reviews on a regular basis and he tapes them to the kitchen door as his service
personnel are going out to serve the dining so that they'll be reminded about
Gomez said he has been paying attention to the reviews of his business for several years.
"And it really is amazing to me how many people have found us online," Gomez said. "They come into our restaurant because they found us online and we were ranked whatever our ranking was. And usually we're in the top rankings for 'The Most Recommended Restaurant in Ruidoso.' People notice that."
On the flip side of the coin, Gomez and his family were on vacation this week and have referred to TripAdvisor on a number of occasions while on the road.
"It certainly is the way people are traveling now," he said of the apps that connect to websites that provide reviews.
Byrnes at your call
"The first thing I do typically is I stop and take a picture (using his smart phone) of the outside of the building or the sign or whatever and I check in and tell Google that I'm at this place. And then I go in and I and to the extent that I can engage the owner or someone in conversation about this. I say, 'Look, I'm here, you tax dollars have already paid for my services, there's no charge for this. But I want to make you aware of this marketing aspect and it's up to you if you want to proceed.'"
Byrnes said the response is mixed.
"Half the people say, 'Yes, help me. I would be delighted to have you take a photograph and put it up on my free Google listing.'"
At the time, the listing of the business might be incomplete with just a template created by Google.
"And about half of the people say, 'I'm not into that, I'm not a computer person.'"
Not limited to restaurants
Byrnes said now is the time, before the summer tourism season arrives, to be ready to reach more customers. He said all businesses, if on a review site, should make a claim.
"This is free and it takes about 10 minutes to do." The first step, in the case of Google, is for a business to claim their listing.
"If you haven't claimed, you need to do so. And to claim it is to simply communicate with Google through the listing itself. There's a red bar that says, 'Is this your business?'" Then a confirmation process is done online and an automated return phone call provides a passcode. The passcode allows the business owner to update (called optimizing) the listing. Byrnes said key words should be used in the description of the business to help with online searches.
"For example, I was assisting Nancy Mitchell at Mitchell's. She could have been in the jewelry category but she preferred her primary category to be Native American goods. And then her secondary category was jewelry." A web address for Mitchell's also was added to the Google listing.
Nancy Mitchell said she believes younger visitors are the ones more likely to use smart phones to scout places to check out.
"That's all they do," she said of younger people. "But do they have the money to buy what I sell? Probably not."
Byrnes said businesses should at least try because the investment is so little.
"The point here is that with no cost and minimal time local businesses can claim and optimize their listings. And my purpose in doing this is simply to make everyone more successful, more prosperous."
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