ORM for Hotels – The Importance of an Online Profile

Nowhere is online reputation management more important than within the hospitality industry. Statistics show that 97 percent of people look at online comments from previous guests when considering a hotel, while 93 percent find this an important way of determining their choice. More than half (53 percent) won’t book a hotel without reading online opinions.

Many hotels don’t establish an ORM strategy until they start receiving negative attention. This is a mistake. Google and other search engines rank content from online travel sites such as Trip Advisor and Expedia highly, so what people are saying about you really does matter. Unless the hotel already has a strong online profile, content from these sites is going to appear prominently on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and this will be the first thing a potential customer sees. It’s impossible to control guests’ opinions, but by optimizing brand-generated content so that it ranks high on page one of the search results, will at least ensure that clients find a balanced representation of the hotel. Responding appropriately to customer comments further decreases the impact as researchers see you are using feedback to make the experience better for everyone.

ORM Strategy

An online reputation management (ORM) strategy needs to be planned and coordinated just like any other marketing campaign. Large hotels often devote an entire department to this effort. Small and medium sized organizations may have fewer resources to employ qualified full-time staff. Working with a third-party can be a cost-effective way of implementing a professional ORM campaign without expanding employee payroll. Reputation Defender has been a global leader in this industry since Michael Fertik founded the company in 2006. We help numerous individual and corporate clients establish their brand’s presence on the internet.

Online Reputation Equals Revenue

A 2015 TripAdvisor survey which investigated more than 10,000 hospitality businesses around the world, found that ORM was a top investment priority for 60 percent of hotels. This was in contrast to small scale renovations which were only a priority for 53 percent and other marketing campaigns which ranked at 51 percent. This study shows that hoteliers are recognizing the strong correlation between positive online reputation and sales volume. A TripAdvisor rating, which is based on the quality and quantity of the recent guest feedback, can have an almost immediate effect on booking, so it’s important to already have positive content posted, especially positive customer testimonials.

Establish an Online Presence

How does a hospitality manager counteract the weight of customer opinion which is now so available and measurable on the internet? Every business will face negative online comments at some point. The key is to build a positive presence through brand generated content, so researchers can see at first glance that the hotel has a lot to offer. It’s not enough to build a professional website and move on to other things. Hoteliers need to maintain a constant stream of up-to-date and relevant content, backed-up by thoughtful and genuine responses to guest feedback.

Here are 5 musts for establishing a hotel’s online profile:

  • Optimize the Brand Name – Promote the hotel’s website with Google Business and claim official profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Connect company blogs and secondary websites on an alternate domain to ensure your content dominates as many results as possible.
  • Post Regularly – Fresh content will rank higher with search engines, so make sure you post regular blog and social media updates. This includes multimedia content such as images and videos. Tag the hotel’s brand name in filenames, titles and alt content so that it ranks for that search term.
  • Set Up Automatic Alerts – It’s important to be the first to know about negative feedback, yet it’s impossible to constantly monitor all social media platforms, especially when you are running a business at the same time. You’ll need an automatic system that directly notifies the hotel when new comments are posted. Someone should monitor this feed during business hours and notify appropriate staff.
  • Analyze Feedback – Figure out what went wrong. Was it a one-time lapse in service, an endemic problem that is likely to happen again, or an unreasonable guest who would not have been satisfied no matter what you did? Knowing whether the root of the problem lies in the service department or within ORM strategies will help you devise an appropriate response that limits similar problems in the future.
  • Work as a Team – Set reputation objectives and share these with staff so that everyone promotes the same cohesive brand message. Put a coordinated team in place to handle monitoring and responses. Make sure everyone posting on official social media profiles exemplifies the same professional style.

ORM for hotels is about balancing your own content against what customers say about you. Be ready with a strong, positive online profile, whether this is created by your own staff or a third party like Reputation Defender. Once a comment is posted, it’s time for damage control. Respond appropriately and take action to avoid attracting similar criticism. If you have the SERP already filled with positive, brand controlled content, one negative review will have less effect.

How Can I Get People To View My Website?

Getting people to view your website is a vital part of any internet marketing campaign and also an important ORM tactic. A high organic click through rate (CTR) translates into conversions that will boost the company’s client base. While CTR isn’t formally listed as one of Google’s direct algorithmic ranking factors, it does indirectly affect the SERP and helps to determine whether a website will hold its place at the top of the search page.

Reputation Defender’s online brand promotion services include a wide range of strategies that will drive up traffic to your company’s official site. There are multiple reasons why people may be directed to your site, from finding it on a search page, to hearing it mentioned on social media, or seeing your name on a conference flyer.

