|“The Loneliest Road”US 50 in Nevada|
I’m just back from a big roadtrip across the American Southwest, and I thought I’d share my perspective as your potential visitor. Would you be findable to me? Let’s see.
I had very little planned out, so I did a lot of searching online, especially from my phone. I tended to use Google to search within my location, and I looked at a lot of places pages for hotels and restaurants. I skimmed lots of reviews as I was deciding.
Be different to catch my eye
I chose one hotel because several reviews mentioned “Amazing breakfast cakes!” How could I resist? It was the historic Gunn House Hotel in Sonora, California. The cakes were amazing. So was the inn. I never even looked at their website.
In other towns, I did look at hotel websites as well as reviews before choosing.
Be readable on my phone
Over and over, I found restaurants with no website, with a website that made no sense on my phone, or with PDF menus that were worthless to me.
Be tourist-friendly on Wikipedia
To find things to do, I skimmed some local tourism websites (when I was in towns big enough to have them) and I checked Wikipedia pages. (They are mobile friendly and come up high when I Google a town name.) That’s how I found the Blue Hole, when we stayed in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
My husband started calling my phone the magic lantern. “Get on your magic lantern and see what you can find up ahead.”
Things to think about today’s travelers:
- Reviews on lots of different sites matter because Google aggregates reviews from lots of sites.
- Mobile friendly formats matter more than ever.
- Your home-base website still matters.
- It matters what pages pop up when visitors Google your town name.
What can you do? Let’s start with your online presence:
- Look at your Google Places page. What review sites do you need to encourage your fans to visit?
- Check your website. Add a mobile friendly version, or add your most important info to a single mobile friendly page. Kill your PDF menus or add a plain text version, too.
- Improve your customer service, and improve your product. (Do those two things, and you’ll prevent a lot of complaints online.)
- Clean up your business. Please don’t make reviewers apologize for your ugly exterior (“better than it looks”) or less than clean interior.
(Psst… wanna see the rest of my Road Trip pics?)
- About the Author
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.