This week we have been looking at the techniques travel consultants can employ to protect, prevent, monitor and repair their online brand from negative internet reviews. The good news? Online reputation management is not only available to you, it is affordable and within the means of every travel agency. The undertaking requires planning, however, as well as continual monitoring and persistence. Today, I want to add to the list of considerations a few tips that will round out the tools and practices at your disposal.
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Be proactive – Don’t wait until a chance discovery of a negative comment to put your online reputation management strategy into gear. Continually monitor and search for mentions that might impact your travel practice negatively. The concept of “management” is not at all passive. Try to channel unhappy clients into your own internal resolution system rather than ignoring them and perhaps prompting a public tirade.
- Social Media – use social media channels to your advantage. Build up a steady stream of strong, positive commentary well ahead of any negative online problems. Your efforts will keep negative commentary not only pushed to the background in search engine results but also dwarfed in volume.
- Plan – have a plan in place for countering and responding to a negative event whether a single comment on your blog to a full blown crisis. Decide who speaks for the company, what your strategy will be and timeline the tactical response.
- Testimonials – seek positive testimonials from your clients. Positively ask for testimonials, don’t passively wait for clients to produce them. The next time a client tells you how great a job you did, ask them to post on localized media a testimonial for you.
Finally, a couple of don’ts. Do not engage a complaining poster in back and forth online banter. You will likely raise the online profile of the discussion for search engines. Don’t post false reviews of your services online. Discovery of this type of online deceit can do you no good. Likewise, the use of so-called “black hat” search engine optimization techniques like link farming can result in being “de-listed” by the search engines.
Your clients are talking about you. Online reputation management is all about joining the conversation and gently moderating it’s direction. With some planning you, and everyone else, will hear nothing but good news.