The Travel Department

Before COVID-19 Clubs believed that contracting a Social Media team, and a Reputation Management company would resolve their ever-growing negative postings on the Internet, however, doing so was analogous to putting a band-aid on a gun-shot wound. The Company was “Reacting” to the injury, but failing to “Proactively” cure it. The result was the Club and Hotel were slowly bleeding to death by Social Media.

It wasn’t the failure of the Social Media Team, but the overwhelming results of the old-fashioned “Timesharistic” methods used by Marketing, Sales, and Operations. The Pandemic has given Hotel Developers plenty of time to take a meaningful step back to evaluate these past mistakes and read the history of complaints posted on the Internet or in client satisfaction surveys. What do they say? The typical responses are Abusive and overly aggressive marketing. Rude, offensive, and false promises made by sales. Lack of response for service and rejected when I wanted to cancel.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that such methods will no longer work in the Post-pandemic environment made up of a self-taught World that now knows how to use Social Media.

As we reopen travel and enter the New World of Social Media, will your Hotel and Club stand up to the Challenge? Will you continue to force your Social Media team to “React” to the ever-growing negative posts? Or will they finally be able to take a “Proactive” approach, utilizing a positive Internet presence generated by Marketing, Sales, and Club Operations?

The Social Media Challenge

Before COVID-19, did your Marketing Team urge prospective clients to Google the Club when convincing them to attend the sales presentation? Did your Sales Team urge prospective clients to Google the Club when convincing them to purchase a membership?

Did your Operations Team advise new members to Google the Club when convincing them not to cancel?

I’m assuming your answers to these three questions are a painful “No. No. No.” It is most likely that your Company created a “Reactive Plan” for clients that did a Google Search of the Club before, during, and after the Club Presentation. Unfortunately, your “Reactive Plan” not only became less effective with time leading up to the Coronavirus, but the negative impact will accelerate as we reopen travel in the Post-pandemic era.

Adjusting to the New World of Social Media

Imagine opening up marketing and sales to the World with complete confidence to challenge each prospective client and member to Google Search your Club. The net results of having a Proactive Social Media Culture is PRICELESS! It only requires a commitment to focus on service first and the “bottom line’ a distant second; “meet forecasted budgets at all

cost” replaced with “no complaints tolerated.” Many will say this is not possible, especially when profits will be in high demand in the Post-Pandemic era.

I’ve been in this business for over 40 years, have opened hundreds of salesrooms and marketing operations, and have been director of countless club personnel. I know from this experience that our industry has the innate ability to conform to the business environment given. When advised by one of the Resort Owners, “I will not tolerate one complaint!”; I created the Personal Concierge Program for the El Dorado Resorts. Not only did the hotel operator’s service scores increase to near perfection, but our marketing penetration doubled. A “Service Oriented” marketing approach is a necessity in a Post-Pandemic era, not an option. Yes, many of the OPC style representatives will quit, and good riddance to an obsolete form of marketing.

This same business philosophy needs to carry over to every aspect of the Club environment. The Hotel Developer needs to stand behind the Product and benefits promised to Members and avoid questionable add-on products that are more focused on kickbacks to the sales department than service for members. Salespeople should be penalized for complaints and charged the compensation gift given to the customer. New Members requesting to cancel should readily receive their money back. Bonuses should be equally given for letters of praise as they are for production. Any complaints should result in no bonuses, and if too many are received, dismissal. The Service-Oriented Club Culture will translate into profits that amaze both the Hotel Developer and the Club Team.

So to answer the Challenge, “Is a Proactive Social Media Culture Possible”? The answer is a resounding, YES. But it has to start at the very top, fully supported with resolute implementation to every department. If your management and top producers threaten to leave, so be it. They are probably the cause of most of the Social Media complaints. Anyone resisting such change is looking out for their own “short-term” interests rather than the long-term good of the Club.

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