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Google Trips – Organize Your Travel Easily

Google is continuously coming out with new technologies that make communication and organization easier and more convenient. Being organized and having a plan is vital to productivity in the workplace and when traveling, too. Enter Google Trips.

In mid September, Google launched a new travel app called Google Trips, which helps the everyday traveler and business professional alike when they are away from home. The app focuses on planning and organization, something that is right up my alley and something I needed to try.

I downloaded the app on my iPhone and it prompted me to sign in to my Gmail account. The next thing I know, a reservation popped up in my Google Trips app for an upcoming trip that I had planned. Google developed the new app to work with Gmail, taking any reservations from your inbox and putting them into your trip-planning app, pretty convenient and so easy to setup!

After downloading the app, I was playing around with the different tiles and instantly noticed what a great business opportunity was available for hoteliers and business establishments in towns big and small. The app is set up to plan activities for the area that you are visiting, taking any information from Google and incorporating it into your stay. For businesses that don’t understand the need to promote themselves through Google services like Google My Business this app is a great reason to get listed! Don’t have a Google My Business account? Check out our earlier blog, Independent Hotel and Resort Google Guide, on how and why you will want to set one up!

Just by being on Google, the app creates endless exposure for small and large businesses, here is an example.

After I checked in at the hotel and stopped at my room, I needed to find somewhere to eat. The only problem I had was that I hadn’t been to the area before and I wasn’t sure of what places were open or for that matter what was around me. I opened Google Trips and clicked on the food and drink tile to see what my options were. In just two seconds there were tons of places to go, all organized and categorized to make my search easier. Each recommendation has reviews and the hours of operGoogle Trips Mapation with a brief description of what you can expect for the environment and for the food.

I chose a local restaurant that I hadn’t heard of before to support local businesses instead of chains. While I waited for my meal, I picked out a café for coffee that next morning and I planned a few other restaurants that I wanted to visit before going home. The app allows you to “star” or save places that you enjoyed, or that you know you want to visit while on your trip. I added the café and a few restaurants to my saved places and then browsed around in the things to do tile.

In a matter of minutes, Google Trips provided me with tons of different local restaurants and café options. This was just one tile, the app allows you to look at local activities, shopping centers, small family owned and operated stores, you name it. Google Trips is just one benefit of promoting businesses on Google My Business. It will allow businesses to gain exposure and to increase traffic and business by bringing out of town guests to your establishment.

Online Hotel Marketing

When it comes to online hotel marketing, Social Energizer can help you tackle the tough parts. Each solution has been researched, tested and chosen for features that will quickly help you make the most of getting online. You’ll be amazed at our focus on choices that let you work less, not more!

Online Booking Engine on your website

A Smart Website that gets found in Google searches, connects to Facebook, is dynamic and changing each week, is informative with easy-to-find answers, and integrates with your property management system.

Property Management System -we have teamed up with one of the best PMS companies in North America for small hotels and can help implement their system at your hotel quickly and efficiently. Have the best of both worlds, state-of-the-art technology, backed by local and personal assistance that is able to focus on your business’ needs.

• GDS/OTA Integration Assistance -from strategy to implementation, our assistance will save you hundreds of hours of work and frustration. Optimize your new PMS with seemless integrations to your favorite online partner. Using our strategy, you will discover how working with online partners can be a WIN/WIN for everyone -without costing you an arm and a leg!

• Merchant Account / PCI Compliance -Allow guests to charge their room charges right from your website  booking engine and your staff to charge from within the reservation -all with lower fees than you are probably paying now! Then have those monies deposited to your bank all from within a controlled and trackable interface. Exceed the standards that credit card companies require for processing credit cards with PCI Compliance.

• Social Media integration and automation -social media is a lot of work, but the payoffs can be the most significant of all possible efforts. Integrate to reach full impact. Automate for efficiency and the sake of your sanity! After all, you have a hotel to run.

• Mobile Website so potential guests can find you on the go. Over 30% of travelers now find their accommodations by connecting to the Internet via their cell phones and tablets. Can they find and use your mobile website?

Automate routine guest communication -Welcome, cancellation and after-stay follow-up emails can be set-up to almost run on their own. Now, won’t that be a lot of work off your plate?

