Hoteliers need to implement a strategy through which they can engage and interact with their customers. Hence an effective marketing tool is required to carry forward the task of marketing your business and reaching out to potential customers through updating your information on Google. It is here that your customers will be searching based on preferences. Hence the chances of securing reservations and engaging with potential and existing customers through Google Reviews increase by having a listing on Google My Business (GMB). In short, Google My Business for hotels matters a great deal.
Today, we see how hotels, restaurants and bars use Google My Business to dominate local search. Through GMB, hotels or other businesses can easily gain visibility on Google, update their profiles with detailed information in terms of photos, descriptions, reviews, etc. Again, they can appear on Google Maps, enabling customers to make reservations and get the necessary location details and contact information. Thus, Google My Business for online business is the perfect solution.
Benefits of Using GMB For Hotels | Why Your Hotel Must Have a Google My Business Listing
First of all, Google My Business is designed to help properties manage their business information on a vast and highly-used platform which makes reaching out easier for the customers. They can use this marketing tool extensively to interact with their potential guests.
It is said that approximately 53 percent of consumers visit a business within 48 hours of performing a local search on Google…
……..which means almost half the population searching some business online can be converted into customers. Hence getting your location on Google Maps makes reaching out easier, allowing the customers to get the directions to your property and get in touch with you through call or email.
An article entitled, “2019 Google My Business Study Reveals Insights for Hotels” explains how Google My Business for hotels “has been revolutionary for the hospitality industry.”
Let us discuss a few more of its benefits:
• Free listing: GMB is a free listing and a crucial step in getting a higher ranking in search results for hotels. Thus, you can reap the maximum benefits of your Google My Business for free.
• Provides information: It is beneficial in providing all the necessary information regarding your business to travel shoppers.
• Provides coverage and SEO benefits: In addition to giving you great coverage, your Google My Business listing comes endowed with a lot of powerful features and services that can make a big impact on your hotel business, SEO-wise. GMB will also allow you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your hotel business. Thus Google My Business for local SEO is what the sunlight is for plants.
• Ability to modify your profile information: One of its biggest advantages is the ability to modify and update information that Google has about your hotel. Hence with a GMB listing, you can always stay up-to-date.
• Provides extensive analytics on customer interaction with your hotel: Having Google Insights help obtain a report on what kind of travelers are looking for you and how they are navigating or can find you. Again, it is crucial in knowing what user experience your visitors are having.
You can also monitor this data over a specified period to detect possible trends about booked and unbooked travelers. Again, Google My Business for hotels allows you to compare your hotel rates along with the rates of other hotels in the same location.
• Provides more accessibility to your hotel website: As Google My Business provides the option for entering the hotel website URL, this can help redirect most of your visitors to your website, thereby encouraging them to book directly with you instead of booking through the commissioned OTAs.
• User-Friendly: Your Google My Business app on mobile devices provides a user-friendly experience and interface. However, in terms of features, there might be a difference as GMB has certain features that are available only on mobile like being able to see your followers. In any case, it’s a highly responsive application and provides a seamless experience.
So, manage your online presence seamlessly, across Search and Maps with this free, easy-to-use tool!
In Short, What Can the Hoteliers Do With A GMB Listing?
Well, these are the things that the hoteliers can do with ease with a GMB listing:
• On the Search Engine Page, they can list their hotel’s name, address, location, and phone number.
• Have a geo-marker on Google Maps to flash their location.
• Put on display the guest reviews for their property.
• Display their property photos and videos.
• Provide additional information which might be just useful for the travelers.
• Include a button that can redirect a visitor to the hotel website.
• Display a “click-to-call” option for searches performed on smartphones.
Now, that you are already aware of the power of Google My Business for hotels and how beneficial it could be in leveraging your hospitality business, let us look at the step-by-step guide on how to use it effectively:
Guide For Hotels- Google My Business Help
Setting Up Your Google My Business
1. Google My Business login
Head to https://business.google.com/ to sign in or log in to your Google account for business.
