Why your resort must adapt to remain relevant in today’s digital world via Gareth Dunlop and Thomas Landen
There are few industries that have been impacted so highly by modern technology, the internet, and the dramatic digital transformation that has occurred in the last decade as the travel and tourism sector. Without a doubt, this has had and will continue to have, substantial effects on the timeshare industry, and adapting to the changes taking place are more important than ever. Those businesses that are able to adapt are much more likely to survive and thrive, whereas companies that decide to stick their head in the sand and ignore what is happening all around are destined for failure.
If there is any doubt about this then just take a look at huge multinational companies that at one point were at the top of their respective industries but are now just footnotes in history. These include Kodak which actually invented digital cameras, Blackberry, once the most desirable mobile phone brand on the planet has just announced it will stop manufacturing phone hardware, and Yahoo, the once mighty giant of the internet, was recently sold for a tiny fraction of what it was once valued at. The evidence is clear to see, adapt to the changing world or risk massive and irreversible failure. These changes are occurring faster and faster so it’s vital to keep up!
Digital leadership – getting off the back foot to win online via Gareth Dunlop
A huge part of this process is to understand how to thrive in this new unfamiliar digital territory in which control has switched from brands to customers. With the rapid advances in mobile internet and the growth in social media use, customers now have more information at their disposal than ever before and much of it is beyond the grip of companies. Things were a lot simpler for companies when people made their decisions based on TV, print and radio adverts, but those days are long gone.
In Gareth Dunlop’s highly compelling and relevant presentation at RDO7 he helped to explain to delegates what is required to thrive in this new age of customer power. One of the most important strategies that a forward thinking timeshare resort can put in place is a strong, strategic, customer-focused digital marketing leadership strategy. Gone are the days of marketing products at customers, because increasingly this is a dying business model. Instead resorts should shift their focus to a commitment to market with their guests. Just as guests love using social media and online review sites such as Tripadvisor, these can also be used to the advantage of resort marketing to engage with their guests and find out what they like and what can be improved.
Another important aspect of Gareth’s presentation was to examine how important it is for brands to not only look after their digital voice, but also take care of their digital shadow and footprint. Across the internet, individuals may be discussing your resort on social media, blogs or review websites. If your brand doesn’t get involved in the conversation, then your voice is not being heard and your opinion not counted. This could mean that negative and often unrealistic claims could be being made without being challenged. In addition to this all of this information that is being said about your brand on social media and other sites can be highly useful as a marketing resource. If your resort is not monitoring this digital shadow then it is wasting a big opportunity!
Today’s traveller in a digital world via Thomas Landen
Following Gareth’s presentation at RDO7, delegates were able to enjoy another highly interesting and useful presentation from Thomas Landen the head of marketing at Revinate. With the rapid increases in mobile internet, booking and review websites and widespread use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the needs of the modern traveller are far different from those even a decade ago. Even 10 years ago it would have been typical for travellers to go to their local travel agent who would recommend a trip with destination, transport and accommodation all planned out.
While the travel agent has not entirely disappeared, people are increasingly interested in creating their own custom trips, exploring new places and enjoying unique experiences. This change is being driven by the widespread use of social media in which individuals are finding out about places to stay and things to see and do from friends and family. They are also utilising crowd sourced review websites such as Tripadvisor to decide which resort to stay in, which restaurant to eat at or which experience to enjoy. This is because increasingly people are deciding to trust recommendations from other people rather than what a brand tries to tell them.
It is vital therefore that brands adapt to these changes and meet the expectations of today’s mobile dependent, tech-savvy travelers. As Thomas explained in his presentation, one of the most important expectations is a high-level of personalisation in terms of a guests experience at your property, and in your communications with your customers before and after their stay. Thomas discussed the effects of this changing guest on the hotel industry, and offered a number of practical tips on what hotels and resorts can do to stay relevant, one of which is to use tools such as Revinate to collect and collate the vast amounts of data on your guests from opinion forms, social media and other sources in order to be able to better meet guest needs.
Ultimately the message from both Gareth and Thomas was that it is now more important than ever for your resort to successfully understand and utilize the digital tools that are so readily available to not only your guests but also your brand. Your resort can then become involved in the conversation that is already happening and successfully regain control of your company image.
Here at RDO we would like to once again thank Gareth and Thomas for their excellent presentations at RDO7.
To find out more about Gareth, including how your organisation can book him for inspirational sales speeches, or staff training, visit his website: http://www.fathom.pro/
You can also follow Gareth via social media:
To find out more about Thomas please make sure to connect with on social media:
If you would like to discuss anything with RDO regarding this blog post or other relevant topics, then simply add the hashtag #RDO7 or #RDOdigital to your tweet. Alternatively search #RDO7 or #RDOdigital on Twitter to see what else we’ve been discussing and you can easily get involved in the conversation.
The RDO7 conference 2016 was sponsored by CLC World Resorts & Hotels, Diamond Resorts International, Interval International and RCI at the Platinum level, and Dial An Exchange, Generator Systems and Shawbrook Bank at the Gold level. We thank them for their support.