When it Comes to Negative Reviews – Have a Plan

I’m going to go out on and limb and guess that most businesses have heard over and over again that you NEED to have a strategy when it comes to responding to reviews.  Most of the time, your reviews are great.  You hand pick some goodies to show case on your website and hope that those out there on Yelp, TripAdvisor and the like aren’t so bad.  And hey, don’t the positive typically stand out over the negative?

The way we function online has completely changed how consumers operate.  More and more, customers will visit those online review sites to see what your past guests have to say.  This is a great way to gain additional business or lose the reservation to your competition.  Online travel reviews give customers a place to lodge their complaint or praise and be heard in a big way.

Monitoring what is out there about your business is a very important part of garnering feedback and making improvements to keep yourself competitive in the game.  Negative reviews are something that you should not let slide and how you address them is important to your future success. By promptly replying, you can minimize the damage and hopefully sway future guests into booking their reservation with your business.

Here are a few good tips when it comes to monitoring and responding to those negative reviews:

  1. Write your own response and definitely don’t have someone outside the business reply.  Include your name, your business telephone number and TRY your best to use actual grammar and good spelling.
  2. Address the legitimate concerns of the reviewer.  Don’t make a deal out of something that you can’t truly fix like they didn’t appreciate the décor of the rental they stayed in.  You can pass that information along to an owner and if they are so inclined, they can make changes to their rental.
  3. Definitely explain what changes you have made or intend to change.  Or, make an offer to the guest that they can’t refuse.  You can make that an online response or private response.  Either way, letting the particular guest know those adjustments you are willing to make will get passed along or read by others.
  4. Remember to be patient, and let your feelings settle before you make any response publicly or privately.  Keep it professional!

Developing a strategy makes it easier whenever you have a negative comment or review to respond to.  By continuing to address your guest concerns and comments, you are acknowledging the human side of your business and encouraging more customers to book and past guests to return.

Reviews come in all shapes and sizes.  Read this story about a bizarre and sexist review on Yelp and how the business owner made the best of the situation.  Just make sure that you have a strategy and respond to reviews, both negative and positive.

Welcome To Blizzard Nicole Polen!

 We’ve had to add a few new staff members as we continue to grow and change around here! 

Please meet one of our new additions – Nicole Polen!

Nicole grew up in La Crosse, WI but has called Colorado home for the past 15 years.  She started her college career at Western State College and earned her Bachelor’s in Graphic Design from Colorado State University.  For the last 9 years, she’ s been working as a Graphic Designer and Web Designer.  Her skill and passion brings some much needed relief to our Design Team!

Nicole, when she’s not working, loves to run, snowboard, hike , camp and literally anything outdoors.  Except, she doesn’t really care for climbing.  Apparently she doesn’t like heights too much! Nicole, Matthew (her husband) and Bella (their dog) are getting ready to hang their hats in the Glenwood Springs area to enjoy all that mountain living has to offer.

Please join us in welcoming Nicole!

Happy Birthday to Our Social Butterfly!

Nicole & Kathy Kappus, one of our Project Manager's outside the Palazzo on our recent RezFest Las Vegas Blizzard University Tour!

Nicole & Kathy Kappus, one of our Project Manager’s outside the Palazzo on our recent RezFest Las Vegas Blizzard University Tour!

Earlier this week we celebrated our Social Media Manager, Nicole Heisig’s Birthday!  I’m not disclosing age or anything, just wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday in another venue.  If you have a chance, send Nicole a birthday greeting.  She is a great team member here at Blizzard Internet and keeps her thumb on all the constant “buzz” in the Social Media arena.

Do you know what your Social Media presence looks like?  Nicole can help give you the details on where you should be and what tactics you should be using in marketing your business through the social platforms.  We’re so lucky to have Nicole on the Marketing Team!

Google Referral Information Will Once Again Be Available from Safari Users

Since last September (almost a year ago!) it’s been a well known issue that Safari browser users in Apple mobile devices were no longer passing search terms along to publishers.  This data from the search box was being passed from Safari to an encrypted version of Google search.  This issue was causing Google Analytics to report data to it’s users as a direct visitor to a website.

With iOS 7, Apple’s update that is currently in beta, we should begin to see this referral data passed on to websites.  We can probably expect to see inflated Google referral numbers as the search entered into Safari’s omni search box is passed on to Google, however we should see a relative decrease in a website’s (direct)/(none)data in the referrals.

Referrer Information from Google Analytics

This will not be a solution to the “not provided”  issue, which is when Google will strip a search term used to find a site so that  a publisher is unaware of how people are finding them.  Google started this about two years ago and will attribute their decision to non-report these terms as upholding their privacy standards.

Expect to see some change in your Analytics Referrals reports. Starting this fall, you will hopefully experience an increase in your Google Referrer data and less visits being attributed to (direct)/(none).

