How to Humanize Your Online Presence
To drive more reservations for your resort, you need to be able to effectively connect with and nurture travelers who discover your resort online. Your website can be a fantastic tool for reaching and attracting new travelers to your resort. It can, however, also create challenges. The biggest one most resort owners and managers experience is trying to determine how to best build trust and rapport with potential guests without ever talking to them on the phone or meeting with them face-to-face.
It’s not an easy obstacle to overcome, especially if you’re relatively new to the industry, or if you’re not well-versed in using digital media as a way to get the word out about your resort.
So where do you start? How do you differentiate from other resorts in your area (or anywhere, really) and convince travelers to book reservations with you?
It all comes down to your ability to humanize your online presence. Humanizing your online presence is all about helping the people who find you online understand:
- Who you are and what makes your resort different or special
- What it would look like and feel like to stay at your resort
- Who typically stays at your resort and what their experiences are like
- What you do to create amazing experiences and memories for guests
If you’re looking for more ways to humanize your website, social media channels, and property listings, consider these 4 tips:
Tip #1: Use Real Photos with Real People
The fastest way to connect with online visitors who come across your resort is to present them with compelling visuals. It’s important to include enough photos of your resort to give potential guests an idea of what to expect were they to visit, but make sure not to come across as too sterile or perfect with the photos you ultimately present.
There’s long been a tradition of including photos of different scenes and locations on your resort with no people, perhaps to create the perception of perfection and cleanliness. But without including actual human beings in your photos, it can be hard for people to imagine themselves at your resort. Make sure your photos paint a clear picture of your resort.
To humanize your resort and the personality needed to pique the interest of potential guests, (with permission of course) use photos of:
- Guests interacting with staff at check-in
- Guests relaxing or having fun around your resort
- Guests eating meals
- Guests exploring the area and attractions near your resort
Your goal is to make people feel like they would be comfortable during their stay. Use photos to set expectations from the minute they come across your resort when searching for a place to stay online.
If you don’t want to take photos of guests or ask guests to participate, get your staff to stage photos as if they were guests. It’s still a better option than including stock photos, or photos without people in them at all.
Tip #2: Feature Quotes and Stories from Guests
In addition to photos, you should also be incorporating real quotes and stories from guests into your online channels. Featuring authentic reviews and testimonials from happy guests is one of the fastest ways to build trust with anyone who isn’t yet familiar with your resort and the experience you offer.
You can feature this type of content in a few ways. For example, you can:
- Incorporate a quote into a subheading
- Feature words from guest as a pull-quote or in sidebar
- Create an entire section of top reviews from guests
- Use stories and reviews in promotional videos and photo slideshows
Your goal is to let your past happy guests do the selling for you. Instead of writing lengthy paragraphs about how great you think your resort is, find reviews that highlight the best features of your resort, tell the best stories, and paint the best picture of the experience you have to offer.
Tip #3: Put Your Staff on Video
In addition to wanting to see examples of guests staying at your resort, online visitors also want to see examples of the kind of people who work at and run your resort. The most effective way to show potential guests who your staff is and how their work contributes to the uniqueness of your resort is to feature your team members in videos.
Like photography, videography is an incredibly powerful medium that you could be leveraging to build and nurture relationships with the people who are thinking about booking reservations at your resorts.
Most resorts have at one time or another created a virtual tour video or a video slideshow, but few take the time to use video as an opportunity to share stories. To differentiate from other resorts and to show your online visitors that there are actually real, relatable human beings working at your resort, create one or a few videos that introduce or feature your employees. For example, you can create videos that introduce guests to:
- The concierge or front desk employee who knows everything about the local area
- The cooks and servers that they’ll interact with during meals
- The groundskeepers and gardeners who keep your property looking pristine
- The owners/founders of the resort who work every day to create an unforgettable experience for guests
Your potential guests want to feel comfortable. Use video to connect with them on a more personal, human level.
Tip #4: Personalize Based on Season
To show online visitors that you’re available and actively interested in engaging with potential guests, take the time to update and personalize your website, emails, and social media pages based on the seasons. Personalizing based on seasons doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it by:
- Updating photos to show what your resort looks like during different times of the year
- Updating body copy in a way that relates to the seasons and connects with visitors
- Changing headlines to align with different seasons in an effort to grab the attention of would-be visitors.
- Showing reviews from recent guests (as in within the past 30-60 days) prominently on your website or listing.
The more accurate picture you can paint for potential guests, the more likely you’ll be able to effectively build trust and drive visitors toward booking a reservation with you.
Not sure where to get started? Schedule a demo of TravelNet Solutions Digital Marketing to see how we can improve your online presence.