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Facebook Offers New Communication Tools for Businesses


facebook has new communication tools for businesses via sejournal mattgsouthern

Facebook has rolled out several updates that are targeted at small businesses. These include audio & video chats in Messenger, live audio rooms and many other features.

These updates come just in time to celebrate the holiday shopping season which is reportedly responsible for 20% of small business’ annual revenue.

This season businesses will have more options to communicate with their customers, including the ability to book more appointments through Facebook and more ways to create ad campaigns.

Here’s a summary of all the Facebook announcements this week.

New Facebook Features For Businesses

Audio & Video Calling

Facebook will begin to test audio and visual calling with small and medium-sized businesses that use Messenger’s Business Inbox.

This app will allow you to combine phone, video and text communication in one application.

Messenger allows businesses to seamlessly communicate with customers and facilitate transactions.

This enhanced capability can be used to help businesses close more sales by allowing customers access to hard-to-find items right away.

Live Audio Rooms

Facebook expands the ability to create live audio rooms for small businesses.

The Live Audio Rooms were launched earlier in the year and are widely considered to be Facebook’s answer for Clubhouse.

Small businesses have the ability to host live conversations about topics that are relevant to customers. People can also find them on Facebook.

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Hosts may invite followers, creators, friends, or anyone else in the room to speak. You can invite speakers either in advance or during the conversation.

Facebook business tools
Screenshot from facebook.com/business/news, October 2021.

Bookings for Appointments

Booking appointments on Facebook is expanding worldwide. This feature is being gradually introduced by Facebook to small businesses around the world.

Owners of small businesses can manage and receive appointments from existing and new clients through their Facebook page.

Businesses have the option to book appointments at no additional cost.

Facebook business toolsScreenshot from facebook.com/business/news, October 2021.

Modifications to Personalized Ads

Facebook uses personalized ads to show people that they support small businesses.

Users may, for example, see messages when they click on small business ads.

This message will remind the user that they are helping small businesses grow and be found by more customers.

Facebook business tools
Screenshot from facebook.com/business/news, October 2021.

Facebook Business Suite Updates

Facebook Business Suite now offers new tools that will allow small businesses to save time and concentrate on holiday orders.

Updates to Business Suite will simplify the process of creating ads and give business owners new insight.

You can see the full list of changes here:

  • Ability to create Instagram-only ads from your desktop
  • We have new insights that will help us measure our ad performance.
  • Recommendations for audience targeting
  • Recommendations for campaign optimizations
  • Access to the best official practices is easy.
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Up-to-date information about Ad Creation

It’s now easier to create ads on your Facebook Business Page.

Facebook has aligned the Ads Manager ad creation process to better align campaign goals with traditional marketing goals like awareness, site traffic, leads or sales.

Three goals are now being combined from the 11 options that businesses had to choose from previously:

Automated Ads
Create an Ad
Enhance Existing Content

Källa: Facebook For Business

Featured Image: Screenshot from facebook.com/business/news


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10 best IHG all-inclusive resorts to book



We admit IHG Hotels & Resorts hasn’t traditionally been an all-inclusive-heavy hospitality group. That’s soon to change, though, thanks to IHG’s new partnership with Spanish hospitality company Iberostar. The move will incorporate the all-inclusive Iberostar Beachfront Resorts into the IHG One Rewards program. The partnership will include up to 70 resorts across the Americas and the Mediterranean, including Northern Africa.

Until the IHG-Iberostar alliance comes online, travelers can choose from several true all-inclusive resorts within the IHG family and more properties that include full-board or half-board rates. Family-friendly hotels in Jamaica, ultra-luxe wellness retreats in India and Maldivian resorts with overwater bungalows — these are some of our favorites.

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive

Montego Bay, Jamaica


Best for: Families sticking to a budget on a Caribbean vacation.

Why stay here: A vacation at this all-inclusive resort won’t break the bank, but it still comes with a private beach in a prime Montego Bay location.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

One of IHG’s true all-inclusive resorts, the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay has a prime location on Jamaica’s northern shore. It’s less than 10 minutes from Sangster International Airport (MBJ) and just 15 minutes from Montego Bay’s commercial center. Since this is an all-inclusive resort, though, there’s no real need to leave the property.

The hotel has a private sandy beach plus a small island with lounge chairs for sunbathing across a shallow lagoon. Access to nonmotorized water sports is included.