Grab that Booking with Google Business Photos

Looking to enhance your online presence using virtual tours through Google Business Photos, similar to Street View’s 360-degree technology? With Business Photos added to your website, Google Map, Social Media pages and Google+ Local account, your guests can explore and interact with your property before they arrive or convince them to book their online reservation.

Here are some simple steps to get you started:

  • Select a Trusted Photographer certified by Google
  •  Schedule a date with your Photographer for a photo shoot and determine a fair price based on how many tours/photos you request. Estimated cost is $800 for 15 shots depending on your location.
  • View your images online within days of your photo shot when automatically uploaded by your Photographer. View an example from our client, Regency Suites Hotel, who has already taken advantage of this technology. When you click on the circle near your cursor, you will move forward and into other views.

Following these steps will help to leverage your Internet presence and take advantage of this technology. Google’s search market share for the month of April was 66.5% and Google is consistently the top referrer for all of our clients. Utilizing newer technology that Google has to offer will certainly help you increase your quality visitors.

– Heather Austin, Project Manager

Announcing Our New VP Sales and Marketing!


Eric and his 3 daughters Celeste, Brooke and Audrey

Last month, here at Blizzard, we welcomed Eric Fullerton as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Eric has a very unique and diverse background in online marketing and technology implementation and we are so excited to have him here!

Eric’s expertise has helped many leading companies develop innovative solutions online which have lead to increases in business and enhanced ROI. For the past 13 years, Eric has worked in online marketing and eCommerce/web architecture for Aspen/Snowmass Resort, Stay Aspen Snowmass, Sport Obermeyer, and Ski.com.  Among other things, he also helped to improve the online presence for over 150 websites in hospitality and other industries.

You may recognize his name from a conference or workshop you’ve attended in the past.  He’s presented at numerous industry gatherings, including Search Engine Strategies in New York and Mountain Travel Symposium, the annual event for the ski industry.  He also co-produced the Partners in Group Sales conference for several years.  His engaging and entertaining presentations have earned him high regards amongst those in both the hospitality and SEO industries.

“I am very excited to be a part of this expert team at Blizzard Internet Marketing,” says Eric, “In the short time I have been here, it is clear that this company’s customer-centric values, service, and professionalism provide a high caliber of comprehensive marketing solutions for hotel, resort, vacation rental, and real estate companies in the US. I am confident that with our modern technology solutions coupled with our excellent reputation and visionary leadership we can go very far.”

Eric holds Bachelors degrees from UC Santa Cruz in philosophy and psychology and a MBA with an emphasis in Marketing/eCommerce from the University of Phoenix. We look forward to Eric sharing his vast knowledge and techniques to continue to push our client’s Online Marketing efforts to the next level.  His expertise and passion for marketing and technology will give us some extra edge!

Be sure to catch Eric at our upcoming Blizzard University on July 16 & 17th here in Glenwood Springs.   He will also be speaking at the national VRMA conference in Nashville and RezFest in Las Vegas this fall.  And if you can’t make it to the Workshop, be sure to keep an eye out for some of his great knowledge on our blog.  If you don’t run into him camping, hunting, hiking or skiing in the mountains, you can follow him here: www.linkedin.com/in/ericfullerton or on twitter: @ericjfullerton


Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

In the beginning of February, Google AdWords announced their change to Enhanced Campaigns for their customers.  This “upgrade” is so new that advertisers have been given until mid-late July to finish making the changes on their accounts before Google will handle it for you.  It’s too early to make any predictions or measure the changes, but let’s take a quick look at the updates so that you can understand the intent of this new feature.

What is the purpose of this change? 

Consumers access and search the internet through the use of multiple devices, and you want to grab your potential guests at the most ideal moment.  For most Advertisers, Enhanced Campaigns will allow you to send a targeted message to searchers based on goal intention, time of day and device used.

How does it work?

Within a campaign, you’ll have the ability to adjust your bid for mobile devices.  If you have a good percentage of consumers who use mobile phones, you’ll be able to target them within the same campaign that you have set up for computers and tablet devices.  Enhanced Campaigns give you the ability to increase your bids based on a searchers location or opt out of serving your ads to specific locations.

Smarter Ads

Within your campaigns, you’ll have the ability to show the right advertisement based on certain factors.  Maybe you want to advertise specific deals to the user who is in your neighborhood or show your local phone number (as opposed to your 800#) with your advertisement.  Enhanced Campaigns allow you to showcase relevant information to your customers based on their location, search intent and search device.

It may sound like a lot to take in, but it’s meant to simplify campaign set ups by minimizing the number of campaigns you’ll want to use.  The ability to deliver ads based on device and use your campaign extensions by ad group will provide useful data to improve your message and help you better reach your end goals.