2. Enter the Business Name
After logging into the account, you will be asked, “What’s the name of your business?” You can search for a listing by typing the name of your business and address in the search box. If the other businesses in your region have the same name as you, it will be suggested by the autocomplete function. This is to avoid accidental duplication and confusion. Results will appear both on the list as well as on the Maps.
Claim Your Business On Google
To claim your hotel’s Google My Business page:
• Go to the “Manage Locations” Page and click on “Add Location.”
• Google will ask the business name.
• Click on the name of your business.
• If it does not match any results, click on “Create a business with this name.”
• Choose the business type: restaurant, fast-food chain, 2-star, 3-star, etc. (in case of hotels), service area (taxi service, delivery, etc) and like.
3. Enter the Address
Next, you will be asked to enter the business location only if your business engages in face-to-face interaction with the customers.
For Service Area Businesses not having an office, choosing the ‘no’ option will enable you to select your service area before moving on to selecting the brand’s category. If you don’t have any premises where your customers can visit you, leave the address field blank, tick the box and then tick the ‘Hide my address (it’s not a store)’ box that appears below.
Again for SABs, specific areas that you serve will have to be specified before you jump into selecting a specific category. This will enable Google to accurately identify and produce your business for searches in those areas, even if a proper address is not entered.
4. Choose Your Business Category
Now is the time to assign a category to your business. Remember this is a crucial field and will influence the kind of search terms that you appear on Google with. Again, it also influences the search terms within your profile itself. Hence choose the category that best fits or defines your business. For instance, if you are a Taco Bell Business, one of the categories would be “Mexican Restaurant.”
While you can always adjust this section later by either drilling it down into something more specific or by going as broad as possible, we suggest having a look at the competitors’ lists before coming up with an accurate category.
• If you manage a franchise or brand, let’s say McDonald’s or Taco Bell, Google recommends keeping the category consistent across all locations. For instance, every Taco Bell would be categorized as a “Mexican Restaurant.” You always have the option of going back and editing your GMB categories for each location by clicking on the “Info” for that location which you will be able to find on the left. Once you can see the details for that listing, click the pencil icon to edit, delete or add categories.
• Again, some features are category-specific. For instance, in the case of hotels, GMB shows class ratings and a list of hotel amenities that a property offers. Visitors can also filter amenities based on preferences as Google My Business lets hotels customize their amenities. So whether travelers google business hotels, family accommodations, or resorts, hoteliers can easily showcase what they offer.
These are a few sophisticated updates and it’s important to keep a track of these changes as and when they appear.
5. Add Contact Number And Website
This might not be compulsory but if you’re running a hotel business, this is something that you should make use of to make reaching out easier for your guests. You can provide your contact information and website URL on Google My Business for hotels.
Verifying Your GMB Account
6. Verify Your Business
Well, the last step here is to verify your GMB listing. Google will need to prove that your business is where you have said it is. There are options when it comes to choosing the mode of verification- postcard, phone, and email.
Verification through postcard: This is the most commonly used Google My Business verification process with the online giant going old-school here. This is available to all the businesses wherein a postcard verification will be sent to the address entered by you. This usually takes about five days. Once the code has been received by you, you can enter it into your GMB account to verify your business.
Verification through phone: Only some businesses are allowed this option. To check whether you are eligible for this verification, you will see the ‘Verify by phone’ option at the start of the verification process. Choosing this option will deliver the code to you through an automated message which can be then entered into your GMB account.
Verification through email: Like phones, this mode is only available to some businesses. If you qualify for one, you will see the ‘Verify by email’ option. With this, a code will be sent on your Google My Business email address, that is the account associated with your listing.
[Note: There are other options too like instant verification which is only available if you have already verified your business’s website with Google Search console and bulk verification for businesses with ten or more locations. You can read more about it here!]