For activities and entertainment, there are two pools, a spa, kids and teens clubs, and sports courts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are also included in the rate. Meals are served at the buffet or four a la carte restaurants that span Jamaican to Italian cuisine. There is also a smattering of bars, including a pool bar at the adults-only section of the resort. (The pool bar is a welcome spot for couples, as the 500-plus rooms here are often filled with families.)

Rates at the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive start at $197 or 50,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa All-Inclusive

Zihuatenejo, Guerrero, Mexico



Best for: West Coast families or couples seeking a long-weekend getaway.

Why stay here: This beachfront resort is located within a five-minute walk of downtown Ixtapa.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

Ixtapa may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering resort destinations on Mexico’s west coast, but that means you’ll find solid deals here. This is true of the Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa, an all-inclusive beach resort with an ideal location across the street from Ixtapa’s main shopping and entertainment area. There are 431 rooms, including suites with two bathrooms that are ideal for families. Adjoining rooms are also available.

The property features two pools, four restaurants, a sports bar, a kids club and a gym. Unfortunately, though, there’s no spa. The resort offers access to a public beach, so you’ll likely have to contend with beach vendors. Compared to other all-inclusive resorts, amenities are more limited, so we recommend this property for long-weekend getaways rather than full-week stays. Still, there’s no denying you can find great deals here.

Rates at the Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa All-Inclusive start at $182 or 50,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

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Six Senses Vana

Dehradun, India



Best for: An all-inclusive wellness retreat in a serene, nature-friendly environment.

Why stay here: Enjoy an in-depth wellness consultation at the start of your stay. Based on this consultation, a plan of treatments, activities, experiences and meals will be designed just for you.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

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If beach vacations aren’t your thing, consider an all-inclusive wellness retreat. One of the luxury brand’s newest properties, Six Senses Vana sits outside the Indian city of Dehradun on 21 private acres in the foothills of the Himalayas. Though you can book single-night stays, the property is best known for its multi-day wellness programs. Options include five-night sleep, detox and yoga programs, and 14-night and 17-night Ayurveda programs.

Even if you don’t select one of those more intensive programs, you’ll still receive wellness consultations and personalized treatments, nutrition plans and access to group activities — all of which are included in the rate. You’ll receive a kurta, or tunic, to wear while you’re on the property and given a red-string blessing for your wrist.

Beyond all the wellness treatments and programs, there’s also time for a little fun. Enjoy a pool, sports courts and a cinema when you’re not getting a massage, taking a yoga class or spending time in the meditation cave.

Rates at Six Senses Vana start at $1,003 or 100,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Bora Bora, French Polynesia



Best for: Island-hoppers searching for that perfect overwater villa experience.

Why stay here: The 13,000-square-foot Deep Ocean Spa offers Polynesian-inspired treatments performed in serene glass-bottom bungalows.

Best way to book: Book through our partner Skylark to earn IHG points while enjoying elite-like benefits and on-property credits or via American Express’ Fine Hotels + Resorts or Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, or redeem your points by booking directly with IHG.

Scratch your overwater bungalow itch with a stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, where all 84 guest villas hover above the water. You can upgrade from a standard beach view to a Mount Otemanu view or splurge on a two-bedroom villa with a private pool.

Though not an all-inclusive property, the resort does offer a half-board rate that comes with breakfast and dinner. (Potential guests should note that dinner does not include drinks or room service.) Breakfast is absolutely worth it, though. Our reviewer noted extensive offerings, from cold spreads to an omelet station to a Polynesian specialty table.

The included dinners are three-course meals at either the Reef Restaurant or the Sands Restaurant, which serve French and international cuisine, respectively. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for the exquisite dining experience at the Le Corail Restaurant, a romantic French fine dining spot.

One can’t-miss amenity at this resort is the Thalasso Spa. As its name indicates, the spa focuses on thalassotherapy treatments that incorporate sea-based ingredients. The treatment rooms are overwater, so you can look at the fish beneath you during a massage.

Rates at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa start at $1,148 or 120,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort

Raa Atoll, Maldives



Best for: Families and couples looking for a Maldivian experience with a more all-inclusive feel.

Why stay here: From The Retreat, an adults-only enclave, to the family-centered, three-bedroom overwater residences, each guest can find a space right for them.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points or via Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

Though it’s not an all-inclusive resort, the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau does have an all-inclusive package — a pretty stellar one at that. The package includes three meals daily, unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, seaplane transfers, a 30-minute photoshoot, and Club InterContinental benefits like afternoon tea and happy hour.

Keep in mind that there’s a four-day minimum stay to book this package. If you plan to stay for fewer days, consider the half-board option that just includes breakfast and dinner (and that 30-minute photoshoot and Club InterContinental benefits).

