Do you know that your hotel can leverage guest reviews to help with search engine optimization? The first step towards enhancing SEO is to build fresh, positive reviews wherever possible, including on Google+, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Recent research shows that on a 10 point scale, Google+ ranked 9.5 as being the preferred social site for posting and reading reviews, with Yelp a close second with a rank of 8.95. By encouraging guests to leave positive reviews on as many social sites as possible, a hotel is building a cache of comments that will not only improve their opportunities to rank well on search engines but are likely to turn lookers into bookers. Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, is assisting hotels by proactively pushing guests to leave positive reviews on the hotel's own website and other social media channels. The company also manages the hotel's reputation on those sites and review sites (such as Google+, Yelp and TripAdvisor), and responds to guest reviews on behalf of the hotel. "Leveraging positive guest reviews on a hotel's own website and it's social media channels should be part of a hotel's overall organic search strategy," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder and President. "Search engines are continually seeking fresh user-generated content to include in their search results pages, and by having a consistent and ongoing program to solicit guest reviews, hotels can increase their organic search engine results." According to the 2013 Bright Local Consumer Review Survey, reviews are an important signal which potential customers use when deciding which local business to contact and do business with. Results show: - 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more - 65% of consumers more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews - 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations Many hoteliers are already leveraging guest reviews with Lodging Interactive's proprietary Guest Review System which enables properties to collect their own guest reviews on their hotel websites. Hotel managers receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews are submitted by guests. This eliminates delays in addressing concerns and turns potential problems into new opportunities. The Guest Review System also puts a stop to fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds, helping hotels to maintain their reputations. More importantly, directing guests to the hotel's website to post comments and reviews keeps them from being redirected to an OTA where they may never come back to book direct. Removing OTA's from the equation and taking ownership of the guest-communication process also keeps more revenues in owners' pockets. "Our Guest Review System is a web-based tool that is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on hotel websites," Vallauri said. "The hotel management team has complete control over which guest reviews are displayed on their website." Related Link: Lodging Interactive