SUCCESSFULLY Managing Your Online Reputation


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Image representing TripAdvisor as depicted in ...

How do you manage all those online reviews, effectively respond, keep the negative reviews at bay and improve your reputation?

Join us for our next quarterly event, “Successfully Managing Your Online Reputation.”  Hotels and restaurants may need to deploy different social strategies in managing their online reputation, so we’re bringing in two experts to share success secrets.

Who should attend?

Hotel and Restaurant GMs, F&B Directors, Directors of Sales and/or Marketing , Social Media Managers.

Click to Register or RSVP.

About our speakers:

Mark McCullough – Territory Manager East US/Canada at TripAdvisor

Mark has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, He knows the challenges from a hotel level, having served in Regional and Area Director of Sales positions with Extended Stay Hotels, Candlewood, and Suburban. His expertise in managing online reviews has been developed through years of experience working for Orbitz, SniqueAway and most recently, TripAdvisor.


 Chelsea Hickey – Owner , Sparkle Social, a social media consulting firm, and manager of all things digital at Zuberance.

Image representing Zuberance as depicted in Cr...


Chelsea is a seasoned digital marketing strategist, specializing in social media. As Social Media & Email Marketing Strategist at Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc., she effectively launched Rubio’s influential presence on social media networks, as well as their brand advocacy program. As a result, Rubio’s was consistently ranked on the Restaurant Social Media Index in the Top Restaurant Brand on Social, Top Facebook Growth Brands, and Facebook Top 25 Growth Brands.

Chelsea is a firm believer in energizing advocates, not influencers. When she’s not managing all things digital at Zuberance, running her social media management company, Sparkle Social, you can find her on Instagram & Twitter @ChelsearRhane

Why Am I Not on Page One Anymore?!!!

Ever wonder why your page rankings fluctuate?
Have you ever awakened one morning to find your biggest competitor just took number one ranking for YOUR primary keyword?

The Fused Mind

Finally, your site is finished. All of the hard work creating a site plan that provides an excellent User Experience (UX); collecting, auditing, and cataloging content; scouring copy for errors and making sure it is optimized for search without being spammy; writing all of the background programming including the very latest in semantic markup and micro-formats; has paid off and the site is ranking on page one across a deep swath of long and short-tail keyword phrases. You and your team are “high-fiving” and smiling broadly as you prepare your first performance report.



Google Explains Why Your New Page’s Number One Ranking May Drop.

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How to Manage Review Blackmail



How to Manage Review Blackmail (originally posted on

 Posted on January 28, 2013
Reknown Travel Marketing, Daniel Edward Craig
I’ve written about Social Media Coercionand Social Media Ambush in the past, and it continues to be a hot topic.

Whether engaging in a bit of harmless social media strong-arming or outright blackmail, it seems that more consumers these days are flexing their social media muscle to exact special treatment from businesses.

If the customer is being mistreated, then fair game. I’ve done it myself. When a client wasn’t paying a bill, after months of chasing and broken promises I warned him that if he didn’t pay up I’d feel obliged to share the experience in a review. Ironically, I had helped his company with a reputation problem, and this certainly wasn’t going to help his cause. Like magic, payment arrived by PayPal within hours.

Social media has empowered consumers, and that’s a good thing. But what if the customer is making an unreasonable, unethical or just plain sleazy demand? Given the adverse effects negative reviews can have on a business, should employees allow themselves to be held hostage to such threats in order to preserve the peace and protect reputation? Do we really want to reward such behavior?

The good news is, we’re far from helpless. There are ways to combat review blackmail and to mitigate the fallout. For starters, TripAdvisor for Business recently launched a feature that allows businesses to alert them of blackmail before or after the review is posted. Defining review blackmail as “when a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met”, the company states that such activity “is strictly against our guidelines and may also be illegal in many locations.”

Reknown Travel Marketing, Daniel Edward Craig

If your business receives such a threat, you’re advised to submit a report as soon as possible by logging in to the Management Center. For step-by-step instructions see Reporting Potential Blackmail to TripAdvisor.

So that’s what you can do after the incident. But what about when the guest is in front of you, snarling and lashing out? Every situation will call for different measures, but here are my suggestions for managing the situation:

How to handle a threat to write a bad review

1. Take the threat seriously, but don’t allow it to cloud your judgement. Handle it like any other complaint: remain calm and professional, offer options, and do everything within reason to find a solution.

2. If you feel the need to acknowledge the threat, say, “We would prefer you didn’t write a negative review. How can we resolve this situation to your satisfaction?” If the answer is, “Comp my charges!”, say you’re sorry but you’re not at liberty to do that. Then say what you can do.

3. Record all details for future reference.

4. Most people won’t follow through with the threat once calmer heads prevail, especially if you handled the situation with empathy and professionalism. If the guest does post a review and it’s false and damaging, dispute it with the host site.

