Fern Resort: how social media reinforces team environment

stefanie    February 6, 2018

Nestled on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Central Ontario, Fern Resort is a family-owned business that has welcomed visitors to its relaxing and laid-back atmosphere for 123 years. The all-inclusive resort caters primarily to families during the summer and welcomes large social groups and conferences during the winter and shoulder seasons.

“The fun, fine food and hospitality you’ll experience at Fern have been developed into a solid tradition by four generations of our family (and there’s a fifth generation now growing up at the resort.) We, the Downings and Nelsons, have a genuine concern for the comfort and well-being of our guests. We hope you’ll truly enjoy your stay.”

Fern Resort is located in the Lake Simcoe Tourism Area described as “Ontario’s Recreational Heartland, offering a myriad of outdoor experiences for residents, cottages and visitors.” Within a 90 minute drive of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Fern Resort takes full advantage of its almost 2km of prime waterfront on Lake Couchiching and 200 acres of rolling fields and bush to offer visitors the very best of Cottage Country. From summer sunset cruises and water skiing to a 1.5 km skating trail through the woods and a traditional outdoor hockey rink on the lake, guests at Fern can experience all the seasons in Ontario in all their glory.

A large part of the success of Fern Resort and its longevity is the exceptional level of service provided by its well-trained and caring employees. 4 years ago, the Management Team at Fern saw the value of engaging with its many employees through a social network. Since its staffing levels swell dramatically during the popular summer season and then decrease during the winter months, investing in an enterprise level social network seemed like overkill.

The majority of the support staff, who deliver programs and organize activities, are students, and their facility and comfort level with social media means that creating a staff-based social network was an easy way to communicate efficiently with this diverse group. In fact, multiple work shifts coupled with a large acreage ensure that it is virtually impossible to gather all the support staff of the Resort in one room at the same time. The solution was to create a private Facebook group.


Currently, over 100 staff members participate in the group, known collectively as The Fernies. Initially used by management to disseminate work-related information and kudos for a job well done, the Facebook group is also used by employees to chat with each other, plan resort activities, social events and meet and share comments. This engagement translates into a keen understanding that The Fernies have a stake in the success of the resort and the satisfaction of its guests. It also helps to reinforce the fun, summer cottage atmosphere that resort clients love.

Lessons for Others

  • it isn’t necessary to use an enterprise level social media platform in order to promote employee engagement in a business.
  • providing employees a platform for engagement fosters a sense of community and pride in their work place.
  • social media platforms for employees become a tool for creative opportunities, allowing everyone to stay involved.

Organization: Fern Resort
Industry: Hospitality and Tourism
Name of Organization Contact: Scott Collen, Manager

Authored by: Stefanie Moy-Shuster

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


The Resource Management Consulting Group (2007). Lake Simcoe Tourism Area Assessment 2007. [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/publications/PR_Barrie_Orillia.pdf

Fern Resort Facebook Page.  Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/fernresort/

Fern Resort Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/fernresort/

Fern Resort history. Retrieved from https://fernresort.com/history/