In case of queries or further assistance, you can always seek help at Google My Business Support
What’s Next? The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business For 2020
Optimizing Your Hotel’s Google My Business Page
A fictitious resemblance of how your hotel’s GMB Listing would appear on Google
Once you have verified your account on Google My Business, now is the time to stand out by optimizing your listing. By optimizing, we mean decking up your Google My Business page with enough information in the form of photos, videos, compelling descriptions, FAQs, managing reviews, etc.
But how to go about that?
Well, here is a complete guide to your hotel’s Google My Business profile:
• Adding Description
To manage your hotel’s details with Google My Business listing, you first need a solid description. A description is a summary of up to 750 characters about your business which is visible to a user searching for your hotel to get more information. This is usually displayed underneath or alongside the reviews and ratings on your property and your business’s review snippets.
Step 1: Click on the ‘Add description’ option on your Homepage.
Step 2: You can also click on your Info tab on the right and look for the section where the description will be added.
Quick Tip: Portray your business as accurately and genuinely as possible. Avoid misspellings, incorrect grammar, and do not include URLs or HTML codes.
• Adding Photos and Videos
Once the description has been added or updated, start decking up your listing with some pictures and videos of your property on GMB.
• All you have to do is to go to the menu and select ‘Photos.’ Image size should be between 10 KB and 5 MB in a JPG or PNG file format having 720×720 pixels. Make sure that the images are well-focused and clear.
• In addition to the general compendium of photos, you can also select images that can go as the cover image and profile picture.
• For videos, the recommended file size is less than 100 MB with a minimum resolution of 720p. Again, it should not exceed the 30 seconds time limit. For uploading videos, you can stay in the ‘Photos’ section, and then on top of your photos display you have an option called ‘Video’ for easy upload.
• Removing Photos and Videos
There might be times when certain photos and videos would turn out to be offensive or simply not meet the Format Specific Criteria as even customers can put images on Google. In this case, that content could be flagged for Google to review it and then possibly delete it if it does not meet the guidelines.
Step 1: Click on the flag icon (indicated by a red circle in the image below) on the top right corner of the page after selecting the offending image(s).
• How to Add A Menu Button To Your Google My Business Page
Firstly, claim or create (scroll up) a Google My Business page.
Step 1: Log into your account and click the Info tab on the left-hand side of your screen.
Step 2: Click Menu (the icon with the fork and spoon, not the Menu URL option).
• Adding or Changing Your Hours of Operation
Customers must know when your business location would be open. Managing such small Google My Business hotel details is also essential. Usually, for hotels, it is 24 hours. But in case of adding or changing it, you can do the following:
Step 1: Click the ‘Info’ tab on the menu of your GMB account.
Step 2: Once the Info page opens, look for the option to add or change your business hours. Proceed to click the pencil icon.
Step 3: A pop-up menu will appear, more like a table allowing you to do the needful.
Step 4: Once the changes have been made, select “Apply.”
[Note: Edits might take up to 3 days to be published for reviewing the quality]
Generating Leads Using GMB
You can get the most out of your GMB account in terms of lead generation by following these tips. Hence you can get started with Google My Business for Hotels to know the direction in which your hospitality business is heading:
• Connect your GMB with your Google Analytics account.
• In the case of multiple locations, it is important to lead the users to the link that sends them to that specific location’s website and not to your brand’s homepage.
• To track the traffic coming to your page through the GMB listing, add a UTM parameter.
• Add strategic call-to-action buttons.
• Include your contact number for customers to reach out to you.
Yes, Google My Business also allows you to interact with customers through chats and messages. This helps customers gain more insights regarding your business. However, this is a pretty new feature and is available only in selected countries as of now.
Steps to turn on messaging via SMS:
Step 1: Look for the “Messaging” card on the Home menu.
Step 2: Provide a phone number where you can easily receive the message and respond readily to the customers’ queries.
Step 3: After setting this up, check your Google business listing to confirm whether you can see the ‘message’ icon.