Here are some of the ways to create buzz around your company site:

Become a Social Media Expert

Official social media profiles are a must for any company interested in developing an online profile. Once these pages are created, use them to generate activity and direct people back to your website.

  • Start with the basics – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and of course Google+.
  • Share articles – It’s important to share blog articles and other brand content.
  • Share pictures – Profiles on Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest are good places to upload images that can be shared on other pages.
  • Include video content – Post videos to YouTube and share them on social media sites. Use Periscope and Facebook Live to incorporate a live feed to your page.
  • Create content that is innately shareable – Use SlideShare or design infographics that maximize the visual impact of the message.
  • Add links – Make sure there is a website link on all social media profiles.
  • Call to action – Adding these buttons on Facebook and other social platforms will let you direct traffic to a specific action page.
  • Add social sharing buttons on blog articles and website pages – This will encourage people to link to your content on their own pages.
  • Re-share articles – Don’t assume all followers have seen an article after one share. Buffer and Edgar are 2 apps that will automatically re-share content at scheduled times.
  • Do a “Share Exchange” – Reach out to a similar sized account and offer to share their content (including a website link) if they will return the favor. This can open up reach to a whole new audience.
  • Don’t forget about these sites:
  • Quora – Generate material by answering questions that relate to your industry.
  • Reddit – There are a lot of rules against spamming on Reddit but if you take the time to build a profile that’s known for posting genuine and informative content, there can be a big payoff in site traffic. Once you have a following, try showing off your expertise by hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.
  • Product Hunt – Submit a physical or digital product to Product Hunt’s “list of cool new things”.
  • Lesser known social media – Tumblr, Snapchat, Buzznet, WhatsApp, About.me etc.
Target Your Email Audience

There’s a narrower exposure window but email can still be an important way of gaining regular customers who visit your site often.

  • Email outreach – Send targeted emails about new products on your site and include a link.
  • Embedded link – Put a website link in your email signature.
  • Autoresponder – Add a link and an invitation to find out more on the company website.
Get the Company in the News

If your brand is in the news regularly, people will start to recognize it as an authority.

  • Pitch an interesting new product – Blogs are always looking for good stories. They may be thrilled to learn about something that would interest their audience and you will subsequently gain exposure.
  • Google News – If the site puts out regular updates, you may be able to register it a news source with Google. There are specific content rules here, since Google is resistant to news releases that are basically marketing, but sites that comply will gain a big audience.
  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – Sign up to be interviewed as an expert in your industry and link to the article on your website and social profiles.
Convert Offline Contacts

In person, contacts can turn into website traffic when people go online to learn more about your business or product. Here are some ways to make this happen:

  • Business cards – Create a personal or brand business card that includes your company’s website address.
  • Posters – Display the website address prominently in all physical locations.
  • Pass out promotional gifts – Hand out pens, stickers or tote bags bearing the company logo and website.
  • Build a mailing list – Ask face-to-face customers for their email.
  • Network – Attend an industry related conference. Share information about the conference on social media pages and write an article about your experience. You could even offer to sponsor relatable events.
  • Help customers get to know you – Organize a workshop or conference where people can learn more about your product and how to use it.

Generating fresh website traffic will be an ongoing campaign. It begins with generating interest in the brand through genuine content and personal interaction. It is then important to give clear and easy directions to additional information via the company’s website. Use a variety of platforms, as suggested in the list above, to give the company the best chance of connecting with the most people. For more help with building an effective campaign, contact our online marketing experts at Reputation Defender.

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

What Is Off-Page SEO?

You’ve probably heard the terms “on-page” and “off-page” SEO. On-page SEO is individual page optimization aimed at improving search engine ranking. It includes techniques such as keyword usage, meta-tags and webpage analytics, as well as basic content quality and formatting. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, is a bit harder to pinpoint. Off-page SEO is often associated “with link-building, but it is not only that.” Off-page SEO can include any rank building activity not carried out on or related to the page itself. At Reputation Defender we use many off-page techniques to help make sure the internet is reflecting an accurate and positive image of the client’s brand name.

How SEO Professionals Influence Ranking

Google discloses many direct ranking signals that can automatically improve search results. Of these, keyword usage, language and load speed are on-page factors controlled directly by the administrator, whilst incoming or backlinks are the most important off-page factor. SEO professionals do not just focus on direct ranking signals however; they also employ many indirect methods to add incoming links and boost search results placement. These off-page techniques can include anything from activity carried out elsewhere on the web, to physical location-based networking.

