|“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?)
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Rex Hammock says
re: “”Get on your magic lantern and see what you can find up ahead.””
I’ve discovered that you don’t want to be *too* good around family members when it comes to using smart phone travel hax. Why? Because they start texting you when they are travelling and you are home — thinking you are OnStar or something. I’ve had to make rules: If you’re stuck somewhere and need me to help figure out how to extract yourself, text me. If you’re looking for the nearest Chinese restaurant, you’re on your own.
ALWAYS, have some one not affiliated with you or your business try to find you from their smart phone. Ask for their honest impression (this is why they should not be closely related to you: they might be afraid to be honest).
Becky McCray says
Rex, I’m lucky that I have a small family. :)
Maesz, that is a great next step.