Marketing -run an ad campaign on Google, email campaign to your past guests, send press releases to online media outlets of your latest accomplishment. That’s just the start of the things we can do together!

Business Support -email with your domain like me@yourhotelname.com, learn to utilize free powerful online services that will revolutionize the way you do business.

Learn and stay up-to-date -It’s a new world out there. Learn about new trends, opportunities and threats that relate to travel and hospitality.

For a full list of our services be sure to check out our ‘Services‘ page.

15 Trending Travel Terms

Moving your hotel to an automated, online integrated system is a big step.

Here are 15 Trending Travel Terms to help you with some of the new lingo.Reception

Property Management System (PMS)

The application used by the hotel to control onsite property activities such as check in/out, folios, guest profiles, room status, requests, etc. PMSs can have interfaces between other applications such as the hotel point-of-sale (POS) or central reservations system (CRS)

Central Reservation System (CRS)

The application used to manage a hotel’s distribution and hotel room bookings. Typically will be used to reach guests via multiple distribution channels such as travel agencies (via GDS), online travel agencies (such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline and others), direct to the hotel website, and telephone (either via call center, direct to property or both).

GDS (Global Distribution System)

Reaches 300,000+ IATA registered travel agents powered by four networks: Sabre, Amadeus, Worldspan and Galileo. Agents use one of these systems to book airline, car, hotel and other travel arrangements for their customers. OTAs also use one or more GDS to power some or all of their content on their site. Partner hotels easily keep up-to-date GDS / ODD room inventory and rates, and any travel agent or online customer can retrieve real time rates and room inventory and book instantly via GDS and ODD networks. Alternatively, Pegasus ODD (Online Distribution Database) connects 100’s of Internet travel portals or OTA’s (online travel agents) such as Orbitz, TravelNow, Expedia, and Hotwire.

Online Travel Agencies (OTA)

Websites offering comprehensive travel shopping and Reservations Solutions to consumers. Examples include Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, and many local and regional sites.

Review Sites

A travel website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel-related content and engaging in interactive travel forums.

TripAdvisor was an early adopter of user-generated content. The website services are free to users, who provide most of the content, and the website is supported by an advertising business model. Other popular review sites are IgoUgo,

Rate Parity

The strategy that all distribution channels of a hotel should reflect the same rate for the same conditions for a particular room type. Rate parity strengthens customer loyalty and encourages guests to book directly with the hotel where terms/policies may be more flexible, given the same pricing as in other channels.

Smart Hotel Website

A collection of well-designed web pages that communicate the essence of the hotel –online. Used as the focal point for guest information and holding the Web Booking Engine (WBE), it is the core of a hotel’s online presence. Smart websites pull in visitors through search engine marketing (SEO) that book directly with the hotel, potentially reducing commissions to OTAs and GDS channels.

Web Booking Engine (WBE)

An application residing on a hotel’s website, which allows prospective guests to shop for rooms and complete reservations.

Domain Name

A domain name is simply a website address, e.g. www.mycompany.com is a domain name. This is also sometimes called a URL.

Web Analytics

The process of analyzing visitor activity on a website. Web analytics also includes the measurement of metrics to determine site effectiveness.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)SEOProcess

The process of increasing the amount of visitors to website or page by ranking high in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine users.

Balanced Distribution Strategy

Determining when and through what channels to sell rooms based upon the cost of acquisition of the individual channel. By driving business to lower cost acquisition channels during high demand periods, hotels can maximize their profitability.

Occupancy

“Fill” measure of a hotel calculated by dividing the total number of rooms occupied by the total number of rooms available times 100, e.g. 75% occupancy.

ROI

Return On Investment is the measurement of costs minus income for a particular investment item.

Guest

The people who pay your salary. Your customer, the reason you do what you do.

