I will live at CSS for room and board - just to update the message board!!! Hope all is ok with whoever updates - this is crazy slow lately!
I posted this on another travel forum message board. It stayed for a little while and then POOF. It disappeared. Thought it may be worth recycling here. I did edit the text somewhat from the original in an effort to stay within the CMB rules.
The following is a rant. You have been warned.
I have always had a keen interest in figuring out how large organizations function. So much so that it’s now a big part of my day job. I love looking at the different business models that companies use, but also at what they really do. How they actually go about getting things done is the part I’m always really interested in. I’m coming up on my sixth trip to Couples. Obviously I really like vacationing at their resorts. But during all those trips, I have been become absolutely fascinated with how Couples works. Mostly because parts of that organization function astoundingly well, while other parts not so much.
As you read this, keep in mind; I have no real information about what’s going on over there. I’m just seeing some things, and guessing at what’s going on.
One of the things that has always perplexed me is their use of social media. They seem to really want to engage and invest in reaching their existing and potential customers using social media. Yet, from the outside looking in, they appear to have absolutely no coherent plan for their use of social media, and even more significantly, no measurable goals for it.
For lack of a better term, their social media policy seems to be absolutely rudderless.
Sure they have a Pinterest page, a Facebook fan page. Also an Instagram account, and a Twitter feed, in addition to the Couples Message Board. They have all this stuff, but they don’t seem to have a clue about what they should even want to do with it. It’s almost like they signed up for these accounts because everyone else has them too. For example, their Tweets seem like they were scheduled six weeks ago using Hootsuite or some other similar social media management app. They’ll tweet, then people will respond, and then nothing. No engagement. Probably because no one’s is actually there. It’s the Twitter equivalent of a robocall. It appears fake, because in a sense it really is.
I say this because, beyond the fact that these social media accounts exist, it really does look like nobody cares about these things at all. Everything gets updated in drips and drops. Maybe.
This is also reflected in their ambivalence to the Couple Message Board. The message board succeeds despite their efforts, not because of them.
I don’t think they fully recognize or acknowledge the part their message board plays in taking their potential customers, and turning them into paying customers. When someone pushes the button on a big vacation purchase like this for the first time, they want to be confident they are making the best decision. Because Couples has a message board, I think they probably get a much higher “hit” rate. Meaning a higher percentage of those that research the resorts website actually end up booking.
Not only that, but I would bet real money that a big component to their customer retention is the connections maintained to the resort, its guests, and people that are maintained by guests participating on the CMB. It drives me nuts that they treat it in such a cavalier way.
Their most loyal customers are there every day singing their praises, answering questions for free, and convincing an untold number of people to book their dream vacations with Couples all the while keeping themselves highly committed to the brand and buying into repeat visits themselves……. Think of the value of that.
Think about what it must mean in real dollars in the bank for them every single year….. This is real customer loyalty, and an extremely powerful word of mouth message that Couples can still maintain control over….. (!)
All of this, and Couples cannot even commit to regular updates to keep that machine rolling smoothly?
I mean Holy Smokes! Talk about totally missing the point about why it is you do what you do!
Think what it would cost to get any kind customer engagement program as successful as that without using a message board. I don’t know if it could even be done.
Often they will say ”we try to do regular updates, but many times we are just too busy.” Really? If I were Lee Issa, I’d ask them if whatever the heck they were too busy doing was bringing in and keeping customers as consistently as the message board. He probably would not like the answer.
If "S" resorts ever woke up and established a decent message board of their own, the “S" resort versus Couples” threads on other boards would be different beasts indeed.
Okay, rant over. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.
Now that that’s over with, I gotta say: My next trip to CSA is in December, and it cannot get here soon enough.
I love your post and totally agree with you. I can't tell you how many times I've posted an item or responded to a question on this MB and check back to see how long it takes to get posted. It usually takes about two days to appear which is rediculas. My wife and I talk about Couples all the time and send people to this website for information. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for a newbie to post a question and not get an answer back within a day when it should really only take a few minutes or hours with the speed of the internet. Well I've added my two cents worth.
On a better note, we're leaving for CSA on Saturday at 6am out of NYC so we'll be there the same time as you. I'm going to post a pic of Barb and I so if you see us on the beach to the left of the water sports shack, stop by and say hi!