Travel trends change with the wind, which is why every travel professional should set up a Google Alert.
What is a Google Alert? Think of it as your own personal town crier who deposits news bites to your inbox based on your pre-selected keywords like ‘adventure travel’ or ‘Air Canada’’ or ‘Hilton Hotels’ or ‘Mekong Delta’. Choose keywords that reflect your business and your clients’ interests, and Google Alerts does the rest by scouring the web for stories, articles and blogs that match the criteria you’ve inputted. (See sidebar below for How to Set up a Google Alert).
“Setting up a Google Alert is an easy automated way to keep track of relevant news in your industry,” says Michelle Stinson Ross, Digital Marketing Strategist/Outreach Specialist at AuthorityLabs (authoritylabs.com), a search engine rank monitoring software company in Arizona. “You don’t have to rely on your memory or habits to seek out the information you need. Getting an email alert to new material means that you won’t miss something important.”
How to set up a Google Alert
- Search Google for a topic, say ziplining tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
- Select the ‘News’ tab at the top of the results page.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click the ‘Create alert’ button.
- You will then get step-by-step instructions for setting up your Google Alert.
Staying on top of breaking news also means that you’ll be relevant, informed and at the top of your game. But there’s more to Google Alerts than simply being a purveyor of news. Here are more reasons, courtesy of Stinson Ross, for why setting up Google Alerts is smart business:
- A wellspring of content to curate and share. Sift through your alerts and share the best ones with your social media communities. Use a dashboard like Buffer, Sprout Social or Hootsuite in conjunction with your Google Alerts to better organize, schedule and disseminate your curated information. (What’s a dashboard? Read this.)
- Idea generator. Use the alerts to inspire timely and relevant ideas for your own blog and social media posts and tweets. For example, you see an alert that contains several travel advisories to Havana. This is an opportunity to show your clients and the wider world that you know your stuff by writing a How To article about safety and travel.
- Influencer outreach. In addition to sharing articles, you can cultivate relationships with potential clients, other travel professionals, travel writers and photographers through notifications about their online activity. Write a guest post on the blog of agent who lives in Sydney or invite a travel writer from Munich to contribute a guest post on your blog. At the very least, be sure to visit online communities for travellers and travel professionals, writers and photographers. You’ll expand your reach with like-minded individuals who are passionate about travel.