How to: Design and Launch an Online Community for Your Resort

Posted on Jan 30th 2011

The online community is very powerful that it can drive change - both for the better and for the worse. When your online network grows and your relationships with them expand, they turn into loyal brand advocates and guardians. This means that it is necessary to spend time building relationships in the social web, not merely for promotion. 

A successful online community is more than a software package. You can create an online community site in minutes but creating a buzzing online community takes much longer. In this article, we'll review some of the best practices that are common in successful online communities. 

Here are seven steps to make your online community a success: 

1. Identify your online community objectives.

A successful online community is a give-and-take relationship. Both the Resort and the Guest attain their objectives. For example, a resort administrator can include social media marketing, support, and networking as their objective. On the other hand, community members can find answers to their questions regarding your resort and link real-time with your previous customers.

2. Emphasise being personal

A personal touch demonstrates that you’re a real person, not just a nameless, faceless entity. This connection can foster loyalty, repeat visits, which all result in profits. Encouragement of completing company and staff profiles, using their actual names, uploading actual pictures instead of avatars or logos, and posting comments that are not pretentious or too formal are simple ways to achieve this effect. While your organisational objective is to increase your ability to communicate with people, the online members are likely primarily interested in talking to one another. This way both staff and clients identify themselves with their company that is running the community.

3. Create a culture of belonging

Just like a dinner party, a successful online community makes the newcomers or newbies welcome. When the group administrator greeted the newcomer with a welcome message, they were immediately greeted with other company members so that the newcomer felt connected. Treating new members like you would a new family in the neighborhood is the key to a sense of belonging.

4. Be a source of relevant content

Posting travel-relevant and interesting web content is a good way to support online community members. According to an unofficial survey of Telligent, an enterprise collaboration software company, 76% of respondents prefer quick answers to their queries, 56% of the respondents prefers coming across the needed and relevant information and 55% of the respondents deemed that getting answers directly from the experts are very important.

5. Highlight Influential Members

Prominent community members can directly impact the opinion and behavior of other members. This means that it is essential to highlight them. For instance, they may be digitally branded as the "community leader of the week." Or they could be personally acknowledged through featured interviews posted in your resort website. 

6. Leverage the Wisdom of the Crowd

Once in awhile allow community members to initiate and develop the flow of their conversation. This illustrates that your resort embrace openness and that your resort’s staff listen to their clients. Additionally, this way resort administrators can use the information that they get from the network. This then would enhance their on and offline services and transform the way they operate. 

7. Rewarding members: Giving out Digital Recognition

To develop an online community from fledgling to established, giving out digital recognition is a simple encouragement tactic. Making online badges, leader board, or other efforts to reward participation is a vital component of an online community. You may use a technology solution that gives leading users some sort of a token for recognition for example the capacity to approve comments or post polls.

Creating an online community is more than the right software package. It’s the right set of features, standards and best practices combined with thoughtful management by your organisation. A successful community is all about content and relationships.



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