How to Protect Your Tourism Businesses’ Digital Assets

How to Protect Your Tourism Businesses’ Digital Assets

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Cybersecurity and information technology security services concept. Login or sign in internet concepts.

Today’s business world relies heavily on digital assets like data storage, records, communication, and any files that your company may use for marketing and production, and more. With this much digital content making up your company, you will need to protect it as securely as possible to prevent any breaches or breakdowns! Here are a few ways you can best protect your company’s digital assets and thereby feel confident in your business’s overall security.

Register Your Trademarks

So much of market competition rests on “who owns what”, down to the most specific of details, such as the symbols or symbolic phrases that you want to claim as part of your brand! If you have a fresh idea that sets your company apart as unique and makes your business memorable, registering those brand-making ideas as trademarks is a must! Not only does this signal to consumers and other businesses that your product is something interesting and unique, but it also demonstrates that the company itself is valuable. Furthermore, it increases the amount of protection to yourself if faced with infringement accusations. Keep a safe distance from competitors with this buffer and hold onto the creative elements that constitute your brand’s image and content.

Keep Proof of Ownership

Though it seems unnecessary, you may someday need to prove that you are the owner and founder of your company. If you are ever faced with a situation in which you need to demonstrate your authority over company decisions or even company successes, you will need to provide proof that you were the creator, legally. This proof can manifest in lots of different forms: business emails, official documents of partnerships and resources, IRS forms, and even event details. Keep these in a safe location so that you are prepared to present them whenever necessary.

Backup Files

As technology gets more advanced, unfortunately so do the hackers that attempt to breach and steal important (private) files. Keeping a backup source of any and all of these files is essential. An external hard drive is a secure option that you can physically keep separate from the dangers of online storage. That hard drive becomes like a safe, keeping all your valuable information (customer data, private business plans and financial info, product details, etc) within a literal box that can’t be touched by outside sources.

Increase Cybersecurity Measures

Boost the amount of or quality of cybersecurity measures your digitals systems have. Encryption is a basic way to prevent hackers from even understanding the content they illegally access, as it transcribes your data into a coded version of your file that is only accessible with the proper key. Use firewall systems, antivirus software, control access, and more. The list of available resources is impressive and effective! You may also want to consider hiring outside help! There is an entire industry created and trained to help you with your cybersecurity threats. Outsourcing your cybersecurity can help protect your business from IT threats . These are professionals at battling the viruses that attack and break down your systems, making them (arguably) even more reliable than implementing systems that you don’t entirely know how to work.

Train Your Employees

Make sure your employees are well trained in keeping secret, valuable documents, just that! Allowing employees to use their own computers for company work is convenient, but comes with the risk of their personal technology being hacked when it is on unprotected turf outside your company walls. Implement a routine of protective measures , checks, and protocols that will ensure the safe management of your company content.

Have a Plan of Action in Case of Breaches

There may be an unfortunate accident in which, despite your efforts, your digital assets are still breached. As with any accident, having a backup plan will help you be prepared with the necessary defense, cleanup, and progression resources that your “now” vulnerable company will desperately need. Know who you will communicate with (outsourced partners, branch leaders, IT consultants) and educate yourself with sufficient knowledge of your systems to be able to describe the situation properly. (The more accurate the diagnosis, the more effective the solution.) Rather than scramble to regain control, have an assertive action plan so that you spend less time stressing and more time doing productive work for your business’s healing.

Have Your Own Secure WiFi

Don’t rely on local or cheap WiFi to be a strong enough barrier between your business files and the rest of the world. Invest in the most secure connection available! So much information pours through your digital systems and collections—without a private network, this information is frighteningly easy to dig into. This is a basic step towards the independence and inherent protection that will provide your company with a good basis for secure information.

Use Authentication

Even simple things like the authentication of you and your employees are effective measures for protecting your digital assets from intruders. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong password! In fact, you may want to consider making it a routine for each of your employees to change their passwords every two months or so. Although it makes it a bit trickier to remember, don’t allow personal creative passwords. These make access to your company information as simple as an educated guess. Routine changes, complex (i.e. strong) passwords, and awareness of your privacy will be a major help to ward off the hackers who may test for easy entryways.

