By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner
You might think reputation management is simply a matter of setting up your listening tools and working through your worst-case scenarios. But that really is just the first part of the job.
Having plans in place is one matter, making sure you keep your clients happy both on and off-line is something very different – and one of the biggest jobs of all. Here at EVC Marketing, we believe it requires a dedicated resource, sign-in from everyone at your resort business and an understanding of who your clients are, what they like and what you want to achieve.
When you have happy online clients, who know, like and trust you, your resort will benefit in a number of ways. From increased sales and rentals, to owner advocacy and ongoing support. So, it’s definitely worth the effort.
So how do you keep your clients happy? Here is our guide to the top 10 ways to create happy online clients – and keep them happy.
1. Define your ideal online clients
Take some time and write down ten key characteristics of your ideal client. What is their education level, what do they love to do on vacation, what do they value, how old are they, what do they all have in common? Knowing who they are will help you write for them in your blogs and posts, identify their issues and provide content and products that solve them.
2. Be clear about who you are and what you do
This is easier when you have a resort – you provide vacations. But be specific about the additional products and services you offer. Some of our owners and guests may be totally unaware of what you do other than check them in for a week each year.
3. Keep your tone empathetic and understanding
A time will come when you get a rude or irrational comment on a blog or social media. And it will be hurtful and frustrating. But don’t rush in with knee-jerk aggressive reply. Our experience at EVC Marketing is that sometimes your loyal fans jump in and reply to the comment in your defense. We call this owner advocacy and it’s amazingly powerful. So keep a level head and reply in a positive voice moving any further conversation to private channels like email or messenger.
4. Be generous to your online clients
No, we don’t mean giving away vacations! But be generous when it comes to the information, training and news you provide through your channels. Recognize those who contribute to the success of your resort, feature them in your posts and blogs, invite them to special events and ask for their views. For too long, resort teams have held owners at a distance. It’s time to change the dynamic. Let them know they are special to you and they’ll become your best brand ambassadors and owner advocates.
5. Be authentic
Think about the image you want to cultivate online as part of your brand. Then write about the things that fit in with that image. If you’re a family resort, then make that clear in your posts and blogs. If you’re a couple’s resort, the messaging is going to be very different. If your resort is based in Florida, then there is no reason to write about Hawaii. And remember to keep up to date with trends so that you’re writing and posting fresh content and not what happened two months ago.
6. Stay focused
Remembering what your aims and objectives are means that you won’t stray from your message. If you know that your blogging and posting is ultimately about generating vacation rentals, you’ll stop you writing about things that take you off message and upset your fan base.
7. Use a social media monitoring service
Using tools such as Google Alerts and Mention are a great way to track your brand’s reputation online. However, occasions may arise when you need to hire a social media monitoring service. Don’t try and do it all yourselves if there is an issue. Outsourcing to experienced teams, like EVC Marketing, can make a huge difference – so be open to it.
8. Be engaging, meaningful and entertaining
Show your personality, have fun with your owners and rental guests and provide them with what they are looking for. If that means lots of lovely images of your resort and surrounding area, then post them. If your owners love particular staff members, then post staff birthdays and anniversaries so they can congratulate them. Have a funny photo from behind the scenes? Post it. Your owners and guests will love you for it.
9. Connect with online clients as friends
One of the most wonderful aspects of a vacation ownership resort is that you can build long-term relationships with your owners. Treat them like friends and not sales targets and you’ll get more from the relationship.
10. Tell your story
Share your background story and let everyone know why you’re in the vacation ownership business. Let them see your passion for your resort, explain your plans for the future and why their vacation happiness is behind every decision you make.
These days, keeping your owners and rental guests happy is more than just ensuring their apartment is clean and ready when they arrive. It’s a year-round effort of constant communication that ensures they continue to pay their maintenance fees, book additional vacation rentals, refer their family and friends and come back year after year.
To find out more about EVC Marketing and our reputation management and marketing services, you can email or give us a call today on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 0208 123 9273.