5. The reviewer might be a lost cause, but you may want to reassure other travelers by posting a response. For example, you might say, “Our recollection of this incident is quite different from how it is described here. We feel we acted reasonably under the circumstances, and while we wish the outcome had been different, we stand by the decision.”

5. Be respectful in your response, and avoid “he said, she said” banter. Don’t saying anything that might provoke the reviewer to take the grievance to other review sites and social networks.

6. If the reviewer comes across as unreasonable or irrational in the review, you might decide to remain silent and let readers draw their own conclusions. If your reputation is otherwise solid, travelers aren’t likely to be deterred.

7. Write guidelines into your Social Media Policy so that employees have the confidence of knowing where they stand in such situations, the options they have, and that upper management will support their decisions.

8. Afterward, debrief with staff and discuss how you might prevent a future recurrence. Take comfort in having done your best, and move on. There’s too much positive and constructive feedback out there to waste an inordinate amount of time on these unscrupulous types.

Posted by Daniel Edward Craig. Photo courtesy of Maplewood Farm and sign-maker Cameron Stewart,

Daniel Edward Craig is a former hotel general manager and the founder of Reknown, a consultancy specializing in social media strategy and online reputation management. Visit

Author, Hotel Consultant, Luxury Hotel Expert, Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig

M. +1 604 726-2337

VHTA Annual Membership Meeting

Sign up Today for the

2013 Annual Membership Meeting

April 8 – 9, 2013
Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
Roanoke, VA

VHTA logoSign-Up Today for the 2013 Annual Membership Meeting on April 8 – 9 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in Roanoke, VA. With top-tier speakers and an HSMAI educational workshop focusing on sales, there is much to learn and take away from this event. Registration includes Monday’s reception and dinner at the O. Winston Link Museum, followed by a party in Hotel Roanoke’s historic speakeasy, “Club A.K.A.” In addition, this year’s event will feature an Awards Luncheon on Tuesday where the 2012 VHTA Industry Awards will be presented.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to network and socialize with fellow VHTA members in beautiful Roanoke, VA. We are very excited about this event and look forward to seeing you there! Please see below for details regarding the agenda, registration, accommodations, & sponsorship opportunities.

HSMAI Virginia Chapter and VHTA Announce Partnership


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RICHMOND, Va., March 10, 2013 – The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International – Virginia Chapter (HSMAIVA) and the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association (VHTA) are pleased to announce their comprehensive and ambitious partnership in the realm of education for hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue management, entailing a wide-ranging schedule of course offerings and learning experiences in public venue, private label and online formats.

Programs offer specialized content to help fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue. Every aspect of the content and support material included in the HSMAI programs has been specifically designed and developed for those involved in hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue management, including a wealth of subject matter appropriate for entry-level to executives.

The programs include educational webinars and the following HSMAI online certification programs:


  • Certified Revenue Management Executive (CRME)
  • Certified in Hospitality Sales Competencies (CHSC)
  • Certified Hospitality Sales Executive (CHSE)
  • Certified in Hospitality Business Acumen (CHBA)
  • Certified Hospitality Marketing Executive (CHME)
  • Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer (CHDM)


The partnership was discussed at VHTA’s Annual Legislative Summit in January, and is being launched at VHTA’s April 8th annual meeting at the Hotel Roanoke. HSMAIVA Board Member, Steven Herron and Virginia Tech Professor, Howard Feiertag, will be presenting a course on sales and customer service titled “IMPROVING PROFITABLE SALES IN THE HOSPITALITY MARKETPLACE.”

“We see this as an ideal relationship with a real value exchange,” says Rob Waddell, CRME, HSMAIVA President.  “Our members are kept informed by VHTA about vital legislative issues that affect their sales profits and operations, while we provide VHTA members with educational and certification programs to improve their sales and marketing effectiveness.”

Quick Facts

  • Together the two associations represent over 1,000 hospitality sales and marketing professionals, owners, and managers.
  • Hospitality is the second largest industry in Virginia and generated $20 billion in economic impact in 2012 ( Source: Virginia Tourism Corporation)



About HSMAI:

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI’s MEET, Adrian Awards, and Revenue Management Strategy Conference. HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at,, and


About VHTA:

The Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (VHTA) is the unified voice for the restaurant, lodging, travel and hospitality suppliers associations. The association creates value for members by promoting the legislative interests of the industry, providing cooperative marketing, educational opportunities and protecting free enterprise.

Merged in 1993, the Virginia Restaurant Association, Virginia Hotel-Lodging Association, Virginia Travel Association and Virginia Hospitality Suppliers Association continue to evolve as “One Strong Voice for Tourism” throughout the Commonwealth, better known as the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.

Is Your Hotel Impacted by Social Media?


