Social media in its current form has existed for well over a decade and continues to rapidly increase in popularity each year. There are approximately two billion individuals across the globe using popular social media websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Snapchat. This is no flash in the pan and is not going away anytime soon. According to figures released by the Pew Research Center last October, 65% of American adults use social networking sites, up from 7% a decade earlier. When considering Millennials (18 – 29 year olds) social media usage rises to a staggering 90%!

Based on the popularity of social media so far, all the indicators suggest that it will continue to expand and grow in importance in our daily lives in a variety of different ways such as entertainment, networking, news, finding employment and within the workplace. For millions of people, especially Millennials and Generation Z, the internet and social media is their primary form of entertainment and means by which they can be reached by brand advertising.

What social media means for your resort

The importance of social media for resorts is also hugely significant, especially as the popularity of these sites continues to grow. If your resort is not actively engaged in social media on a daily basis then it is missing out on a huge and relatively cheap marketing strategy. Your resort is also already behind a lot of your competitors who are using a variety of social media channels to advertise their resort and the activities that are on offer, answer queries and attract new guests to come and stay, thus leading to increased profits.

Many resorts feel that it is enough to concentrate on their Facebook page and that is enough. They may then just automatically share links to their Facebook page on Twitter and other channels. By doing this it displays laziness and that they do not really care about their audience, ultimately decreasing the value of the resort in the eyes of potential guests. While Facebook has a huge number of users, other social channels are also massive such as Tumblr (555,000,000 users), Instagram (500,000,000 users), Twitter (313,000,000 users) and Snapchat (200,000,000 users) (Statista, September 2016). To neglect these would be a huge mistake.

One example of a resort with an excellent social media marketing strategy is The Golden Sands Resort & Spa Malta,who are using all the major social media channels effectively by dedicating time to each separate channel. They even have their own TV channel which you can watch on YouTube!

Make sure to follow Azure via their social media channels for all their latest updates:

Being active on all the major channels and producing great content is only the beginning though. You need to grow your follower base and therefore audience for all the awesome blog posts, photos and videos that your resort is creating and publishing. One of the most effective and easiest ways for your content to reach a wider audience is to encourage all of your team to be active on social media.

Your staff can be your biggest advocates and advertisers

Your staff (not just the resort owner and marketing team) can be your greatest brand advocates and advertisers. It is statistically highly likely that all of them are actively using at least one social network (probably Facebook) and possibly several others (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.). Each of your resort staff therefore has a potential audience of hundreds or even thousands, depending on how active they are. It is even more amazing when you consider that each one of your staff’s connections on social media also have their own hundreds or thousands of connections, and so on.

Produce quality share-worthy content

To help significantly increase the reach of your resort posts it is important to encourage your staff to share this content with their social media connections. One of the best ways to do this is for your resort to invest in producing quality content such as professional photos, videos and blog posts. This is because your staff will be more open to the idea of sharing things they perceive will be of value or interest to their friends, family and wider connections.

If it is just a badly taken photo of the resort pool, hastily taken on a mobile and posted on Facebook with a boring caption, then no one will want to share it, including your resort team. People often like to share things that impress such as incredible timelapse video of the sun setting with the light shimmering across the sea.

Involve your staff in this content

Your staff will also be more likely to share your resort social media content if it includes them either directly, in the photos or videos, or indirectly, from an idea they had. Again this comes down to the idea that individuals love to share things that will impress their friends and family and what better way than with a beautiful shot of them relaxing by the resort pool. It could be some great shots of your reception team helping some happy guests, or the marketing team celebrating one of the team’s birthday. The possibilities are almost endless, especially as your resort has such a big team with many of them having great potential ideas.

Train your staff to effectively use social media

An excellent example of one of our member resorts really involving different members of their team in producing fun, engaging, share-worthy content is at Pearly Grey Ocean Club in Tenerife. John Beckley, part of the RDO team, has recently gone to work with Pearly Grey in getting their team switched onto social media by encouraging them to open Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts (they all had Facebook already), showing them how to effectively use these different channels, involving them in producing content and encouraging them to help share this content to help the brand.

Here is a fun and creative video on Instagram with John Beckley & Terri-Anne, one of the team at Pearly Grey:

Having some fun with @sibotk @terrianne__whelan @ #GolfCostaAdeje #tenerife #canaryislands #spain #golf #incostadeje

Un vídeo publicado por John Dale Beckley (@johnbecks) el

Show your team the results

Sometimes social media can seem like a fun way to waste a bit of time, and individuals, including your staff may question its importance and effectiveness. Clearly though, with around two billion people worldwide using some form of social media, there is a huge audience, and potentially any of them could decide to come and stay at your resort after seeing your social media content.

The social media channels you have and the content you produce should increasingly become your advertising channels, rather than TV and print, which are gradually fading in importance. Update your staff regularly either weekly or monthly on social media stats showing increases in audience numbers, the reach of the content they are helping to produce, and how this is leading to more traffic to your resort website and more potential guests. This will show them that social media is more than just a bit of fun but also makes real business sense.

Clearly social media is hugely important today, both in people’s lives and the success of businesses, and this is no different for your timeshare resort. Just taking a look at other companies within the travel sector, there are examples of forward thinking owners who see the importance of involving all of their team in their businesses’ social media strategy. According to Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of G Adventures, the largest adventure travel company in the world: