Digital footprint

Your travel photos matter

If you're traveling or simply trying a new place in your city, the best tip you can give to a small business owner is sharing your photos publicly on Trip Advisor/Google Maps (or even Instagram, Foursquare or whatever service works in the area/type of business you're in).

I'm in Sri Lanka right now and we are staying in a nice new hotel in a secluded area in the South. In the next 2 years, I'm sure the number of hotels and bed and breakfasts will 2-3x. The place we are staying in just opened 2 weeks ago and we are the first customers. The owner and his team are great and they've been extremely helpful. We pay a fair price for our rooms and we will tip them as well. But we are also planning on sharing a lot of our travel photos publicly on Trip Advisor and Google Maps. It will take about an hour of our time and it will help them secure new business for several months – and maybe give them a headstart before the big hotels come in.

This is an example of a few years ago. I was in Hawaii and rented a surfboard at a local surf school. They took great pictures and I decided to upload them to Google Maps. One of the photos gathered over 65k views in the last few years. Recency matters and the photo is not gathering more views now – but it did its job. New travel photos are now showed to people who search for the place on Google.

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This is what we call building a digital footprint. It's an overused word in marketing. But a digital footprint is essential for hotels and restaurants to survive. A good digital footprint works like compounded interests. A few reviews and photos attract like-minded travelers who will be inspired to share their experience and in return, help more travelers discover the place. And like interests, it works best when you keep adding money (photos/reviews) to the pot.

Your travel photos matter. If you want to help great local businesses you fall in love with when traveling, think about taking an hour to upload them publicly online.