The resort has 81 villas — including overwater bungalows — and caters to all types of travelers, including families. There’s a kids club with a water park, but there’s also an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar (not to mention a spa and fitness center) for couples or adult groups on vacation. The cuisine is quite varied at the five restaurants, one of which is a Mediterranean spot at the lighthouse.

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Rates at the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort start at $974 or 120,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

InterContinental Resort Mauritius

Fort Balaclava, Mauritius



Best for: Families and couples who don’t mind having kids around.

Why stay here: It’s easy to relax at this beach resort, where the vibe is delightfully laid-back and low-key.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

Coming off a renovation in 2021, the InterContinental Resort Mauritius is a high-design resort on a private beach. While it has offered all-inclusive packages in the past, they’re not always available. Instead, you might have to go with a half-board package.

Still, hotels in Mauritius, including this one, often have lower prices than their counterparts in other Indian Ocean nations. This can make spending on lunch a palatable affair (pun intended). There are four restaurants here, plus a beach bar and a lobby bar.

The resort is largely family-friendly and offers a standout kids club with robust programming. It also has extensive event and meeting space — you’ll really find all sorts of travelers here. While the hotel is set on a beach, the sea here isn’t all that great for swimming. However, there are two lovely pools. There’s also a boat house where you can rent kayaks and snorkel gear, and book boating excursions.

Rates at the InterContinental Resort Mauritius start at $336 or 76,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort

Phu Quoc, Vietnam



Best for: Beach-loving families and couples looking for a Southeast Asian getaway.

Why stay here: On Vietnam’s largest island, this resort has everything you need for a tropical vacation, from two massive pools to six bars and restaurants to a spa.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

The InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is not an all-inclusive property, but it actually has a pretty impressive full-board package. The deal includes a buffet breakfast plus a three-course lunch and dinner at three of the property’s four restaurants (excluding the fine-dining restaurant Lava).

Each guest also receives a daily cocktail at the Ink 360 rooftop bar, as well as 20% off food and nonalcoholic beverage bills as part of the IHG One Rewards Dining Privilege. That includes sweet treats at the Pearl Lounge and grab-and-go items at Mercado.

The resort houses most of its 459 rooms in one of five towers, including the 19-story Sky Tower, which features a rooftop bar. However, there are also stand-alone three- and four-bedroom villas with private pools. Enjoy shared amenities like four pools (including a lap pool and one with a waterslide), a spa, a fitness center, a kids club, sports courts and a beach hut from which guests can partake in nonmotorized water sports for free.

Rates at the InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort start at $148 or 26,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino

Noord, Aruba



Best for: IHG One Rewards members who want to earn and burn points while vacationing in Aruba.

Why stay here: A massive resort in the center of it all, this property is ideal for budget-conscious families, as kids 11 and younger stay and dine for free and only a dining fee is charged for guests between 12 and 19.

Best way to book: Book the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino directly through the resort’s website, as it’s the only way to reserve the all-inclusive package.

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The Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino is a solid choice for families. It offers a “kids stay free” deal for guests 19 and under who stay in a room with their parents, and a “kids eat free” deal available to children 11 and under.

Its all-inclusive package kicks the hotel up a notch for adults, too. It includes three meals a day in any on-property restaurant, house drinks and nonalcoholic beverages, a $75 spa credit, and a 25% discount for tours and water sports by a third-party operator. The package does require a four-night stay, but that shouldn’t be hard to meet.

The 590-room resort is located on the popular Palm Beach in Noord, and it offers guests three pools, a kids club, sports courts, five restaurants, a lobby bar and cafe, a spa and a casino. There are also complimentary bike rentals for guests who want to explore the area.

Rates at the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino start at $250 or 45,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives

South Malé Atoll, Maldives



Best for: IHG One Rewards members looking for a reasonable redemption rate in one of the world’s most exclusive destinations.

Why stay here: This is one of the more affordable resorts in the Maldives that still has overwater bungalows — and solid snorkeling and surfing.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

The Maldives might have a reputation for over-the-top luxury, but there are several properties that offer a strong value. The Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is one of them.

Though it’s a more basic property, it has overwater bungalows and an all-inclusive package that comes with three meals a day at Kandooma Cafe, a beverage package for alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, shared airport transfers and complimentary nonmotorized sports. On top of that, kids 11 and under stay and eat free here.