Today’s Travel Decision Cycle [TRAVEL INFOGRAPHIC]

Today, we look at how travelers increasingly use online media and mobile technology throughout the various stages of travel. The art of travel has changed and the Travel Decision Cycle has evolved. The former model that usually included a travel agent and resources like the OAG (Official Airline Guide) no longer fits. Today’s model includes much more depth and social interaction in the ‘Planning’ stage, more automaton of the transactional ‘Booking’ stage and once again, more depth and social interaction in the after-travel phase of ‘Sharing’.Travel Decision Cycle

Travel Decision Cycle 

The stages of the Travel Decision Cycle are:  Dreaming, Planning, Research, Travel Reviews, Booking, Experiencing and Sharing. The travel infographic below shows some of the online companies that support this market. Some companies, like Trip Advisor, Facebook and Pinterest have services that support more than one stage.

Top Online Travel Companies

As of this writing, these are the big players in travel: TrippyPinterestGogobot, Citybot, Tripline, TouristEye, Worldmate, Tripit, RelaxWisconsin (a product of SocialEnergizer.com), Momando, Virtual Tourist, Facebook, Fodor’s, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google Places, IgoUgo, Yahoo Local, Kayak, Hotwire, Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, CheapOAir, Hotels.com, Hipmunk, Booking.com, Orbitz, Hotel Website Booking Engines, FlipKey, AirBNB, HomeAway, VRBO, Foursquare, Tripwolf, and Flickr.

Watch for future articles on each of these providers and the roles they play in each part of the travel cycle. Do you know of some we’ve missed? Please add them in the comments and we’ll add and update the infographic.

DNS Changer Malware Alert

You may not know this, but while you were surfing the net you may have downloaded a piece of malware called DNS Changer. If so, then tomorrow you may not be able to log onto the Internet.

Here is an article from KVUE.com that explains why and how this happened quite well. Basically, there are some hackers that figured out a way to hijack those browsing the Internet. This malware changes the DNS settings in the infected computer. The FBI created some temporary servers to allow users time to safely remove the malware. As KVUE says, “time runs out on Monday, July 9. (There isn’t a planned attack this Monday that will shut down the Internet; those whose computers are already infected will lose the Band-Aid the FBI put on the problem more than a year ago.)”

How can you detect if your computer has been violated and infected with DNS Changer?

DCWG.org has an easy and effective way to see if your computer is infected with the DNS Changer virus. Simply go to the DCWG site and click on the link per the instructions.

An industry wide team has developed easy “are you infected” web sites.  They are a quick way to determine if you are infected with DNS Changer. Each site is designed for any normal computer user to browse to a link, follow the instructions, and see if they might be infected. Each site has instructions in their local languages on the next steps to clean up possible infections.

Keeping Your Website Real

Recently, Chris, from Design4Real.net, and I ventured down to Posada Yum Kin Hotel in Tulum, Mexico to work on their next web update. It has been a little over a year since images and content throughout the website have been updated, so once again, it is time to refresh everything.

Our trip went smoothly with a nice flight down, easy transfer over to our rental car and a fun, but relaxing 2-hour ride to Tulum, Mexico. Chris and I love working with Dan and Balvina, the owner’s of Posada Yum Kin. They are creative entrepreneurs that have stuck their heart and souls into this little piece of heaven and it is slowly, but surely paying off for them. Posada Yum Kin in the last year has consistently ranked at number 7 or above in Trip Advisor in the Tulum area.

The hotel, as always, was pristine and perfect. As a special treat, Dan, the owner, had placed us in their best suite, The Kinah (#7). It is a huge, oversized-suite with 1 king-size and 1 queen-size bed. It is the perfect room to be able to ‘live’ and work at the same time. Chris and I were happy to make it our ‘office’.The Kinah -Suite # 7

One of my favorite things to do while staying at PYK, is to visit with the guests. Besides great conversation, I always discover new insights from them. While chatting with recent visitors, Bob and Susan, from Whidbey Island in Washington State, Bob commented that our website images ‘fairly represented the hotel’. Well, of course, I thought “Shouldn’t they always?” What his comment pointed out to me though was that this should be a main focus, as it is a major concern for all travelers buying online. As Bob said “It’s disappointing to get to a hotel only to find that the images are either far out of date or perhaps appear a bit fake.”

