As a travel brand, how you are perceived online by consumers is incredibly important. The Internet has become the first place people visit to seek travel-related advice, so you need to make sure you have a strong online presence.
Your online presence includes everything from your website, blog and social channels, to sites which contain customer ratings and reviews of your brand. The task you're faced with is making sure every channel is effectively managed and maintained, in order to provide customers with an all-round positive experience of your company. You need to be seen as a reputable business, bearing in mind that in the online world, reputation really is everything.
According to TripAdvisor's latest TripBarometer report, online reputation management (ORM) will be a top focus for many hotels this year, with investment in the area rising by 60% compared with 2014. Travel brands are waking up to the importance of ORM, so it's time you do too. Here are some tips:
Create accounts on review sites
Identify what review sites your consumers are using, and then create accounts with as many of them as possible. Setting up a business account with sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews will allow you to closely monitor customer reviews and reply to them, which can help to strengthen your online reputation.
Encourage clients to review
If you aren't already, make sure you are encouraging customers to leave feedback. For instance, you could send them an email asking them to share their experiences with your brand via one of your social channels. This will help you to build a bank of positive reviews, in turn giving your online reputation a boost.
Closely monitor social media
Social media gives your customers enormous power, enabling them to leave real-time reviews of your brand. You need to be keeping a constant on each of your social channels for consumer feedback, ensuring that you respond to all comments in a timely manner. If you receive a negative comment, it's important you empathise with the customer and offer a solution. If the feedback is positive, thank them for taking the time to leave a comment. A pro-active approach to customer interaction can significantly improve your online reputation.
Utilise ORM tools
If you don't have the time to manage each social site separately, then explore the many tools you can use that will enable you to manage your online presence across multiple sites. These include sites like Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck and Social Bro; but there are also more travel brand-related tools such as ReviewPro, TrustYou and Revinate.
Shout about your success
As a travel brand, you need to shout about your success because, quite frankly, no one else will. If you've received any industry-related awards or recognitions, make sure people know about them – share the news on your social channels, write about it on your blog, or upload any photos if they are physical awards. If you do this, people will start to realise that you're a trusted, respected travel brand, and are more likely to want to engage with you.