If you’d like to dine beyond Kandooma Cafe, there are a few eateries and bars for light snacks. The Kitchen restaurant offers a full sit-down affair. The resort features a spa, a pool and a kids club. However, overall, amenities are a little limited. There are free snorkel trips each morning, and you can snorkel on your own around part of the resort. This is also one of the few places in the Maldives you can surf.

Rates at the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives start at $183 or 30,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Crowne Plaza Jordan – Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Swemieh, Jordan



Best for: Travelers exploring Jordan who need a few days of rest and relaxation.

Why stay here: A grand resort on the Dead Sea, this property has a nearly 60,000-square-foot pool called The Lake, as well as an adults-only infinity pool.

Best way to book: Book directly with IHG to earn or redeem IHG One Rewards points and enjoy any elite benefits.

Many visitors to Jordan rush off to Petra and Wadi Rum on an action-packed itinerary. When it comes time for a rest, though, there’s no better place to go than a beach resort on the Dead Sea. The Crowne Plaza Jordan – Dead Sea Resort & Spa provides the perfect respite — with an all-inclusive package to boot. The offer includes three meals a day plus soft drinks.

This is a sprawling resort with 420 rooms set on a private beach, but its nearly 60,000-square-foot pool can easily compete with the Dead Sea. There’s also a similarly sized spa with 30 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy circuit and a Dead Sea saltwater pool, among other wellness amenities.

Of the four appealing dining venues, the Burj Al Hamam restaurant, which serves Lebanese cuisine, is a standout. The Promenade Restaurant is also popular for its beach views and cocktails at sunset.

Rates at the Crowne Plaza Jordan – Dead Sea Resort & Spa start at $160 or 27,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.


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Facebook Rules Social Media Kingdom, But Elon Musk Has A Tweet Up His Sleeve – Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), Similarweb (NYSE:SMWB)


Facebook Rules Social Media Kingdom, But Elon Musk Has A Tweet Up His Sleeve - Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), Similarweb (NYSE:SMWB)

In a world where Facebook-parent Meta Platforms Inc. META reigns supreme with three out of the top five social media platforms in terms of monthly users, curiosity arose when Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, reacted to these stats. 

What Happened: The Twitter account World of Statistics recently released a compilation of the “most popular” social media platforms based on their monthly active users, where Facebook claimed the top spot with a staggering 2.99 billion users, closely followed by YoutubeWhatsAppInstagram och Tick tack, owned by ByteDance, rounding up the top five contenders on the list.

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Interestingly, Musk’s Twitter was not even in the top 10 but at number 16 with 450 million monthly active users. 

The tech billionaire responded to these numbers saying when evaluating social media platforms based on total user hours per month, the microblogging site would emerge as a significantly higher-ranking contender. 

Later, Similarweb Ltd. SMWB, a digital intelligence company, also took to Twitter and shared a list of top-performing social media platforms in terms of traffic to their website over the last three months. 

YouTube claimed the top spot with a remarkable 32.33 billion visits, followed by Facebook with 16.87 billion. Twitter secured the third position with 6.353 billion visits, followed by Instagram at 6.185 billion. 

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Netizens were quick to notice that while in terms of monthly active users, Twitter might not rank in the top 10, the microblogging site has a much higher position when it comes to traffic. 

Why It’s Important: For the unversed, Mark Zuckerberg-led Meta plans to launch a decentralized text-based social media platform to rival Musk’s Twitter. The upcoming platform was reportedly codenamed “P92,” which now goes by the name “Barcelona.” 

Previously, it was also reported that since Musk became the owner of Twitter, fewer users are actively engaging with his posts on the platform. The tech billionaire also reportedly fired a Twitter engineer because he wasn’t happy about the impressions on his own tweets.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Consumer Tech coverage by following this link

Läs nästa: Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue Subscriber Base Growth’ Hasn’t Even Doubled’ Month After Relaunch


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Meta, Apple rivalry enters new phase as tech giants go after headsets


Meta, Apple rivalry enters new phase as tech giants go after headsets

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., demonstrates the Meta Quest Pro during the virtual Meta Connect event in New York, US, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg och Äpple vd Tim Cook have spent the last several years sparring over internet privacy and digital advertising. But they’ve never competed head-to-head in a real way.

That’s about to change.

With Apple officially announcing its long-awaited mixed-reality headset — the Vision Pro — on Monday, the iPhone maker and Facebook’s parent are now firmly in the same market.

