The case you are about to study is real - the names have been changed to protect the horrible. The people are Steve, Sandy and Torque and their vacation was ruined by technology.
These fine people are officially retired and are living the American dream - enjoying their retirement to its fullest by traveling these United States and seeing the wonders that it has to offer. As part of that, they came up to visit my wife and I.
Now, in addition to writing this blog, I also run our county’s Tourism Ambassador program. I also work with a team to develop the tourism website for the area and am a former resort owner. If you want to visit Lake County you could make the argument that I would be a good person to ask about places to go and things to do.
But Steve and Sandy (not so much Torque, being a dog and all) are like most Americans nowadays and they use their computers and smart phones to plan travel. In fact, studies show that people are far more trusting of “crowdsourced” information than guide books and other single-sourced resources. Even retirees are using these tools nowadays.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I live in the land the Internet forgot. For whatever reason, my local business professionals are not fond of taking advantage of the free tools that companies like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google Maps have to help customers find them. So the ones that do really stand out. Even if they’re horrible.
Such is the case when my friends were looking for a great place to stay while visiting me that also was dog-friendly. And the only place within the city limits that I live in that was listed is also the last place I would never send anybody at all, except someone I wasn’t fond of.
Thanks to this local dive’s ownership of their digital footprint they pop up first when someone is looking for dog-friendly accommodations in my city. So that’s where they stayed. And the experience was as horrible as I’ve been told by others. Rude and uncaring staff, unclean rooms, a mixture of vacationers and permanent residents, things that don’t work well and more. Amenities? Only if a lack of furnishings and features are an amenity.
What’s the lesson here? There are some terrific places to stay in my town that are dog-friendly. These places are as good as you’ll find anywhere but they’re not good at managing their digital footprint so they didn’t get the three day booking from my friends because they’re invisible digitally. So they actually ruined my friends’ vacation by not being where people are looking.
Funny thing, when I go travel the first thing I look for are breweries and I’m writing this from Steamboat Springs, Colorado where there are two breweries; one that owns its digital footprint and the other that doesn’t. I almost missed going to the one that doesn’t because I only found them by accident.
So is your business missing out on business because you don’t own your digital footprint? It only takes a wee bit of time and it’s completely free. If you’re a great business owner don’t ruin people’s vacations by not being smart about telling them you exist. The bottom line is that it’s your bottom line.