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Your first answer is probably, “of course it is. We have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, we’re on LinkedIn, and we even have a Pinterest account. We’re way ahead in this ballgame.” But take a closer look and ask how is all of this social interaction impacting your hotel? The article The Impact of Social Media on Hotels” that appeared on really stirred some thoughts.

The problem I have with the perspective of the article is that it focuses on “review sites” as opposed to consumer/guest engagement through social media.  A review posting to me is on the lowest end of the social scale.  It’s impersonal, private, often times ambiguous and one-way…

I really wish they had some the same study on a social engaged hotel vs. non-socially engaged hotels with similar hotel dynamics to compare the rise in repeat guest rate, occupant, rate, reach and branding…

And another problem is that it’s so difficult to accurately gauge.

Social media faces all the same difficulties in measurement that PR does, except organizations give PR a “free pass” when it comes to measurement and reporting direct impact.

Also, there aren’t tools out yet that are linking individuals across all platforms. No CRM tool has successfully integrated social media without requiring the guest to include it. It would be a powerful tool if someone could develop a CRM platform that not only tracks user preferences and such, but also social media presence and awareness.

After reading this, can you readily define how social media is impacting your hotel? Let us know how. And how you know.

Optimize Revenue! Hear How Harrah’s Generates Long Term Value


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Join Us Feb. 21!

Harrah’s Shares Secrets for Generating Long Term Revenue
Optimize Revenue by creating long term value from your current customers. Former CMO of Harrah’s shares the secrets from one of the best in the business.

There are two ways to grow business and optimize revenue. One is to gain new customers which is expensive and ever more challenging. The second is to garner additional revenue from your existing customers by increasing their long term value and customer loyalty. Harrah’s Entertainment is widely recognized as having one of the best loyalty programs anyway. Arthur Schleifer, our guest speaker, has worked in various roles in Marketing & Brand Development including Harrah’s, Pinnacle Entertainment, and Gold Key/PHR In Virginia Beach. Attend this event and learn some of their secrets and how you can optimize your revenue stream by increasing the loyalty of your customers.

Register online with the link below before January 31 and SAVE!

Register Now!

Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to volunteer with HSMAI -VA.
Thanks, and we hope to see you at this impactful event!

Follow us Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Rob Waddell, President
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International – Virginia Chapter

When: Thursday February 21, 2013 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM EST

Where: Williamsburg Hospitality House, 415 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Williamsburg Hospitality House

Williamsburg Hospitality House and Conference Center is located just three blocks from the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg and across Richmond Rd. from the campus of The College of Williams & Mary. Discerning business and leisure travelers alike will appreciate our excellent location surrounded by the rich history of Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg as well as nearby Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

Williamsburg Hospitality House and Conference Center offers 296 comfortably appointed guest rooms including with city and courtyard views and convenient hotel amenities including a business center with internet access, an elegant laptop lounge with free WiFi and printing, underground parking, and our workout center featuring Nautilus-style exercise equipment.
Enjoy an excellent lunch and dinner menu in The 415 Grill or relax with your favorite beverage at the full-service bar. Delicious and wholesome breakfast choices are served in Papillon, our garden bistro.
Productive meetings are a tradition at Williamsburg Hospitality House and Conference Center. Offering 24,600 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space accommodating up to 400 guests, small to large groups are elegantly accommodated while being surrounded by distinctive décor. Our professional meeting planners are at your service to ensure a successful meeting, wedding, reunion, retreat or other special event your guests will never forget.

How Important is it to have a Mobile Optimized Site?


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Intel Mobile Device

Intel Mobile Device (Photo credit: Frank Gruber)

Face it, ALL of your customers are mobile. It is the nature of our business. Look around your lobby, how many people are staring down at hand-held mobile devices? All of them? Even the ones who are engaged in conversations with people standing right next to them? Yes, this is your new reality. And statistics show that over 80% of bookings from mobile devices happen within 20 miles of the hotel. Do you need any more reasons to have a mobile optimized site? Read this post from

5 Habits Practiced by Marketing Leaders via Duct Tape Marketing


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Do you attend networking sessions to find clients?

Are you teaching younger sales and marketing professionals?

Do you cooperate with your competition?

Do you host industry events or meetings?

Find out why these are important and how market leaders are practice these habits and why you should too.


Psychology of Delete




think (Photo credit: the|G|™)

From where do your marketing ideas come?

What are the thought processes you use to create an email campaign or a marketing message?

If, like most hospitality marketing people who are time-deprived, your ideas come from a competitor or something you saw that you liked, chances are you will have little success from your efforts. Your audience has seen it, done it, and is bored with it. Even worse, as you will learn in reading the article below, your audience sits with fingers hovering over the delete button even before your message even finishes downloading.

Advanced Market Training » Blog Archive » Psychology of Delete.