Published in Management Rights Journal
If there is such a thing as the Holy Grail of the resort industry, it should be customer service. After all the effort that's put into the advertising and promotion about a resorts scenic views and top notch amenities, it is actually great customer service that encourages your guests to return.
The first step to great customer service is listening. Listening gives the resort manager a chance to understand the nature of the conversation, the individuals involved, the subject matter and the direction of the conversation. Listening also provides vital insights into where, when, why and how your potential guests are talking about you or your brand. Listening for relevant content in social media can be difficult and requires the ability to listen and understand your reason for doing so.
The main reason is to understand the conversations that are currently happening around your resorts brand. You will use tools that will tell you when your resort is mentioned on web sites, blogs, Twitter, publicly accessible Facebook pages and more. Initially mentions may be nothing more then changes that you make to your own website or on your own blog, but eventually these mentions will begin to indicate when people are talking about you.
But what if there are no mentions of your resort? Not a problem. This is a great opportunity for you to start conversations or seed discussion that is relevant to your brand without making a direct sales pitch. Remember that the tools that you use to listen and the terms you are listening to do not necessarily have to be brand names but could be keywords.
By listening you will find:
1. Where people are talking
2. What people are saying
3. How people feel about your property
4. Problems & common concerns
5. Trends & opportunities
What Tools to Use
There are a number of tools you can use for listening to conversations online.
1. Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts)– Notifies you when your keywords or brand show up in Google searches.
2. Backtype (http://www.backtype.com/) – Monitors blog comments using your keywords.
3. Yacktrack (http://yacktrack.com/search) - Notifies you of mentions of your keywords in social comments.
4. Boardtracker (http://www.boardtracker.com/) - Monitors discussion forums and notifies you when your name is mentioned in a post.
5. Twitter Search (http://search.twitter.com/) – Allows you to search for your brand or keywords across twitter.
6. FriendFeed (http://friendfeed.com/) - Aggregator that pulls in all your social feeds for single view.
7. Alert Thingy (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/alert-thingy) – Receive desktop notifications from Friendfeed.
8. Social Mention (http://www.socialmention.com/) - Allows you to track mentions of your brand across blogs, videos, photos, etc.
What are Your Goals?
There is no clear return on investment for your time in listening to social media. But what you are doing now is understanding and defining what your social media strategy should be and how best to engage with your current customers and potential prospects. Some success factors to consider for the listening phase include:
* Creating a list of sites where your potential customers hang out.
* Find and follow your competitors.
* Understand what type of information your customers are looking for when they are online.
* Identify where you can start promoting conversations without a lot of work.
In the end, through listening, you can build a better brand for your resort online and eventually build a bigger and more profitable clientele.
Bryan Marsh is the Managing Director of eTourism, a leading Resort and Hotel Internet marketing company. For more than a decade now, Marsh and his team have been providing website design, online reservation systems and total online marketing solutions to various clients, centered on the principle that a resorts website should sell more bookings than any other sales channel.
Please visit www.etourism.com.au for a free website evaluation.
For more information contact;
1300 551 448