Some Off-Page Techniques and How They Work

Off-page techniques are aimed at increasing interest on your site which will boost organic links, either directly or indirectly.

  • Become a guest writer for other blogs – Anytime you generate content on another domain it can be linked back to your site, however incoming links hosted by a third-party will have added authority. You’ll also gain a new audience that may visit your site regularly and add other links.
  • Build Relationships – Guest blogging will be more effective if it’s reciprocal. Offer to host another author or share their content in return for a slot on their site.
  • Co-occurrence and co-citation – If a page mentions your brand in connection with an important keyword, Google will associate them and this will help to raise the site’s ranking for that term. This can also occur as a citation when an article mentions both your site and another that is more authoritative in your industry.
  • Interact with your audience – Figure out the brand’s target audience and then a devise a way to connect with these people. Social media pages are a prime example. Follower feedback will let you know what clients are looking for and help you design content that serves their needs. Encouraging followers to share your pages will directly add to incoming links.
  • Add value to the discussion – Share your expertise with clients in ways that will really help them. Reddit is an excellent site for going beyond marketing and posting in-depth content on topics that really matter to people. It may take longer to gain a following in this way but genuinely good content is more likely to attract long-term clients who read, share and link-to your content.
  • Advertising – Basic, old-fashioned advertising is actually an off-page SEO technique. If you don’t let people know about your brand, they won’t be able to look you up online. This can take the form of flyers, billboards, business cards etc. Make sure the website is listed in large letters with a tag directing clients online for more information.
Don’t Forget On-Page SEO

Off-page SEO won’t work unless you’ve already put work into optimizing the sites internal pages and ensuring quality content. It’s important to interlink target SEO pages according to hierarchy so that incoming links to the homepage will transfer SEO throughout the entire site. Pages that are visually striking and contain quality readable content with appropriate keywords will also be more likely to attract organic links and mentions. For more on on-page and off-page SEO, talk to the experts at Reputation Defender.

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

Promote Your Business Online – Get a Handle on Online Reviews

Word of mouth used to be one of the most reliable ways to build a business reputation. Satisfied customers recommended businesses to their neighbors and relatives, building long-term loyalty amongst the local population. With the growth of the internet however, all that has changed. Most promotion now takes place online and companies serve a wide geographical area.

Online reviews have largely taken the place of personal word of mouth recommendations. The internet is both a more powerful and a more dangerous medium. Once posted, a written review will be hard to erase and it will be visible to anyone researching your business – even if they are on the other side of the planet. It’s also easy for consumers to post an anonymous review without having to be held accountable for exaggerated or angry comments.

Online reviews can have a big effect on a business’s reputation, both positively and negatively. This is especially true for small companies, who may not have a large online profile to counter the effect of several negative reviews. ReputationDefender is a leader in global online reputation management services, helping business clients generate positive content and construct a resilient brand name. Our experts can help turn online reviews into an asset rather than a threat to your brand’s image.

The Importance of Online Reviews

If you doubt the power of online reviews, look at the following 8 statistics from a cross-section of different studies.

  • 80 percent of customers say they have decided not to purchase a product or service after reading a negative review.
  • 90 percent say reading positive reviews has impacted their decision to buy certain products.
  • 45 percent say they trust online reviews the most when decision making.
  • 92 percent say they’ve made some buying decisions based on online reviews.
  • 67 percent of customers read less than six reviews before making a decision.
  • A three-star versus a four-star rating on Yelp can drop a restaurant’s revenue by 9 percent.
  • 72 percent of internet users believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Online review content carries about 10 percent weight with Google search page rankings.

Figures can vary somewhat from survey to survey and amongst different industries but it’s easy to see that both positive and negative reviews can have a huge impact on your business.

How to Handle Negative Reviews

Every company will face a negative comment at some point. Businesses can often find this frustrating, especially since one upset customer who had a bad experience is more likely to leave a review than one hundred people who had good service and have nothing to complain about.  A desire to withdraw from the situation is natural but unfortunately it is not the best strategy.

Monitoring reviews and responding appropriately will help to diminish their impact more than pretending they do not exist. A simple Google alert can help by letting you know when a new comment about your business is posted. You can also buy or download more complicated software. It is a good idea to follow your competitor’s reviews as well as your own. If a similar business in your area is getting positive reviews, it is going to undercut your clients.

