Decades ago, hotels had to worry about building a brand, providing a good product with excellent customer service, and maintaining a good reputation within their community. It still holds true today—the only difference is that Internet advancements have led them to work doubly hard to make sure they preserve their reputation.
How? The dissemination of information, particularly negative press, is lightning fast and can damage any hotel overnight. Search engine reputation is the new form of word-of-mouth, and it is vital that businesses actively monitor what is being written about them.
Over 1.8 billion people use the internet all over the world, and so millions of searches are conducted each day. Many of these are for products and services. Because so many people's first impression of your business will come from a search engine, it is important that they receive an appropriate message as to your product and that the message comes from you. Seeing negative press in the first and most prominent search results can turn away valuable traffic and potential customers.
You need to be vigilant and regularly Google your businesses name to see what shows up in the search results. Positive listings should be first. You can also search sites like Technorati and BlogPatrol to monitor what blogs write about you. Also, sign up to receive Google alerts so you are notified each time something is published online regarding your business. Here’s how to use Google Alerts.
Next, make sure you put up profiles on Facebook and MySpace, which have wide audiences. But be careful with what you and your employees put up about your personal lives through these social networking sites, though. Remember, you are all connected so if someone Googles your hotel’s name, it might link to your embarrassing picture that may deter customers from wishing to stay in your accommodation.
Try to also have a good working relationship with bloggers instead of trying to fight them. Bloggers have a lot of pressure to produce fresh content day after day. If your business has been a target of negative blog posts, or to keep that from happening, contact individual bloggers and send them press releases. Most will be happy to have the information to post.
Or you can also start your own blog and post information about your company and/or product. That should be a good channel for you to publish anything and everything about your hotel without. Just be sure to filter comments to your blog posts.
In the end, it is worth the time and effort involved to make sure that your reputation remains unsullied. If you don't monitor your business's search engine reputation, you could be losing traffic and customers. It pays to be active and proactive in preserving your hotel's good name.