmatrix has developed a new mobile website for Design Hotels, the Berlin-based hotel portal that features boutique hotels around the world. The mobile site, design specifically for use on iPhones, features nearly 200 design-oriented hotels in 40 countries.

The new site allows travelers to find design hotels in their immediate vicinity or by location or name. It also allows users to check availability and rates and complete a reservation, with confirmation returned by SMS or email.

The reservation system is powered through a link to each hotel’s Sabre Hospitality CRS and pulls inventory from the hotel’s normal GDS/IDS allotments.

Workmatrix has worked on many projects with Design Hotels since 2004.