Responding to reviews is generally a good idea, whether they are positive or negative and any justified complaint definitely deserves an explanation. Avoid being defensive; instead accept the comment as constructive criticism. Take responsibility for the problem, explain what went wrong and how you plan to fix the issue in the future. This helps to show you take your clients’ opinions seriously and want to do the best you can. Even if your response doesn’t change the opinion of the original client, others who read the review later will respect your conscientious attitude. Keep your tone professional and avoid getting into an angry back and forth, however the client responds.

Creating more Positive Reviews

Counterintuitively, the best solution to an online review problem is to get more reviews. If everyone leaves a comment, most will be positive, however, when only those who have a negative experience write a review, well, we know what happens. Here are a few suggestions to encourage positive testimonials from your clients:

  • Automatic survey – A short multiple choice survey followed by a comment section is easy to answer and the results will be private to start with. You can post positive statistics from the survey on your website. If customers leave personal feedback make sure you ask for permission before sharing it as a review.
  • Send an Automatic Review Reminder – This is another good way to let clients know you care about their opinions. Automatic review requests will up your overall review numbers so one or two negative comments will be less likely to affect your average.
  • Create an incentive – Organize a contest for clients who respond to your request for a testimonial. You can ask for a short description or a picture of how they use your product and what your business means to them. Give away free or discounted services as a prize and encourage participants to follow you and learn the results on social media. This will help you gain followers, as well as give you more genuine positive comments to use on your website and review pages. Make sure to ask for permission before publishing anything, especially an image or video.

Remember there is no way to create a positive online reputation overnight. It is something that can only be built slowly over time. But actively promoting positive comments, whilst at the same time developing a good sense of how to respond to negative ones, will get your business off to a good start.

Click here for more information on how to turn negative reviews into an asset.

5 Tips to Keep Hackers Out of Your Life

Physical property used to be the number one security concern for homeowners and business personnel. This has changed so much over the past ten years. Now, most of our interaction takes place online, whether it’s a personal banking transaction on your home computer or a work document emailed to a colleague. There are so many risks inherent in internet operation it’s hard to identify them all, let alone protect against them.

Some threats are obvious: hackers could steal passwords or financial information and use it to funnel money out of a bank account. But there are also more nebulous accesses that can be used to gather personal data or company secrets, which could be used to destroy a reputation.

At ReputationDefender we help to protect our clients’ privacy against all of these threats. Unfortunately, many people wait until they have a problem to invest in our services. By that time it may be too late. It often takes more than 200 days for a security breach to be detected, giving hackers ample time to gain access to an array of information, from personal documents to confidential business information. The thieves could then choose to make this information public at the most inconvenient time.

Protect Yourself

Here are 5 tips to help increase your personal and business security online:

  • Be careful when using Wi-Fi – You’ve no doubt heard of the dangers of public networks but any type of Wi-Fi can be insecure. Log off and hit “forget” anytime you leave a Wi-Fi network, whether it’s public or not, so you’re not automatically logged on again as soon as you come within range. It is also a good idea to keep the Wi-Fi button on your phone in the “off” position so you choose when you’re using Wi-Fi and can monitor what you’re doing.
  • VPN’s are more Secure – Short for “Virtual Private Network”, this is an encrypted space which allows for more secure communication and data sharing amongst authorized users. Any large business should install a VPN. Targeted individuals could also consider using encryption on their personal home devices.
  • Update your Password System – If you’re using similar passwords in an effort to remember them, it’s time to get a password manager. These downloadable apps will choose secure passwords and store them for you.
  • Check Apps and Websites – Double check all your apps to see what data they have access to. Some apps automatically ask for your location even if they don’t need it, whilst others connect directly to Facebook and other social media accounts. Turn off any sharing you don’t really need. This just increases the number of ways a hacker can get to you. At the same time, get in the habit of double checking websites you visit. The green HTTPS lock sign signifies that the website is secure. Don’t share any sensitive information unless you see this symbol.
  • Make a cyber security policy – Every business with an internal network also needs a cyber security strategy and a cyber security officer who monitors day to day operation. This department needs to ensure across-the-board staff training. Most data breaches are the result of human error and poor education on cyber security techniques. This strategy is mostly for businesses but the same model can also be applied at home. Family members, especially children, who may be less aware of internet security, can endanger any information stored or transmitted on the home computer. Educating every member of your family will reduce the chances of exposure and regular monitoring means you will be aware of a breach much sooner.

This last security aspect can be made easier by professionals. Our privacy packages at Reputation Defender will check for vulnerabilities and give you regular updates on potential threats. This can help safeguard your personal and brand reputation and, compared to the cost associated with reputation damage, it is well worth the investment.