As always, working onsite at any hotel is a fast-paced, multi-tasking challenge.  As Chris got comfortable with some initial shots of the property, I worked with Dan and the hotel staff on some issues like property management system implementation, training and work coordination.  As a small hotel, working efficiently takes a team coordinated effort to meet and track guest requests and keep things running smoothly. Our time went quickly.Jennifer and Manuel

With a small hotel like Posada Yum Kin, making every single peso count is key. One of our greatest challenges has been creating professional-quality images. How could we find models that fit our budget? Could social media help? I thought so and decided to test out the theory. I’ve been reading and writing on several of the local Riviera Mayan forums and found a very active online community. Starting with a simple post on a forum looking for people that would be happy to be included in our photoshoot for a very nominal fee, I was delighted to find travel blogger, Jennifer and, professional portrait photographer, Manual Salazar to sit as models –just for fun.

Jennifer and Manual, two ex-TV professionals, have a great story, which can be found on Jennifer’s blog “Bi-Coastal Living“. Describing themselves as a combination of expats and vacationers to the Riviera Maya area, they are a light-hearted, inspiring photographic and content-creating team that is bound to thrive in this entrepreneurial area. Their portrait portfolio quality far exceeds any that we have seen. Art Director, Chris Schudy from Design4Real.net said “Manuel and Jennifer’s work is some of the best I’ve seen. It beats some of the portfolio’s of the Fortune 100 companies that are out there right now.”

The day of the DIY photoshoot with Jennifer, Manuel and several guests was beautiful and went off without a hitch. Chris got some great shots that included ‘real-life’ pool shots with Jennifer, Posada Yum Kin’s massage therapist, Elvira and even the personal taxi driver, Artemio. Our goal of updated images was realized with Chris’ great new perspective.

The next day, we headed home and are working now to select the best images, ready them for online viewing and insert them in the site. It’ll be a week or so, but PYKTulum.com will have a facelift very soon. Watch for it!

Tips for Planning a Vacation via Trip Advisor

Travel sites like Trip Advisor, have become one of the most essential social networking and travel planning sites for travelers and for businesses in travel, leisure, and restaurant industries. Monitoring and participating to keep Trip Advisor reputations as favorable as possible may be the most vital online function any travel and leisure-based business can practice. Smart businesses tap into what their customers are telling them to improve their product and neutralize negative experiences. Stay Tuned! In a future blog, I’ll review how businesses can use Trip Advisor to make their business soar, but let’s start today with simply planning a trip.

For me, even the trip planning is one of the most fun parts of a vacation. Researching and learning of places you will visit builds anticipation and can stretch that vacation from a one-week stint to a months long, live-your-dreams extravaganza! Or for many, it can just be a pain–in-the-ass task that you want to finish as quickly as possible. Either way, sites like Trip Advisor can help. Their social networking aspect and traveler reviews are well known and have quickly become the ‘go to’ sites for direction on deciding among travel choices.

Started in 2000, TripAdvisor.com is now the most popular travel advisory website and is used by millions of travelers around the world. It has given consumers a voice, and potential guests an educated choice when making decisions on where to go, stay, eat and what to do once they arrive.  This method of travel planning is so much better than methods used in the past of choosing based only on online face value and promotional pushes from the destinations and properties. This new transparency has simply changed the way the travel and leisure industry works.

Looking closely at Trip Advisor, the potential vacationer can scan countless areas of the world or zoom in to very specific and often, virtually unknown spots. It has become a vital resource for those wanting to ‘travel off of the beaten path’.

The real power of TripAdvisor.com comes with the great tools available upon joining the site. Joining is free, although you’ll need to part with your personal info.

Don’t even know a destination that you want to visit? Start out with ‘Travel Inspiration’. Find it under the ‘More’ section of the main page menu, then the drop-down selection of ‘Trip Ideas’. Here you’ll find a smart search engine that allows you to narrow your search to what you like. Well, theoretically anyway. First, select the type of vacation that suits you and your traveling companions. Then pick a general destination you’d like to visit. I tested this to see if it would find a destination that I know very well, Tulum, Mexico. I entered ‘Beaches & Sun’, then ‘Mexico, Central & South America’. Guess what? It didn’t even bring Tulum up as a top five choice, which it should have. I found that very disappointing, as Tulum beaches were just rated by Trip Advisor last spring as one of The Top 5 Beaches of the World! That aside, most people will find this a valuable travel planning tool.