Get Insured for Your Digital Content

You can be insured for just about anything, including digital assets. Part of your plan of action may include having this safety net of insured digital content to get you on your feet after damaging attacks that result in financial loss. Keep in mind that any breach of your information may (and likely will) impact your customer’s privacy and your partnerships and employees’ safety! Being prepared with a support system like digital asset insurance will grant you and those associates much-needed confidence.

Make sure that the digitalization of your assets is a successful new age resource, by taking the appropriate measures to secure it fully. You will be more prepared, more reliable, and have more peace of mind!

iWerx Connect Has Been Acquired by AAMP Agency

iWerx Connect Has Been Acquired by AAMP Agency

Same Team, Same Mission, Just AAMPed Up

If you haven't heard the news just yet, we're excited to announce that iWerx Connect has been acquired by AAMP Agency, the Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros! Don't worry! We're still the same team with the same knowledge & passion for great design, engaging content, and awesome digital marketing. We are making this wonderful transition to better provide our marketing services to the tourism & destination industry. The team at AAMP Agency couldn't be more excited about this acquisition, and we are eternally grateful for the work we have accomplished during our time at iWerx Connect.

iWerx Connect had a humble beginning in Minot, North Dakota. In the year 2008, Steven Edwards and his business partner had combined their expertise to start a simple company providing indoor advertising for local businesses. Eventually, as Minot grew, iWerx Connect had grown with it too and began offering services such as website development, SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Social WiFi. While iWerx Connect had a promising future in Minot, the company owners have a passion for the tourism industry they couldn't ignore. By July 2017, iWerx Connect had relocated to Las Vegas, NV and was kicking up a digital marketing storm in the tourism and destination marketing business. By 2019, iWerx Connect had successfully partnered with a vast number of tour operators, destinations, restaurants, and more all the way from the Bahamas to the San Diego Bay. Our continuous growth and mission to provide the best digital marketing to the tourism industry caught the eye of AAMP Agency, and at the beginning of 2020, iWerx Connect had been acquired.

Now, freshly acquired, what is AAMP Agency? AAMP stands for the Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros, and that is just what we were and will remain to be. Like any business that has been acquired and in a new partnership, our team is growing, our services will continue to expand, and our reach is as big as ever. For the team at AAMP Agency, it's full speed ahead. Our focus has remained the same, provide undeniably awesome digital marketing to the tourism industry, however, we've just got more power and resources available now. So what does that mean for you? Well, nothing bad at all and everything good. We've got more resources, and we use those to help grow your business even further. We've got an expanding team, which means more ideas and more people to handle your digital marketing needs. While we may have a new name, new look, and even a few new team members, we've still got the same passion that we had when iWerx Connect was first established. So… meet the team!

Steve Edwards | CEO

Steve founded iWerx Connect in 2008 and grew his marketing agency from the ground up. When he's not focused on running a highly-successful marketing business, you can catch him cycling, trying the latest foodie trend, or on a beach in Hawaii. Steve has a passion for tacos, reggae music, and all things tourism-related!

Jaden Cymbaluk | Director of Business Development

Jaden is the Director of Business Development and leads in client acquisitions & partnerships by day. By night, he becomes D-Jaden and is rocking nightlife, dance floors, weddings, and corporate events everywhere. He enjoys traveling & sports, he's the hostess with the mostest, and being a family man is what he does best. His passion is working with all of our clients in growing their businesses!

Ward Woods | Creative Director

No marketing agency is complete without a creative director steering the ship. Ward is here to oversee every aspect of a project, whether it's a new website or a marketing campaign. When he's not at AAMP Agency, he's spending his time with his loved one, Jacquelyn, and their two dogs, Odus & Brother. He also makes time to create artwork, travel, make videos, take photographs, and participate in recreational activities such as surfing & snowboarding!

Jana Byrn | Copywriter & Social Media Coordinator

Jana is here to provide all clients with written copy that sells and builds their brand. Not only that, but at AAMP Agency, she manages social accounts, creates marketing campaigns, and works her SEO magic on websites. In her free time, you can find her photographing food & people, hanging out with her two dogs, or picking up whatever hobby suits her interest at the moment.

