Google is alerting everyone; are you included?
Google is famous for its array of free services including email, mapping, and much more; but did you know that Google has great tools that are perfect for business use? One such tool is Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts).
You can use Google Alerts to notify you by email when keywords or phrases you select appear online. This is great for keeping up with your favorite interests: sports teams, companies, even individuals. Personally, I have alerts set up for the “big shots” in my town with whom I’d like to eventually land as a client. The service provides me with information I can use when I do meet them (or meet them again). Imagine how impressed your prospect would be if you were able to make an intelligent comment about something you read about them: “Hello, Mr. Jones! Congratulations on your company being selected for that multi-million dollar project!”
Other alerts can be used for various travel companies: cruise lines, tour operators, etc. Sometimes I receive alerts about a special they’re promoting BEFORE their own marketing email hits my inbox! I even have alerts set up for my personal website at www.JourneysBySteve.com as well as my name. This gives me an idea who is linking to me, and what people are saying about me and my services. Forewarned is forearmed!
Here are some Google Alert ideas you can set up to help your own travel business. Some of the alerts are ones I already use, and others come from small-business expert Stephanie Chandler (www.stephaniechandler.com).
Business name: Knowing who is mentioning you, where, and how you’re being mentioned is a great way to network. This helps you take the initiative to send a thank-you card (if it’s good) or resolve an issue (if it’s bad).
Personal name: For the same reasons as the business name, it’s important to check for your own name, especially in the travel business!
Web site: Going hand-in-hand with the first two alerts, your website name should have its own alert, especially if your site name is not the same as your business or personal name. Tip: Leave off the leading “www.”
Blog: If you host a blog, create an alert for your blog domain.
Titles: I have alerts for the titles of my TRO columns. It helps me know where they’re being posted or re-printed. You can do the same for important blog post titles.
Industry Knowledge: Google Alerts make it easy to keep on top of industry news. I receive so many “news alerts” from companies and individuals all the time, but Google Alerts help me condense it all and see the news for the companies and people I want to know about.
VIP client research: Track activity for your top clients. This can give you valuable insight into what they’re up to, and also provide you with reasons to contact them.
Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS is a two-year industry veteran with Sunnyland Tours & Travel in Springfield, MO. He holds Lifestyle Specialist designations in Luxury Travel and Gay/Lesbian Travel, and is known for specializing in cruises, Western European tours, group travel, and culinary-themed travel. He can be reached at email@example.com, or through his website at http://www.JourneysBySteve.com.