This is the first in a series of articles intended to help resort managers and their teams understand the new world of social media marketing and how it will attract new customers for rentals and resales. While there are many books and speakers assuring our industry that this is the solution for marketing and remarketing timeshare units, the emphasis always seems to be convincing people how important it is to change to this new ideology. Not many really put it all together in a manner so that busy managers can actually understand the full picture. More questions are usually created than solutions given. What do they need to do? How does it all fit together? How does it really work? How does the manager at a legacy resort with limited resources and no real sales staff educate herself, or himself, to implement this? How much will it cost, and can it be achieved with in-house personnel? If not, whom do they trust to hire to get it done? Is it too complicated and will it just create too much work for no return?
In the coming months, we will be building a series of articles that are intended to explain the whole story, how the pieces fit together, how a manager who has no previous expertise can actually make some use of it. The resort managers probably will not be the persons actually implementing it all, but we intend to lay it all out so that it is comprehensible. Hopefully, we can diffuse the theory and present a clear picture of the real world usage in a way that managers can outline plans and make educated cost effective decisions.
Social Media Bewilderment
One of the bewildering factors about social media is that it is vastly different based upon business type. There is a lot of diverse information out there that doesn’t necessarily apply to this industry and can over complicate the subject. As publisher of “The Trades”, I have had to learn this new world and will admit that it is not easy to actually understand the complete picture. In the publishing world, this is an absolute new paradigm. The old business model for publishing was to create content and sell it for its informational value. Media companies now have to create the same content and offer it free to download overall social channels. Publishers have had to not only adapt this new concept, but also figure out how to monetize their intellectual content to pay the bills. Social media to a publisher involves all the channels and can get quite complex. Fortunately, for a resort manager, social media can be a lot simpler.
As a resort developer, you learn a different side of social media. How do you use this in the real world and actually create tours to the project? Before starting The Trades, I was a resort developer. The world was a lot simpler then. In 1980, when I first started buying mail and premiums to procure tours, marketing was easy: Just pick out a good demographic to mail to, design a template mail piece and add a premium that was working for everyone else. Mail the piece, and repeat the program while tracking the ROI. Those were the “good old days”, when you could get a 3 or 4 percent return on direct mail.
A Simpler Model for Resorts
For resort marketing, in its most basic form, the social media model is similar. The demographic information is so much more robust, with almost unlimited data points to target. The confusion and complexity is the channels and means in which to make the offer, but many do not apply to this industry. We will be helping clarify this in the articles to come.
In the second part of this series, we will be discussing the most important channel to your business. Channels are the different means in which we distribute our message (content). In publishing Resort Trades, this content is distributed (streamed) to our recipient through various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, and over a number of other less predominant platforms. The channel we will spend a couple of sessions on is sometimes referred to as a “portal”. You call it your company website.
Websites are the most important part of social media. Your website is the foundation that everything revolves around and you cannot get a good ROI on your social media until the website is polished and ready to accept visitors. So, next, we’ll drill down on what can make or break your opportunity to use this important channel.