Social Media; Slick footage or homemade movies?4th November 2010
I recently moderated a session on social media at the Resort Developers’ Organisation (RDO) annual conference. I introduced the session with a short animated presentation on some of the statistics on social media – if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest in the world etc. I wanted the audience to really understand the importance of social media as a viable communications and PR tactic, enabling them to engage with existing and potential customers.
And then I shared with them – resort developers of timeshare and fractional properties – a case study on a resort in Tenerife that has really engaged with its owners through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and particularly through blogs from their resort staff.
I shared the platform with representatives from RCI and Interval International, who both approached the subject from different perspectives. Geoff Borlotti from RCI talked about the need for all the developers to listen to what was being said about them before planning how they were going to engage. But he also talked about the importance of rich video content on YouTube as a way of showcasing resorts, rather than relying upon the home-movies that members of the public might produce. I am not sure that this is social media; it think it is important that all resorts push out beautiful footage but it is the grainy, home-made footage that people trust and that gets spread around, particularly if it is entertaining, and which is the essence of social media.
Mike from Interval talked about their progress in developing their own community channel for members and, whilst it is restricted to members, it is definitely beginning to engage their audience, who respond to each others’ queries and who advise other members on where to holiday. It also provides Interval with useful information on resorts and member issues.
Questions from the audience definitely showed that many had understood that social media is about listening, transparency, responding and building trust – key issues for the timeshare industry to address but where they can make great inroads if done properly.