Building an online community for your Business

Posted on Apr 21st 2010

One of the most important factors for your hotel or resort is building a loyal online community. Inherent in this idea is ensuring you have the trust of your followers. So what are some easy ways you can build the trust of the people involved in your online community?

It is important to remember that humans are social creatures and generally speaking, want to trust others. Although an online community is one that lacks the face to face contact of everyday relationships, it is not impossible to create a caring, loyal and trustworthy relationship.

First impressions last! – The overall appearance of your site and brand make a lasting impact on your online community. Your site and brand presence should be welcoming, friendly and professional. People who visit your site should want to feel they can ask questions and interact with you and your resort.

Offer important or helpful information to your online friends. This will show them you are open to giving and this is a good sign of your trust in them. Once you demonstrate trust to another, they are more likely to trust you in return. It is important that your community trust both in you, and in your product whether it be a hotel, resort or a brand of some type.

If people trust in you and your product they are more likely to recommend you to other people or to utilse your services – and book into your resort!

Give assurance:

Don’t spam your community with information, or overload them with the same details relating to your resort. If you want your community to trust you, annoying them with useless information will only have a negative affect. If you are encouraging your community to purchase online, make sure you offer security for their payments and personal details. They need to trust you completely before they will even consider booking with you.  

Peer Evaluation:

People are generally conformists. If they see someone else rating your hotel or resort they are more likely to consider staying there. It is always a good idea to have a section of your website that allows people to offer comments, criticism or feedback. This type of interaction with customers and community members is a great way to provide a basis of trust.

Another way to provide peer evaluation and gain trust is to give ‘social proof’. For example you can provide ‘social proof’ of people interacting with your resort. You could give data relating to how many people have stayed in certain demographics or information relating to the activities people were most likely to engage with once at your hotel. This type of information allows users to compare themselves to ‘the many’ users illustrated in your data. People are more likely to place trust in you if they see people similar to them, also have trust in you.

Building trust in your online community is easy and a very effective way to have a solid foundation for improved conversions, and creates positive buzz around your resort. 

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