There was a time when we called social media marketing ‘bathroom business’. It was something that a resort’s staff did during their downtime, in between other things. It was the sort of work that could be done on the toilet if necessary. At one point, if your resort was doing anything at all on social media, you were already ahead of your competition. But not anymore.
Like everyone else, timeshare owners are becoming increasingly active on the social networks, even posting complaints on Facebook rather than visiting the front desk. This means timeshare resorts need to up their game and start taking social media seriously as the 24/7 job it has become.
Say hello to your resort community manager (RCM for short). This is a new role, and one that is quickly becoming essential. Let’s see why.
A vital job with your resort’s reputation at stake
One of the main jobs of a resort community manager — even more important than the general social media outreach — is managing and safeguarding your resort’s reputation online.
Your RCM must have watchful eyes and ears monitoring the different social media channels and the Internet in general, to find out what people are saying about your timeshare resort and reply promptly when necessary.
Any complaints or other issues must be resolved quickly, before they have a chance to spread and go viral. This is why the resort community manager needs to have an excellent relationship with your resort’s staff and different departments, including Marketing, Sales, Public Relations, Food and Beverage, Cleaning and Maintenance, and so on. The RCM must coordinate the team effort so that owners and guests are kept happy and the resort’s reputation remains untarnished.
While an issue is being tackled the RCM also has to post updates on the social media as necessary to explain what action the resort is taking, following up with a final post at the end to close the issue. It is important to emphasise what the resort did to put things right and make the guest or owner happy, turning a potentially damaging public complaint into a success story.
The overarching message to deliver here has to be that while everyone makes mistakes, your resort is serious about putting things right and providing the best experience possible.
Your RCM leads the charge with social media and content creation
Managing an online crisis may be the most important thing an RCM ever has to do, but this is far from a ‘standby’ or ‘emergency’ job.
Your resort community manager plays a leading role in managing and running your resort’s online presence and social media marketing campaigns.
- creating and publishing in-house content, including photos, videos, blog posts and so on, which can be shared by owners, guests and the media alike
- training resort staff in social media best practices and leading the resort’s team effort to reach out to people online
- networking with third parties such as the media and influential travel bloggers, and inviting them to stay at the resort and share their experience online
- encouraging guests to share their photos, videos and happy moments with their family and friends on the various social media platforms
The last point is by far the most important one because owner or guest-generated content is key to online success. For a start, the value of your resort’s brand strongly depends on what people think and say about it. And, of course, anything an owner or guest posts online about your timeshare resort is going to be viewed as much more credible than if the resort posted the same thing itself.
This is why it is important to make sure that the people who stay at your resort are the ones creating the greater part of your online content. It is the resort community manager’s job to encourage this practice and invite guests to tag the resort in their posts.
Bringing staff and owners together to promote the resort
Social media engagement is too big a job for your resort community manager to do alone.
Instead, your RCM should lead and train other staff members in social media marketing and organise a collective effort to get out there and engage with current and prospective owners on a regular basis.
The goal is to build an online community for your resort and develop a strong and friendly relationship with owners and other people interested in timeshare. These people then become enthusiastic ambassadors for your resort, sharing their own and each other’s posts, as well as the resort’s own content, including event news, competitions and promotions.
Charisma and solid leadership skills are two other very important qualities for resort community managers to have, apart from their social media expertise.
Follow RDO Digital as we continue to learn about the essential role of RCM
The job of resort community manager is a new and constantly evolving one that naturally goes far beyond what can be covered in a single blog post.
There’s networking with your resort’s strategic partners, building new business relationships, overseeing SEO and other paid placement advertising, and much more besides.
The post of resort community manager is a key post that is already very important for your timeshare resort and will soon become essential. In the exact same way that you don’t send the barman into the kitchen to run your restaurant, you need someone who is an expert at social media to lead the way forward as you market and relate online.
A big part of RDO Digital will be to explore and discuss this new role and help aspiring resort community managers find all the advice, training and support they need to do an excellent job of promoting their resorts and timeshare in general.
Have you already got an RCM? Are you planning to hire one or maybe train as one yourself? Join us on the RDO Digital LinkedIn group to tell us about your experience and find out what everyone else is doing.