Getting Started

Still don’t know where you want to go? Check out the other headings under the ‘More’ section, particularly the forum and the guides. You can get broad information from the guides and then go to the forum for first hand knowledge and answers to specific questions.Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

After you’ve picked out a city or area to visit, you will see a new menu drop-down, second from the left, specifically about your destinatin choice. It is also located in the left-hand column in a slightly different format.

Hotels, Flights and Restaurants -Time to explore, shop and plan.

Hotels

With Trip Advisor’s search tools you will be able to locate hotels by time, date, amenities and other criteria based on traveler experience.

Read the guest reviews. This is the real ‘meat and potatoes’ of Trip Advisor. Select any hotel and read randomly through the reviews. My favorite method is to pick some top-rated and some of the lower-rated reviews. The key with reading the lower-rated reviews is to see if the factors that created poor reviews resonate with you and your travel needs. Is it someone that is complaining needlessly? Is it out of line with common expectiations? Is it someone exercising a grudge? As you read through lower-rated reviews, it usually becomes apparent if they are legitimate or not. The same can be said of the ‘glowing’ reviews. Do they really appear to be written by a guest? Or maybe the owner is behind the overly generous review? Things like that do happen, even though Trip Advisor tries to vet each review.

Flights

Search tools for flights can help you compare prices on different travel booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline. You don’t book on Trip Advisor you will link to these other sites for the actual booking. My favorite feature in Trip Advisor for flights is the Trip Alert feature that you can set up that sends you an email when fares dip between airports you specify.

Restaurants

The reviews for restaurants are a foodie’s dream. Watch what local establishment is trending in an area. Choose among the countless ethnic choices, by location or by rating. If that’s not enough you can also pick by price, options and based on their strength of obscure things like ‘good place to do business’ or ‘outdoor seating’. The google map let’s you see exactly where the restaurant is and pops up details as you hover over the map icon.

Trip Advisor badges

Earn a Badge

Similar to becoming a ‘mayor’ on Foursquare, Trip Advisor contributors earn badges for their reviews. Your badge level is determined based on the number of reviews you have, plus the rating your review receives by readers. Looking for badges is also a way of determinng the amateur travel advisors’ experience.

As you can see, Trip Advisor is a must have for travelers. Check out their mobile apps and ‘save a trip’ so that you can access this information, as you need it, while traveling. After all, finding your way around smoothly helps you live that dream well.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

A Tour- The Backend of the Internet

SwitchboardPlaced in non-descript buildings, evolved from early communication companies- these are the physical things that make up the Internet. Here is a fascinating look at the backend of the Internet.
 

This video by Ben Mendelsohn, a documentary filmaker, starts out in New York and expands across the globe to take you on a tour that shows you what makes up the Internet.
 

After watching this video mystic words like “cyber-space” will lose some of their mystique and concepts that seemed awesome, will now be almost ordinary. Enjoy!
 
Infrastructure

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

StringHub –Where Educators, Students and Startups Meet

Article first published as StringHub –Where Educators, Students and Startups Meet on Technorati.

As a guest writer, Technorati published my first article last week, which is shown below. I found it a great compliment to be asked to write for Tehnorati. After all, Technorati, the very first search engine for blogs, is considered the gold standard, with an index of more than one million blogs. Let me know what you think…

I always get excited about finding cool new ways to help small and medium-sized businesses solve one of their greatest challenges – lack of resources. Introducing… StringHub.StringHub graphic

StringHub is attempting to tackle this resource challenge by linking instructors and professors with businesses via student projects. In fact, this equation promises to help everyone including our sagging economy. Businesses will receive valuable help they need from inspiring artists and professionals and students will receive the opportunity to take part in ‘real-life’ business situations.

I recently met Adam Hoeksema, co-founder of StringHub, online and found his passion and insights to be inspiring. Adam’s innovative thinking promises to drive educational institutions everywhere to adapting Internet technologies to create a more meaningful, far-reaching impact, while introducing their students to the art of entrepreneurship. The concept was Adam’s brainchild, but taking it online required a team effort. Adam is the business, marketing and finance guy in this partnership. The Internet technology, namely their website StringHub.com, was created by his brother and co-founder, Brandon, who is actually still in high school. A self-taught programmer, Brandon has done a remarkable job with the website. It’s a simple, clean interface that allows educators to submit class projects to be matched with businesses in need.

