According to eMarketer, the number of people who research and book a trip online increases dramatically every year, and the trend will only continue. That’s why it is so important for hoteliers, agencies, and other travel marketers to take control of their reputations online.
Start your online reputation management off on the right track with these ideas.
Drive prospects to owned media
The eMarketer report indicates that branded travel websites are the second most common source travelers use when researching and booking travel online. That means your branded website, blog, and other owned media are the most important resources you have to help customers and influence a positive reputation.
Use a strong, comprehensive search engine optimization and paid search strategy to drive traffic to the media you own and control. Publish lots of unique, useful content on your website, social channels, and other owned media to help them appear high in search results.
Incorporate ads and reviews
Paid media such as search ads, Facebook ads, and promoted tweets can be the catalyst that introduces travel researchers to your brand and inspires engagement. Use them in conjunction with strong SEO and reviews.
Earned media, especially reviews and positive social mentions, increases your credibility and is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing, making it very powerful. Use the following ideas to generate positive reviews and mentions:
- ask for reviews on social media
- host a contest or giveaway with the prize going to a randomly selected reviewer
- use email to encourage customers to talk about their experience
Use social media aggressively
According to iProspect, the very first thing travel brands should do to control their reputations is claim brand presence on social platforms. The biggest social media–Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor, and various listing sites–are the perfect channels for generating powerful reviews and recommendations and spreading awareness of your brand.
Lots of updated content and the judicious use of ads on all these platforms can make a huge difference to both your bottom line and how you are perceived.
Make your media more visually appealing
Like the food and real estate industries, travel depends on visual elements to perform well. Using beautiful, high-resolution videos, photos, and other multimedia impacts your reputation in a few ways:
1 If you invest the time and money to create appealing visual media, your services are more likely to be high quality as well.
2 Great multimedia are more likely to be shared, increasing your brand’s exposure and creating indirect recommendations.
3 Visual media are easy to publish across many different platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Flickr, etc.), making them more likely to show up in a video or image search.
Having an appealing and easy-to-use website makes a big difference, too. It encourages reviews, makes it easy to research and book a trip, and is more likely to show up in search results thanks to better navigation and user experience.
Focus on your customers
Your online reputation directly reflects your reputation in general. Take ownership of your reputation in all its facets by making customer experience as remarkable as possible.