[Note: Standard message and data rates may apply while using this feature.]
Questions & Answers
Using ‘Google My Business’ for hotels also provides a platform for the customers to reach out in case of assistance or queries. As the listing manager, your reply can enhance the reliability factor when it comes to trusting your brand or service. Again, a constant checking on the new questions in your listing will have to be made as you do not get any notification when a new query has been posted
To make the check, here are the steps:
Step 1: In the Info card, click ‘See all questions’ under “Questions & answers.”
Step 2: Click Answer which is next to the question.
Step 3: To edit or delete an answer, click ‘More’ and then ‘Edit or Delete.’
Editing Your GMB Listing
Sometimes, you will feel the need to edit, update, or remove some of the information from your listing. Guess what? You can manage your business profile directly from Google. Up-to-date listing is essential for marketing and SEO purposes. To fix this issue, you can do the following:
How do I change my hotel information on Google│Steps:
Step 1: Click on the pencil icon in the Info section for each listing.
Yes, it’s that simple!
Viewing Google My Business Insights
This is a great way of knowing how your customers locate you. Though most of the customers are coming through Search and Maps, it’s effective in gaining some insights on overall customer experience and behavior in terms of finding you online and what do they do once they have successfully found you.
Now, there are two ways of getting these insights, either individually or in bulk.
Steps to access insights for Individual Listings:
Step 1: Sign in to your Google My Business (for hotels) account.
Step 2: Open the listing you’d like to manage, in case you have multiple listings.
Step 3: Select ‘Insights’ from the menu.
On the Insights page, you will see how customers search for your business, what keywords they use to find you, where do they view your business (Search or Maps), the geographical areas or regions they are coming from, the number of times they view your photos, etc.
Managing Google My Business Reviews
Influencing your local search engine, Google reviews help showcase your business in the best possible light. As 64 percent of consumers are likely to check reviews on Google first, its impact on your business should be considered seriously.
Again, it’s easier for users to leave reviews on Google as a user is highly likely to have a Google account. Again, through Google Maps they can easily leave you a review after their experience at your property.
Thus it is important to keep a track of the reviews you receive on Google and even more important, to respond to them.
Steps to Check your Google Reviews:
Step 1: To see your Google Reviews, click the ‘Reviews’ on your GMB Homepage.
Step 2: This will take you to Google Reviews Dashboard where you can filter reviews by “replied” or “haven’t replied.”
Remember, Google reviews and ratings left by users can be found in multiple places on the Web like Google search results, Google carousel search results, and Google Maps.
How To Respond To The Reviews On Google
As we said, responding is equally important. Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide. It also allows users to leave a review without a comment (with ratings only). Hotels can respond to both types of reviews.
Responding to Google reviews, positive or negative, helps to enhance customer trust. It also instills in them the confidence that someone is there to listen and respond to their queries. Hence it is advisable to keep a timely check on these reviews so that you do not miss out on responding to them. For this, it is advisable to set review alerts.
GMB Review Alerts
Upon receiving new reviews, Google My Business notifies a user via an email. Not only this, but your review email includes useful preview information like star rating, reviewer’s name, a portion of the review text, and a link redirecting to that review on Google.
However, be careful if you are a brand with over 100 locations as you might need a third-party app to stay on top of your review alert game as GMB does not usually send review alerts in this case.
Retrieving the Disappeared Reviews
GMB also has a solution for you in case your reviews have disappeared. To restore them, you will have to refresh your Google My Business for hotel’s profile.
Step 1: Click ‘Info’ after opening the ‘Menu’ tab in your GMB account.
Step 2: Look for the field allowing you to update your address or location on Maps. Click on it, having a map marker as an icon.
Step 3: You will receive a pop-up for making modifications to your address. So follow this basic tip: wiggle the map marker a bit and save.
Step 4: This will refresh your Google profile and things will be back to normal within a few minutes, including the previously disappeared reviews.
