Everyone else is doing it
And we don’t mean in the ‘if everyone jumped off a cliff’ sense. We mean that when somebody searches for a holiday park in your area, your competition is going to show up – accessible, streamlined, full of reviews, and with a friendly and warm atmosphere.
Hopefully, you’ll show up before them. This is going to be a lot harder if you don’t actually have a cohesive Social Media plan.
Anyone underestimating the importance of maintaining an online presence is losing hundreds of sales to people who do. If you don’t know something, you Google it, right? Well, so do your customers. When it comes to travel, they’ll be researching it through the most accessible channels available to them.
They’re going to use it anyway
Due to the huge popularity of aggregate sites likeTripAdvisor, people are going to be posting reviews of your company if you have even the barest entry. It’s a dream come true for most businesses; people are going to come to you and spread word of mouth about how great you are without you even needing to ask!
However, here are two almost identical scenarios.
In both, you have the busiest day imaginable. You’re almost fully booked up and half of your staff are off with the flu. Someone approaches your staff with a complaint about their caravan site, and unfortunately they’re so over-stretched that the job falls through the cracks and nothing is done about it.
Accidents happen, and nobody can run a perfect business 100% of the time, but the customer is understandably quite upset and writes a 1\5 star review on a travel website.
In situation 1, it lingers on the page, unanswered. Customers see the page (whether you have a presence or not, it’ll be there) and are turned off by the negative listing.
In situation 2 the review is on the page, and within hours you reply. You offer your condolences, publicly offer a full refund or similar deal, and they reply thanking you. Your customers see a positive interaction, a human side to the business, and as a bonus they know you have great customer service!
This process is called Online Reputation Management, and cultivating it can change a poor Internet presence into a driving force for sales.
How do you start?
To begin with, they’ll want to see that you have a presence on TripAdvisor or a similar aggregate site (you’ll find a good list of thesehere). These sites are powerhouses that sometimes show up in search rankings above smaller parks even when you’ve searched directly for their name (and it’s even more likely if someone types in ‘Holiday Parks near X Town’).
Once you’ve got your public listings down pat, it’s time to look at your own social media sites.
Did you know that Facebook allows users to connect with businesses in their area through Local Search? Setting up a Facebook page isn’t just good for customer feedback, or for tempting customers in with new deals and upcoming news (and it’s plenty good for those, too!). It actively funnels people looking for your product towards you.
Plus: If you’re looking to advertise, promoted content on Facebook goes out to anyone with travel in their interests, and is pretty competitively priced.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and video is a whole lot more than a picture.
Maintaining a YouTube presence means that you have engaging content to embed into your other social media. It allows you to punctuate your posts with some real oomph, especially for something like Holiday Parks, since people can see what they’re getting ahead of time.
Twitter and Instagram
Both of these are simple, but hard to get right. Twitter functions doubly as a quick way to fire off customer service responses and upcoming news, but also functions really well as a photostream to showcase your park.
Handily, Instagram is a photostream. If you have an artistic bent, Instagram really engages with a keen photographic eye.
Both of these have limitations — Instagram is a little lacking in the ability to respond easily to customers, and Twitter has its 140 character limit, but they’re both popular enough (and fulfil their role well enough) that you should at least have more than a token presence on both.
Take some vanity time
Finally, Google your own company a couple of times a month, and scroll through the listings. You might find a review site you’ve never heard of before, or hear a little word-of-mouth on a forum post.
An attentive holiday park owner will jump on this chance – if they’re asking a question, answer it. If they’re leaving feedback, respond; reply to positive feedback with encouragement and you’ll have a repeat customer next time they’re in town, and reply to negative feedback to diffuse the individual as well as convince anyone else watching that you’re not an organisation that doesn’t care.