How Google Alerts Can Help Your Business
Ever get caught off guard with a bad review or not-so-pleasant online comment about your business? Wish you could get notified right away? In this article I show you how you can use Google’s free tool to prevent a negative situation from going viral and ruining your reputation.
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Here’s the reality, the world as we know it is becoming smaller and smaller. People know in a matter of minutes what is happening in your town, even though they are thousands of miles away. It’s VERY important to know what your customers are saying about you and your organization, especially service and product based businesses.
A lot of hotel professionals are surprised when a reputation crisis involving their hotel suddenly erupts online, thinking that it happened out of nowhere. However, when a reputation crisis happens, it is actually a result of a negative conversations about your hotel that accumulated over time. This underscores the importance of having a monitoring system to keep you alert on what people are saying about your property online.
This is where Google Alerts comes in.
Google Alerts is a free tool that monitors the web every time your hotel or business is mentioned online – either on travel review sites such as TripAdvisor, online travel agency sites such as Expedia, social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Even the local news channels. Practically anywhere and everywhere on the Internet.
And again, it’s free!
Steps to Setting Up Google Alerts for Your Hotel
- Make sure that you have a Google Account. If you don’t have one, sign up (it’s free!).
- Go to www.google.com/alerts
- Fill in the information needed:
- How often. This is where you select how often you want to receive Google Alerts. We recommend that you choose As-it-happens so you can quickly receive any online conversation revolving around your hotel.
- Sources. You can choose from news, blogs, discussions, etc. We recommend you choose Automatic so all online mentions about your hotel are monitored.
- Language. Our recommendation is to choose English. However, if you cater to a lot of foreign clients, it might be better to choose Any Language.
- Region. If your guests are primarily domestic or those within your own country, you can select your country from the drop-down list. However, if your target marketing is global, we recommend you select Any Region.
- How many. This determines what mentions Google should send to you. Choose All Results for the most extensive level of monitoring.
- Deliver to. You can choose either RSS feed or your Gmail account. We recommend sending it to your Gmail so you’ll never miss an update and it’s conveniently accessible from your Inbox. Plus, you can forward the Alerts to your staff if needed.STEP 4: Click on Create Alert and you’re set! You can always edit these settings in the future.
What You Should Set Google Alerts For?
Aside from your hotel, I recommend that you set up Google Alerts for your top three competitors in your area. I also recommend that you set up Google Alerts for the most relevant search terms for your hotel (i.e. family friendly hotel in Florida or BrandX + City + Location).
Another great tool that will help you monitor mentions about your business online isMention. It offers more detailed analytics and allows more users to access the tool. The basic plan is free (1 alert and 250 mentions per month). If you have the budget, you can upgrade to one of its three packages.
An online reputation crisis starts with one negative mentions. Make sure you put out the spark before it explodes into a full blown wildfire.
How are you monitoring your online presence? Share your comments below.
Rupesh at SmartGuests.com