This is a story about how a very very easy step or two can win you big business.
Of course you won't remember my David vs. Goliath story about how a clever cave tubing company in Belize used simple internet strategies to grab the cruise ship passengers away in my column Web 2.0 helps minnows take on the big guys.
As I write this column I'm away again with my lovely daughter Samantha; our first stop Istanbul.
Let me set the scene. When you go out to eat in many European cities, you get accosted on the sidewalk 'come eat in our restaurant'. Where we were staying in Sultanahmet, at least 30 competing cafes and restaurants lined the street. It was neigh near impossible to walk undisturbed (especially with a beautiful 23 year old at my side). Samantha being quite shy disliked this experience.
So what does momma do?
I took my fingers a tapping into Google Maps. You might not notice that you can search for nearby restaurants, hotels, businesses in maps. To my complete surprise, only a few of the restaurants were listed on Google Maps (even though it's free and easy, I'll tell you how in a moment). Along with the listings, people can post reviews of the establishment.
Needless to say the one we selected had good reviews and when clicking through to the reviews and checking on TripAdvisor, we were immediately sold by what people said as recently as the day before.
What a lost opportunity for all the other restaurants if you multiply my action by many more tourists.
So what is my advice - for any business, not just hospitality?
1. Get your business listed on Google (local) business. It will give you your 'red pin' on the map when people search for what you offer -be it auto repair, financial services, a café or hairdresser. To quote them 'Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they're looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+' https://www.google.com/business/
2. Though we were kibitzed with at the restaurant we chose, Kosk, and loved the food and service, we were allowed to simply walk away. What Jimmy did for his cave tubing company that was brilliant, was ask every guest 'if you enjoyed your time with us, please write a review on TripAdvisor). My advice is to ask your clients the same. If you enjoyed our service, please leave a review on Google, on TripAdvisor on LinkedIn.
3. You can go even one step further to make it easy by including the web address for reviews on your marketing material, receipts,