Alyx Thomas | Social Media Coordinator

Alyx is a true social media extraordinaire! She manages social accounts, creates effective ads, and brings awesome ideas to the table! When she's not at AAMP, shes cooking, spending time with her kittens, exploring places with her friends, or enjoying live music at a concert or festival!

Meghan Meredith | Project Manager

Meghan is the organized person in the office that has the difficult task of reigning in a creative team. When the rest of us are feeling creative, she puts us on track and set us and our clients up for success. When you're a client of AAMP Agency, there is no doubt that you'll be communicating with her! When she's not working, you can find her hiking, spending time with friends, or playing with her pet ferrets.

Theeraphat Tickahorn | Website Developer

Theeraphat (Also known as T) is a recent addition to AAMP Agency! Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, but now living in Las Vegas, T became interested in website design after discovering W3C web standards in 2007. He had earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design & New Media at the Academy of Art University of San Francisco. He is extremely passionate about web development and design in all its forms, and he enjoys writing code & researching new web technologies.

Kevin Uribe – Google Ad Words Specialist

Kevin is our Google Ad Words Specialist at AAMP Agency, meaning he has a vast knowledge of Pay-Per-Click marketing (PPC). He sets up advertising campaigns on Google Search, Google Display Partners, & Google Mobile Ads, conducts keyword research, and so much more. In his free time, you can find him spending time with his family, playing baseball, hiking, or cooking up something delicious on a grill.

Brian Huynh | Digital Sales Specialist

Brian is also a new addition to the AAMP Agency, and he's here to help tourism businesses find digital marketing solutions that work best for them. He'll talk about digital marketing for as long as you let him! When he's not speaking with potential and new clients at AAMP, he's working with Amazon or spending his time snowboarding, hiking, or chilling with his dog and 2 cats.

While our team may seem small, it is made up of hardworking employees with a wide range of skill sets. When all of our skills are combined, we are so dang mighty that we can cover all of the bases of your digital marketing needs. From website development to SEO, to social media marketing, to videography & photography. We're here to help your tourism business, destination or attraction grow to lengths you didn't even know could be possible. We accomplish this by combining our burning passion for everything tourism related with our extensive knowledge of digital marketing, helping your brand cross digital oceans.

We are AAMP Agency, the adventure and marketing pros, and we're pleased to meet you.

Your Ultimate Guide to User Generated Content – Part Two

Your Ultimate Guide to User Generated Content – Part Two

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If you have no clue what User Generated Content is or why every business in the tourism industry should be utilizing it, then stop right here and make sure to read part one of this ultimate guide! Today we’re expanding into the final part of this short series, and diving deeper into examples of successful UGC campaigns as well as how to utilize UGC on specific social media platforms.

One of our favorite examples of utilizing UGC is from Destination Canada, which is an organization that promotes tourism in Canada. For their campaign, they were targeting the U.S travel market, but instead of capturing their own footage for a video they had relied on social media to curate content from users. It took some work, but within 2 weeks they had acquired the rights to over 2,500 photos and videos from social media to create their video campaign. Within a week after launching, the video had reached over 3 million views! A big reason in the video doing so well is because they incorporated users, they in return had shared the video helping it reach a bigger audience.

Our second example of a successful UGC campaign comes from Nelson & Kootenay Lakes Tourism. They had created the specialized hashtag #FindingAwesome as well as a microsite to go with it to show how locals and visitors found something great in the region every day, thus helping promote the region to potential visitors. To drum up some interest in the hashtag, they ran two social media contests which resulted in over 1500 entries, and then shared the top entries on their blog. By doing something as simple as creating and promoting a hashtag, Nelson & Kootenay were able to enlist users in creating content that they could use to promote the region. Free content, what marketer doesn’t love that? By also sharing and reposting entries, they are able to build social proof and authenticity of their brand/region.

Now that we’ve got your inspiration flowing, we are going to move onto utilizing user generated content on certain social media platforms.

1. TripAdvisor

This one is easy, and honestly, your business should already be on there. If your business is not on TripAdvisor yet, make sure to claim your business and set up your account. TripAdvisor is perfect for generating reviews from customers, which in return helps build your brand awareness and social proof. Here are a couple of ideas to start generating reviews.

