into Facebook apps was to give the company’s social site utility
and purpose, according to Michael Weisfeld, director of social
media for online marketing agency BusinessOnLine, creators of
the Travel Comparator app that lives on Rail Europe’s Facebook
page. Online consumers can enter their starting and ending
destinations into the app, and the Travel Comparator calculates
travel time via automobile, plane and train.
“(Rail Europe does) a really good job of manning the (Face-
book) wall and the discussion boards, but this really gave it some
dynamic functionality and increased its value,” Weisfeld says.
“We’ve been working with Rail Europe for a number of years to
improve its Web site, and now we’ve been able to extend what
the brand is doing in terms of engagement on the social front.”
The Travel Comparator has had nearly 7,000 users since its
launch in May, according to Ruellan.
“It’s a good start,” he says. “The challenge with us in social
media is measurement. Facebook doesn’t provide analysis as
much as we would want, and we can’t implement traditional
tracking. However, we were still able to establish that post-click
conversions — people who went to the app and then clicked
through to our traditional site — was 1. 5 percent, which is
Ruellan adds that one goal of the company’s latest DR
campaign is to build a consistent customer base and encourage
interaction. “It’s really an awareness campaign, a campaign for
lead generation, but we were really pleased to see there was post-
click conversion,” he says.
A Social Boutique
For Tablet Hotels, founded in 2000 and focused mainly on
the planning stages of traveling, direct response has been cru-