Google’s latest free booking links for hotels along with a suite of other tools is fantastic to get more direct bookings. Is your property set up with these tools?
Google offers a variety of different services that can help hotel marketers expand their reach, increase online visibility, and ultimately improve their business – and better yet, they’re easy to implement. Many of them won’t even cost you a cent.
Let’s take a look at some Google tools and features you must deploy to get the most for your hotel.
1) Create & claim Google My Business listing
Start with the essential – Google My Business listing. A free-to-use platform, it combines Google Search and Google Maps.
From a verified Google My Business account, hotel owners can review traffic metrics, gather customer insights, view and respond to Google Reviews, and ensure users get the most up-to-date information about your hotel. Optimising your Google My Business is critical to help you achieve success in the local SEO and international search. Here are some things to keep in mind to optimise your Google My Business listing:
Check for duplicates. One hotel = one listing, no more.
Complete all details pertaining to name, address, opening hours etc.
Ensure you fill out details on your GMB business profile such as category and amenities under Hotel Attributes
Good quality photos and catchy descriptions are good for conversions
Make COVID-19 related updates, communicating temporary closures, changes to amenities or inform about increased hygiene standards
Use your listing to get and respond to Google Reviews
2) Make the most of Google’s Free Hotel Links
In what’s been described as a game-changer, Google is giving away some “free’ booking links (Google free tools)
Google Booking Links is a free listing in Google Hotel Search that displays a link to your website’s booking engine with an “Official Site” badge. It shows your property’s bookable rates and helps lead to direct reservations. It appears underneath any ‘Google Hotel Ads’ being run and is listed under “All options.”
To qualify for this free listing, you must have a Google My Business listing and use a booking engine from one of Google’s approved partners. STAAH is a Google partner and its Get Google feature is available with STAAH booking engines. The Get Google feature, once enabled, allows property owners and managers to sync their rates and availability feed to Google.
3) Enable Google Ads
Google Ads are ‘keyword ads’ – a paid product that you can use to promote your brand, help sell products or services, raise awareness, and increase traffic to your website. The results are displayed as an ‘ad box’ at the top of Google’s search results page, as opposed to within the hotel search.
While this is a paid product, remember the bookings from it come commission-free. Definitely a must-add to your content marketing mix.
4) Use Google Street View
High-quality photos on your business listing can improve your prospective guest’s experience and make it easier for them to find you. 360 tours let customers peek inside before they arrive and boost your visibility online.
Google Street View enables this and is ideal to inspire confidence amongst potential guests. You could hire a professional photographer to create these for you – recommended by Google and worth the investment.
Need tips for Google Maps? Read here
Google has moved away from being just a traffic generator to a powerful booking source – a “one-stop-shop” for all things travel. If you want to increase the online footprint of your property and grow more direct business, pay special attention to Google, making the most of its paid and free features.
If you’re looking for a consultation on how to use Google’s Free Booking Links feature, contact our team today