• An automated email system sent to customers encouraging reviews.

• Offer a small reward for customers that review your business.

• Promote your presence on Trip Advisor and utilize its’ marketing tools that are available.

• Responding to reviews can show that your business is engaging, helps build your authenticity, and shows potential customers your a business invested in providing a great service.

2. Instagram

Instagram is a social media platform that a lot of business in the tourism industry thrive on. Here are a couple ideas for generating content from users and capitalizing on it.

• Create a specialized hashtag, and repost people who use it.

• Ask customers to tag you in their IG stories and posts, so you can in return share it onto your IG story.

• Have users enter a contest (like Starbucks infamous Red Cup Contest) and share entries on your IG. This helps spread your brand awareness and can boost your social following.

• Start an Ambassador Program for your most loyal followers by sending them a free or discounted product. Make sure you are finding ambassadors that have an audience and will work well with your brand. In return, they will create content and speak to their audience about your business which will provide social proof to potential customers.

3. Facebook

While Facebook can be great for sharing content and UGC, it’s also a great tool for using UGC in advertisements.

• Encourage your customers to write reviews on your businesses’ Facebook page.

• Blend your reviews & photos into an Ad using Facebooks’ Dynamic Product Ads format. This helps provide social proof to your potential customers!

• Connect your facebook page with your Instagram, and share customer photos. Like discussed before, it’s free content that helps build the authenticity and social proof of your brand!

4. Snap Chat

Snapchat is a platform that you may not necessarily use for ads or sharing UGC, but it’s a great tool to use for collecting content.

• Create a tag/filter and encourage customers to “snap” their experience. You can collect their photos and videos with their permission, and repost on your own story or on other social platforms.

• By having customers snap their experiences, they can also geo-tag your location, so their followers can see more about your business and your social proof continues to build.

Pinterest

Pinterest can be a little tricky, and if you’ve seen our blog post about it, you understand how it can help any business in the tourism industry. However, for UGC it can take a little bit of work.

• One thing you can do is add a “Pin It” button to your website and other platforms, so followers can share your content to their audience.

• Create A Contest – to help generate content on Pinterest, encourage followers and customers to submit their favorite tour or product on Pinterest. This can help your business with sourcing and collecting content to use in marketing campaigns.

• Like the ambassador program previously mentioned, you can target the top “pinners” in your industry, and work with them to help promote your business. Offer them a discount or some sort of incentive and they could share your business to their audience through Pinterest.

User generated content is a very useful tool in the tourism industry, and our ideas for how to utilize it is just the tip of the iceberg! We are positive there are numerous more ways a business can leverage UGC, and if you have any ideas, comments, or questions, give us a holler! AAMP Agency | Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros is always here if you want to chat about marketing tactics (or dogs).

Your Ultimate Guide to User Generated Content – Part One

Your Ultimate Guide to User Generated Content – Part One

People taking selfie near the ocean.

So we got you to click on the blog! Now that we have you here, you better take a bathroom break, grab some snacks (I suggest popcorn with chocolate chips) and strap yourself in because this is going to be a long-ish one. The topic today – user-generated content, aka UGC, and why your business NEEDS to be utilizing it.

What is user-generated content?

User Generated Content is any type of content that has been created by an unpaid contributor, such as a customer. It can be anything from photos and videos, mentions in a blog, testimonials, and much more. 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand, so it’s easy to see why it should be incorporated into your marketing tactics. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Free Content

No matter how much income your business makes, you have to admit to loving free stuff. By encouraging and utilizing UGC, you receive free material to use in your marketing materials.

2. Brand Awareness

Whether your attraction is just starting out or has been established for a while, your business still needs to be concerned with spread and maintaining your brand. UGC helps your narrative and assists with beefing up your brand.

3. Social Proof

This connects with your brand awareness and narrative. Customer reviews and referrals are an important component in user-generated content. They help create a reputation for your business, and potential customers will most likely be willing to make a purchase from your business if their friends have referred you to them. In 2013, Search Engine Land conducted a study that had resulted in 79% of consumers admitting to trusting online reviews as much as in-person recommendations.

