Even though I have spent the last five years living on a tropical island in the Pacific, it may come as a shock to some that I find it hard to truly “disconnect.”
Don’t get me wrong — I exude island living. I sport an aloha shirt to work, and my office overlooks a turquoise bay with wild dolphins dancing in the distance. The island’s beauty, the genuine warmth of the culture and the relaxed vibe are what make it such a special place to call home.
However, in between sampling Mai Tais and watching inspiring sunsets, I never miss a social-media minute. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — you name it, I’m on the pulse of all things digital. I’m also on the pulse of my customers as a result.
Social media has revolutionized the way the travel industry conducts business and connects with guests. The various social networking sites allow us to easily engage with fans virtually; however, it is vital that we stay connected with our fans in-person, which ultimately allows us to enhance their visit. I’m referring to — as I like to call it — “the art of face time.”
On Lanai, for example, we continue to offer a balance of old and new social-media techniques — allowing guests to connect or disconnect based on their comfort level. We have a fun and robust social media strategy in place; however, most importantly, we truly value in-person, human contact with our customers. Similar to penmanship, we must practice this basic art form daily. This is the business we’re in — hospitality — and we must rely on both virtual and in-person contact with our guests.
Recently, two guests were traveling to the island via ferry. During their ferry trip, they were tweeting about how much they looked forward to enjoying a Mai Tai. Upon arrival at the resort, our Social Butterfly welcomed them with two Mai Tais in hand and noted she thought they could use a taste of paradise. The guests were surprised at the personal touch and attention to detail. Her timing was impeccable as well. It was a simple gesture on our part, but an experience that will stay with them forever.
Another picture-perfect example is from a guest who posted a picture of his hole-in-one at the golf course to Instragram. Once again, our team was quick to catch it. When the guest arrived at the 19th hole, the golf pro was waiting for him with a logo hat and signed golf ball in honor of the guest’s achievement. Again, a small gesture often goes the distance and acknowledges the art of face time in a personal, touching way.
Friend me. Tweet me. Like me. But most importantly, stay connected — both digitally and in-person.