Zuckerberg and Cook both see the next major era of personal computing as one that involves people putting on a headset to enter a virtual world and interacting with digital objects in 3D. Cook describes it as spatial computing, and Zuckerberg calls it the metaverse. Other technologists refer to it as mixed or augmented reality, because digital imagery can be superimposed on to the physical world.

Facebook jumped into the market nine years ago, when it acquired VR headset startup Oculus for $2 billion. In late 2021, the company changed its name to Meta, and Zuckerberg committed to spending billions of dollars a quarter developing the underlying VR and AR technologies needed to make his vision of the future a reality.

As of today, Meta owns the lion’s share of a nascent market, far outpacing rivals like Sony, HTC and Magic Leap in headset sales. Research firm CCS Insight recently rapporterad that global shipments of VR and AR headsets fell over 12% to 9.6 million in 2022 from the prior year, as consumers pulled back on discretionary spending.

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Several technology analysts told CNBC in December that Apple’s entry into the VR and AR market could give the sector the jolt it needs to start getting consumers more excited about the upsides of the technology.

As CCS Insight analyst Leo Gebbie said, “If one company has the ability to transform the VR market overnight, it’s Apple.”

But Apple hasn’t said exactly when Vision Pro will be available — only that it will be sometime early next year. More important, it’s hardly designed to be a mass-market product, at least at the beginning. The initial price is $3,499.

That gives Zuckerberg some breathing room. Meta’s Quest family of VR headsets include the $300 Quest 2 and the $500 Quest 3, which will be available in the fall. The company’s Reality Labs division, which is responsible for hardware and software development, lost $13.72 billion last year and $3.99 billion in the first quarter.

Wall Street hammered Meta in 2022, sending the stock down by almost two-thirds, partly on concerns about the excessive metaverse costs. But the shares have rebounded this year after Zuckerberg reeled in expenses in other corners of the company, including customer service, och trust and safety.

Business model spat

For Zuckerberg, turning mixed reality into a business reality has become central to the company’s future.

Unlike Apple or Google parent Alphabet, Meta doesn’t control an operating system akin to iOS or Android. Those platforms have allowed Apple and Google to dominate the smartphone market, helping them generate billions of dollars from their respective app stores and allowing them to dictate the rules that third-party developers — including Facebook — must follow.

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Apple’s 2021 privacy change to iOS so badly wounded Facebook that the company förutspått soon thereafter that it would result in a $10 billion hit to revenue in 2022. The update limited the ability for Facebook and other social media companies to track users across the web and deliver targeted advertising. Meta’s massive and fast-growing online ad business suddenly found its business shrinking.

Zuckerberg has been vocal about what he considers to be Apple’s unfair iOS and app store policies. His company said that by removing targeting capabilities, Apple was badly hurting the many small businesses that used Facebook’s ad model to reach new customers in an efficient way.

Last November, Zuckerberg sa at a conference that “Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control unilaterally what apps get on a device.” He added, “I don’t think that’s a sustainable or good place to be.”

For his part, Cook has been unsympathetic, long criticizing Facebook for being in the business of making money off users’ personal information rather than selling a product that people want to buy. In 2021, Cook linked Facebook’s business model to real-world consequences like violence or reducing public trust in Covid.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands next to the new Apple Vision Pro headset is displayed during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” Cook said at a data privacy conference in Brussels. He didn’t mention Facebook by name at the time.

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By developing the metaverse on its own terms, Meta has its best shot at sidestepping Apple’s dominance and writing its own rules. It’s a giant gamble, though, envisioning that the metaverse will tip into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, Apple knows all about making consumer products for the masses, whether it’s computers, digital music players, smartphones, tablets or watches. And Apple has its own new operating system for the Vision Pro that it’s calling visionOS. That means Meta and Apple will be competing for developers, who want to get their games and apps to the widest audience possible.

Disney provided some potentially concerning news on that front to Meta on Monday.

After previously touting the promise the metaverse, Disney recently killed its metaverse division under the leadership of Bob Iger, who returned to the company last year.

On Monday, Iger took to the stage at Apple’s WWDC event and sa his company’s streaming service would be available for the new headset. While some Disney content is available on Quest devices, Iger suggested that a whole new set of experiences are coming to Apple.

“We’re constantly in search of new ways to entertain, inform and inspire our fans by combining extraordinary creativity with groundbreaking technology to create truly remarkable experiences,” Iger said during the keynote address. “And we believe Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary platform that can make our vision a reality.”

Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

WATCH: Apple’s VR rollout is a paradigm shift in how consumers do computing

Apple's VR rollout is a paradigm shift in how consumers do computing, says Deepwater's Gene Munster


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