4. Boosts Your Social Following

When your business incorporates content from customers and users, you’re creating engagement. Sharing, tagging, commenting, etc all help with boosting your social following. By creating this engagement, it not only helps with your brand awareness and building authenticity, but it helps make your social media accounts to become more “discoverable”.

5. Get Past Those Ad Blockers

These days, consumers are less passive and are more critical about the purchases they are making. While it still makes sense to purchase ads for your business, UGC can help grab the attention of ad blockers. Consumers are more likely to click through a site if it is recommended by a friend or influencer they follow.

If those 5 reasons don’t have you convinced, I don’t know what will! User-generated content is a powerful tactic when it comes to marketing for your tourism business, and it only makes sense for you to incorporate it into your strategy. Some ways to encourage and use UGC are asking customers for reviews, creating a special hashtag for social media, and reposting photos. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll dive deeper into examples of UGC campaigns and how your business can add UGC to specific social media platforms. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us here at AAMP Agency | Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros!

How to Deal With Negative Reviews Online

How to Deal With Negative Reviews Online

90% of consumers consult online reviews before dropping by a business.

Clearly, online reviews are immensely powerful. They have the capacity to build your digital reputation and influence conversion rates. Negative online reviews, however, can severely damage the way other customers view your business.

A lot of business owners are uncertain about navigating negative reviews, whether they’re real or fake.

In this post, we’ll look closely at what you can do to manage your online reputation effectively.

1. Assess A Review’s Validity

Every business will deal with an angry or unhappy customer at some point–it’s simply inevitable.

However, some negative reviews are valid, while others are not. It’s possible to receive poor reviews constructed by bots, for example. Other reviews may come down to personal preferences and ideas.

Every review gives a business owner the chance to reflect. Most can give you an idea of how to improve customer service and other operations.

Valid reviews may have to do with poorly trained employees, a fluke lack of organization, or a miscommunication. All of these can give you insight into how to run your business even better than it is already running.

Take some time to assess how valid the poor review is. This will be critical for crafting your response.

2. Respond Quickly

Responding right away to negative online reviews is critical.

Whether you’re responding to a positive or poor review, you can demonstrate attentiveness to your customers’ concerns by responding within an hour or two of a post.

Besides timeliness, make sure your response is professional and accommodating. Avoid any defensive language, profanity, or sarcasm. Be brief if necessary.

It’s always best to apologize as cordially as possible if the situation requires it. You may even want to offer the customer a product discount or other free gift, depending on the severity of the review.

3. Manage Other Positive Reviews

Don’t just respond to negative online reviews. It’s important to respond to all reviews you receive online.

This can demonstrate your devotion to the entirety of your customer base, not just the unhappy customers.

Of course, if you receive tons of online reviews all the time, you may not have time to respond to all of them. That’s where we come in. Learn more about our review management services.

4. Leverage the Good Reviews

While it may be difficult to impossible to delete a negative review, it is possible to bury a bad comment by showcasing your positive reviews.

You can do this by sharing positive reviews on social media, for example. Simply post a screenshot of a five-star Yelp review on your Facebook business profile and give a gratitude shout-out to the reviewer.

5. Ask for Feedback

Another great way to deal with negative feedback is to engage with your customers on their terms. Request further feedback when you respond to negative reviews.

Here’s some sample language:

We’re very sorry to hear that your experience at The Mountain Hotel was short of perfect. We’d love to hear more about what happened so that we can be the best we can be for future customers. Feel free to reach out to us through our website to leave further feedback.

That’s How to Deal With Negative Reviews

If you’re struggling with a series of negative reviews, it is possible to manage these in a way that can preserve your online reputation.

Respond quickly to all bad reviews after assessing their validity. Use poor reviews as an opportunity to improve your own services.

Respond equally to positive and negative reviews, and always ask for feedback when possible. Leverage those good reviews, too, so that you can focus on the positive!

AAMP Agency | Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros is all about helping you cultivate the online image you deserve. Start a conversation with us today to begin managing your online reputation!

Learn more about how AAMP Agency | Adventure & Activity Marketing Pros helps business with Reputation Management by filling out the form below.