I asked Adam about the background and details surrounding StringHub.com and here’s what he had to say:

Adam, how and why did the idea of StringHub.com occur to you?
“I graduated from Taylor University in May of 2010 with a degree in accounting. In June, I started as Client Services Manager at the Flagship Enterprise Center, a business incubator in Anderson, Indiana. As I worked with our clients at the Flagship Enterprise Center, I realized that startup companies need a lot of help. They need help with graphic and web design, social media, video production, public relations, web application development, and the list could go on. There are college students working on class projects in all of these areas, but typically the projects have no real world application. The projects simply go to waste; they are just for practice. We thought if we could unlock the real world value of student class projects we could create a win-win situation for both businesses and students.”

What is StringHub’s mission?
“I want StringHub to fundamentally change the way that college and university class projects work. I believe that the best way for students to learn something is to try and fail in the real world. You can’t do that through case studies, or projects for imaginary businesses. So first and foremost we want to help improve the educational experience for students. At the same time, we want to help small businesses flourish, add jobs, and create wealth. Those are lofty goals, but we believe it is possible.”

What type of projects would StringHub.com participate in?
“Currently there are millions of student class projects in areas like:
▪ Marketing
▪ Public Relations
▪ Business Management
▪ Graphic Design
▪ Web Development
▪ Social Media
▪ Finance
And many more subjects

Typically these projects just go to waste. They are ‘practice.’ http://stringhub.com is attempting to create a platform that unlocks the real world value of these student class projects in order to help support entrepreneurs.

Many of these class projects could be free to the entrepreneur. We believe that a focused approach can really accelerate a startup. Imagine an army of students all supporting an innovative, world changing startup company.”

What do students gain from this?
By connecting student projects with real world applications students are gaining:
▪ Real world experience
▪ A professional portfolio of completed work
▪ Relationships with a network of potential employers

For example, Adam refers to an integrated marketing plan created for HeatMax, Inc. at the University of Arizona. Four University of Arizona students helped to create a new product line called Toastie Toes that helps women keep their feet warm in cold weather. Their professor, Hope Jensen Schau matches student teams with companies to work on projects like packaging, distribution, advertising and public relations. The four students in question have earned local fame and have also been contracted to continue their work with HeatMax, Inc.

Overall, the University of Arizona example is the same model that StringHub.com will employ. It is a web-based platform that allows tech schools, colleges and universities to unlock the real world value of student class projects, by connecting student projects with opportunities, and managing the entire project through an online workroom.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Be Smart with Smartphones

So much of being safe in life is about just being smart and using common sense. While traveling would you leave your purse sitting openly in the front seat of a locked car? Would you venture out in an area that you don’t know after midnight?

These same rules apply with new technologies like smartphones. Several of the major networks have been running stories on privacy issues resulting from new GPS ‘smart’ technology known as ‘geotagging’. Geotagging is the type of technology that smartphones use to track people’s locations. It is the technology that sites like Foursquare use as people ‘check-in’ to restaurants and businesses. Taking advantage of this technology also requires a new level of learning for people about their devices. Be responsible, take the time to learn what your technology is actually doing and what it all requires to be safe.

Here’s a short video from NBC Action News on the downside of uploading pictures.

Don’t Panic!

Although it makes for a good story on network news, there really is no reason to panic. I attempted to find the GPS coordinates on several of my pictures. I found that it is not so easy. Now, I know that preditors and nutcases will sometimes go to any means, but I’m not convinced that even though, it’s possible, that there is a very high likelihood.

Use Safe Sites

That said, Facebook and Twitter have started stripping the metadata automatically from uploaded pictures, so there is some level of safety there. Be sure your privacy settings are set correctly.

Turn Off the Setting!

The easiest way to stop posting your location is to set your phone so your camera doesn’t log your location. It’s usually done by going to Settings> General > Location Services. Phones vary so if you can’t find it check out your user guide or check with your smartphone store. Some phones allow you to turn off just the geotagging on your photos and some may require you to turn off you geotagging altogether.

For more information about setting your phone correctly, check out I Can Stalk You’s information on protecting your information.

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!