Where Can I Get a Travel Agency Community Website?
Community websites are defined by Wikipedia as “A group of individuals who share a common interest via email, blogs, instant messages, chat rooms or newsgroups. Members of a virtual community are self-subscribing.” I would add digests and social platforms to the definition.
Before you jump into creating a community understand that your community must have a specific value proposition. Is it going to be a closed professional group like TravelProfesionalCommunity.com? Is it going to be an open local or regional geographic group like Nextdoor.com? A national or international group based on a specific topic of interest such as a plumeria growers group? You should be able to define the group’s primary value proposition in a clear and specific term.
Why do you want to start an online community? Understand that maintaining an online community requires knowledge and time. How is the community going to generate revenue? What experience do you have in managing online communities. If you do not have any experience, I would suggest that you volunteer to help moderate a community that you may be interested in. The behind the scene moderation and administration is quite a task and the more you understand it, the more successful your group will become.
Managing Your Online Group
Once you have launched your group you must create the standards that members must adhere to. If your group is successful it will require quite a bit of administration and an investment of time. One has to explore the opportunity costs associated with operating an online community successfully. You will probably need at least three administrators in able to maintain a consistent environment for the community’s members which is mandatory for a thriving community.
Here is a real example of it. Operating TravelProfessionalCommunity.com is an ongoing challenge as with over 15,000 members we have had to vet each and every member. During the discourse between the community members (which all have different personalities) who post and communicate in the forum. One agent who was knowledgable would consistently make subtle insults to other members. Not to the point of breaching the community’s standards, but frequently enough to alter the flow of conversation. Our standards were set that if all four administrators felt a member should be suspended, that we would suspend them. In this particular case this member had a toxic effect and all four admins voted to suspend the member.
About Facebook Groups as a Travel Professional
I suspect that everyone reading this is on Facebook and is probably the member of several groups that they have interest in. Whether or not Facebook is a great place to start a community depends on many factors. So let’s look at both the positives of using Facebook and the negatives.
- *Free to set up a group.
- *Easy to set up a group on Facebook. Only takes a minute.
- *People are already there to get to join.
- *Your community’s accessibility is a click away.
- *You do not own or control your community and are subject to the whims and fancies of Facebook.
- *The largest fear most community owners on Facebook have is that Facebook will start charging to reach group members much like it has for business pages.
- *Managing a closed group is extremely challenging on Facebook.
- *Disgruntled members have immediate revenge on Facebook groups.
- *Groups do not allow for any type of advertising.
While there are plenty more positives and negatives of using Facebook groups for your community, suffice it say that the one primary reason to use it is if you intend to only recruit members that are active on Facebook. Using Facebook groups for anything else doesn’t make a lot of sense.