A Simple Dashboard to Monitor Your Online Reputation

Recently the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) asked me to do a webinar on building a dashboard to aid in online reputation monitoring. I had read a really good article on the topic a year or so ago, so put some of that information to good use, added a bit of my own, and created the presentation. The presentation (slightly adapted) is below. One note from the audio (which isn't included) is that at the time of the presentation the TweetBeep.com site was not responding. Since I haven't actively used it in a while, I don't know if it is still in operation. Building a reputation management dashboard View more presentations from Scott Thomas.

Reviewing TripAdvisor: Low Marks for Responsibility

In recent weeks others in the travel and tourism industry have been highly critical of review site TripAdvisor for various shortcomings in its administration of its online lodging reviews (and other reviews, as well). The concerns expressed are world-wide, not simply the complaints of a few, in a small part of the world. This post is an attempt to gather and synthesize the concerns, to try to identify the core problem, and to suggest improvement. Recent Complaints About TripAdvisor In the United Kingdom, Paul White's Bed And Breakfast Club blog has taken TripAdvisor to task for allegedly fake reviews that have been maliciously posted to damage a property.  Paul suggests that TripAdvisor could have listed hotels give a code to their guests, that could be entered to validate the authenticity of the review. More recently, Heather Turner, in her Chef Forfeng's Blog, has questioned mysteriously disappearing reviews that were favorable to a property, vanishing from TripAdvisor. In addition on several innkeeping forums, such as the members-only forum for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), or the public Innspiring.com forum, innkeeper problems with TripAdvisor frequently surface. We have documented some of them here on AboutTheInn, as well, calling for greater responsibility from TripAdvisor, among others. Avoiding Responsibility Unfortunately, TripAdvisor's responses to nearly all of these concerns, whether made via blogs and forums, as mentioned above, TripAdvisor's own Owner's Forum, or efforts to make direct contact by phone or email, all seem to result in one of two standard responses. The first is utter silence - leaving the innkeeper with the clear impressions that (a) there is no procedure to handle problems innkeepers may have with the review process, and (b) TripAdvisor really doesn't care if the reviews are genuine or not. The second "response" is the provide boilerplate statements to…

Finally! Respond to reviews from Google Place page

As review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others, supplemented by the more specifically-targeted sites like the bed and breakfast directory reviews, become so very important to small lodging properties, Google did not miss out, and began adding reviews from many of these sites on their "Place Page" (formerly Local Business Center) for the business reviewed. Google's next step was to add the ability to review a property directly on the Place Page. This was a nice feature for reviewers, but a nightmare for businesses. Not only was the review anonymous, and entirely without any accountability, but the property owner could not respond to the review - even in cases of alleged fraud. Today Google announced a very welcome change to that practice, allowing verified business owners to post a reply. Google does suggest that you "be nice" in your reply, and provides some brief guidelines for responses, that would be well to be kept in mind in responding to any review. This should provide an even greater incentive for businesses to claim their Place Page to become a verified owner, and monitor it regularly, now that verified owners can respond to Google reviews.

Land of the Giants: Will there be a happy ending?

Not so many years ago, as the use of the internet technologies was maturing, there was a lot of talk about the leveling of the playing field, allowing the smaller businesses to compete with the larger. You don't hear so much about that, these days. As businesses of all sizes have turned to internet marketing and social media to build relationships with customers and potential customers, the scales have reverted to the same imbalance as in traditional marketing. Big business as well as small have devoted significant effort to using these technologies, and to finding their way to the top of the search results, especially on Google. If you'll indulge me a bit, this scenario seems a little familiar... For Americans of -- ahem -- a certain age, there was a science-fiction television series in the late 1960's that was very popular with teenage boys, called Land of the Giants. I was a few years too old to be interested, but my younger brother was hooked on it. The show involves a group of travelers, marooned on an Earth-like planet, where the inhabitants resemble humans but are 12 times larger than the cast of heroes. Each episode involves the group seeking a way to return to Earth, while avoiding the dangerous giants. Though the giants cause problems, there is always a happy ending, except that the crew never escape. How does that science-fiction program relate to marketing lodging properties? Or, to borrow from a television commercial, what can a 1960's sci-fi program teach us about internet technologies? Read on... The Land of the Giants For the purpose of this article, the giants are not those who compete directly against us, but those who are ostensibly here to help us. There are a number of these giants. We could consider Google,…

Taking a step back – what are you trying to accomplish?

Amid all the frenzy of keeping up with Twitter and Facebook and now Foursquare and YouTube and Blogging and sorting out which directories to list on, and responding to the never-ending flow of emails from directories telling you to hurry and post your latest specials for this month, your latest photos, your latest hot deals, your best recipes and oh, yes, did you remember that you actually have a business to run? sometimes it is nice to ... just ... take ... a ... step ... back, take a deep breath, and remember what it is we're trying to do here. Now, that's better. What we try to do All the different things we're called upon to do, and sometimes we think we're required to keep up on, can get so fragmented, that they can pull us in too many directions and keep us from our real job. Recently there was a thread on a B&B forum (I've seen the same series of questions and comments on several different forums - the topic pops up every now and then) asking, quite appropriately, how to decide which (pay) directories to list on. The discussion evolved into a discussion of the value of directory links for search engine ranking. Innkeepers must be experts in search engine optimization (SEO) and in statistical analysis of directory listing results, you see. Meanwhile, every so often there is another blog post about measuring return on investment (ROI) from social media (meaning Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.). Some say it is worthless. Others find value in social media. Innkeepers must be experts in determining ROI in the newest, cutting edge media, too. And, of course, all innkeepers must be great copywriters so they can blog regularly, post to their Facebook page, and also keep the website up-to-date, post…