How Can Hoteliers Protect Their Brand Online?
By Mark Forrester ~Occupancy Marketing
Saturday, 12th April 2008
The emergence of the Internet can be viewed as a double edged sword for hoteliers -On one hand you have the emergence of the Internet as a formidable channel for indirect (via 3rd parties) and direct (via your own Web site) bookings.It is estimated that 1/3rd of all hotel bookings this year will be booked online, with a further 1/3rd researched online but booked offline.

The internet offers more information to consumers than was ever previously imagined. Significantly more and more of this content is consumer generated content (images, reviews, video, sound, etc). Because of the explosion in interactive content it is more and more important hoteliers monitor their brand online and respond accordingly. You might not be monitoring TripAdvisor but over 24 million consumers are each month. TripAdvisor allows management to respond to reviews and correct any inaccuracies.

With so many blogs and social media sites and bulletin boards, monitoring your brand is simplified by setting up alerts. Google Alerts is a free service that alerts you any time your domain name or company name is mentioned online. Alerts can be received daily, allowing you to respond to any articles in a timely fashion.

Past reviews, comments or articles relating to your brand can be identified by using a blog search engine like Technorati or Google Blog Search.

Another area of concern for hoteliers is the use of their brand name with paid search advertisers like Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. Advertisers can and often do bid for a competitor's brand name. It is also common for third party commissionable Web sites to purchase your brand name keyword and or use your name in the advert copy. This makes sense; the keywords are cheaper to buy than more generic location based search terms and tend to convert well.

Steps can be taken to protect your brand by making a trademark complaint. Yahoo Search Marketing will uphold a complaint for any advertiser that is not a reseller of your product (if you use a 3rd party site they can legitimately advertise using your brand). Google has a stricter policy in the UK and will remove all competitors and 3rd parties if your complaint is upheld.

Spend some time researching your brand online, you will be surprised what you find!

Mark Forrester
Managing Director - Occupancy Marketing is an Internet Marketing company specialising in the hotel and tourism sector.
The company specialises in driving direct, non commissionable bookings via the World Wide Web. www.occupancymarketing.com,
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