Over the past few days we have discussed measures a travel agency can undertake to prevent the posting of negative information online by both employees and others. But what about the information that is already “out there”? In an online world that never forgets, negative information can follow a company for years, and a word like “scam” or “cheat” can append to your company name in cyberspace even when unwarranted. Knowing the status of your travel agency’s current online reputation is an important aspect of Online Reputation Management.
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The first step in pro-actively monitoring the reputation of your travel company is to conduct online searches on your company name. Google is the place to begin. Search your company name and any variations. Search your trademarks and any service marks you may own. Next, search keywords that are related to your business. Then, methodically begin to search the names of your employees. Moving beyond Google, conduct a similar search on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Look at the Facebook profile and Twitter postings of your staff to ensure that the image being projected will not negatively impact your travel agency.
Review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List can also carry negative information that is more localized in nature. Consumers use sites such as these to evaluate local businesses with which they have done, or might do business. It is important to search these sites to see if any reviews of your travel agency have been registered.
Sometimes overlooked in the age of online social media is your company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. Although many business owners do not participate with the BBB, consumers often turn first to BBB ratings, available online, to determine the merits of doing business with a company. Any grade lower than an “A” can negatively influence a consumer. Travel agency owners do well to monitor their BBB ratings and to participate willingly and actively with their dispute resolution process.
Google has an excellent tool known as Google Alerts which automatically and continually conducts searches of keywords and periodically sends to the user the search results. By entering your company name and keywords you can pro-actively monitor your reputation by reviewing the results as they are returned to you. There are other solutions, some free with paid upgrades like Trackur.
Proactively monitoring your travel agency’s cyber reputation is a necessary practice to ensure that you can quickly act in the event negative information becomes suddenly visible online.