One of the simplest ways to gain organic search traffic and guests is claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing. Let’s see how to do this.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It is critical to help guests find your hotel, and to tell them your story.
Why should hotels care about Google My Business?
There are many reasons why you should spend time optimising your Google My Business listing. Here are a few:
· Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referrer. A Google My Business account ensures that when someone looks your company up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your hotel, whether you have a web or physical address.
· A Google My Business listing is important for you to optimise for local SEO, ensuring your business (including website) shows up in search results when users search for hotels like yours in your location.
· Your Google My Business provides guests with important information about your business, including services, contact details, operation times, rates etc. Keeping this information updated is critical, especially as COVID-19 is causing hotels to frequently update their operation status.
· Did you know customers are 70% more likely to visit a business with a Google My Business listing? It is a great way to establish trust and authority with guests.
How to claim your hotel’s Google My Business listing?
Go to Google.com/business and sign in using your business email domain (it must be a gmail one). From there follow the prompts to either add your business or claim if a listing already exists. This Google guide is handy to help with set-up and verification questions.
How to optimise your hotel’s Google My Business listing?
1. Update your business information in the knowledge panel:
How often have you searched for something on Google and found critical contact information missing from listings? Make sure you fill out all contact details. If you have multiple properties, this needs to be done for every property separately to benefit from local SEO.
2. Add all hotel attributes and amenities accurately:
Your hotel’s amenities will appear in search and map results. Hotel attributes can be updated in the Business Profile section of your Google My Business. These are important to help consumers compare your property against others and make booking decisions. Attributes include internet, food & drink, policies & payments, activities, services, pools, parking & transportation, children, wellness, accessibility, pets and business & events.
3. Add hotel highlights:
Hotel highlights give potential customers a quick glance at some of your hotel’s amenities. Hotel highlights take the form of bright and colourful icons that appear next to your amenities in the Place sheet. Highlights can include information such as “Pet Friendly,” “Free Wi-Fi,” and “Free Parking.” However, these are not guaranteed for every hotel.
4. Ensure your class rating and booking links are correct:
If your class rating is not right, you can contact Google to update it.
5. Add businesses inside your hotel separately:
Your property’s spa, restaurants lounges or stores can be added separately in your business profile if a guest can visit it independent of your hotel.
6. Add your COVID-19 response:
If your hotel operates differently than normal due to the COVID-19 situation, update your Business Profile on Google to provide the most accurate information to your customers. You can change your hours of operation and adjust attributes to reflect your services, such as if your business offers special deals to COVID-19 responders. The updates will show on your Business Profile on Google search and maps.
7. Add high-quality photos and videos:
It goes without saying, but presenting your hotel with high-quality images and video is an eye-catching advantage. Photos and videos sit at the top of your listing and they should provide guests with an inside look at your property.
8. Build your own FAQs page:
You can upvote questions and answers on your local search listing. If someone asks a question you believe to be particularly important you can upvote it. Doing so may increase the visibility of the question. With that in mind, you can also create your own questions, answer the questions yourself, and upvote the question and the answer.
9. Encourage guests to leave reviews:
Reviews carry a lot of weight on SERPs—your local listing’s visibility can increase in local pack results and Google Maps rankings because of them. Besides online reviews play a critical role in helping consumers decide if they should book at your hotel.
10. Always be active:
Staying active on your listing, whether it be answering questions, responding to reviews, or adding new images every so often, sends signals to Google that your profile is active and updated, which can have a positive impact on your local rankings.
11. Use your STAAH platform to update rates on your Google My Business listing:
It is the most accurate and dynamic way to showcase your rates and inventory to prospective guests.
Wrap it up…
Making the most of Google My Business is a must for any business on social media, but it’s especially important for hotels, motels and vacation rentals. For more tips on how to optimise your property for SEO, check out our beginners guide to search