If the problem persists, try clearing your cache to resolve this issue.
How Google Calculates the Overall Business Rating?
Well, Google’s algorithm does not calculate the overall rating by adding all the stars received on your reviews and then dividing the sum by the number of reviews you have received. In other words, even if you have 5-star ratings on all your reviews, your overall rating could still be a 4.6 or 4.7. The overall rating also takes into account the ratings that appear on the search results page, map results, and the actual GMB listing, which might be less than 5 stars.
Strategies to Get More Google Reviews
There’s no use getting disheartened upon receiving an overall low rating. Of course, there’s a way out of it and the best way to do so is to devise certain strategies by which you can start getting more positive reviews. Even if your property is doing well on Google My Business by getting more reviews, it must be kept in mind that 85% percent of the customers do not rely on reviews that are three months old while 40% are only interested in looking at the reviews from the past two weeks.
These are the things that will help you increase your review count and work towards getting more:
• Provide a great guest experience at every touchpoint (booking, pre-arrival, on-arrival, mid-stay, and check-out)
• Make good use of your communication tools like WebChat and Guest Messaging to solve customers’ queries instantly. For hotel guests, Guest Messaging can even help correct mid-stay service failures and in possible service recovery.
• Compile a personalized note and welcome pack for guests.
• Asking helps! Whether through your staff (in person) or messaging tools, asking feedback is a great way of drawing guests’ attention. But be careful not to overdo it.
• Make it easy for the guests to leave you a review by providing a Google Review card or review links through emails or texts.
How to Delete Google Reviews
It is equally important to stay away from negative reviews. Everything that a customer writes about a hotel or any other service, to that matter of fact, may not be accurate. It must be kept in mind that a review is more of a subjective opinion after (or not) a first-hand experience which may or may not be the same for everyone. In a nutshell, all reviews are not reliable. Again, a deliberately crafted negative review bringing ill reputation to a business counts as fraudulent behavior. Hence every owner would be concerned about keeping away from such reviews which might have a stronghold over negatively influencing the customers’ decisions.
It must be remembered that Google reviews are public reviews which can appear on both Google maps and a business’ Google listing. Hence one cannot write a review on Google anonymously. But as a user, you have the authority to edit or delete that review if you change your mind later on.
But for a business, this is a bit tricky, especially in the cases, where it has received outright negative reviews since it does not have the authority to avail the simple “delete” button and get the bad review out of the way. The process is a bit topsy-turvy and takes a lot of effort.
Based on the scenario, there are a few effective steps that you can take for Google review removal:
• Resolve the issue by winning over the customer
• Flag Reviews as “Inappropriate”
• Seek Google support
• Seek Legal Advice
Deleting Fake Google Reviews
One legitimate scenario that the business owners face nowadays is that of fake reviews. Sometimes, the fake reviews are drafted specifically to defame a business or to simply bring an ill reputation to it to stunt its growth. Again, it could be from a rival business or spammer. While it is not that easy to identify the authenticity of these reviews, you can still try your best with Google’s spam detection measures and do your part simultaneously when you have ascertained for sure that the review is authentically fake.
Here is what you can do:
• Respond to the fake review and then flag it
• Request Google Support
• Seek Legal Advice
• Manage your reviews effectively
To learn more, check out the article on ‘How to Remove Fake Reviews From Google’
Adding Your Business On Google Maps
If your business isn’t appearing in Google Maps, you can add and claim your listing first. After verifying your listing, you can add more information like address, contact information, map location, etc. If the question that how people can “google my place and find me” bothers you, it is important to keep a check on where you are in Maps
This is what our clients and other businesses generally ask us:
Q. Is Google My Business free?
A. Yes, it is for free. With GMB, you can get more than a business listing and connect with your customers seamlessly.
Q. Do I have to pay for Google My Business?
A: Google does not charge for business listings. You can have multiple listings under one account at no cost.
Rank Higher On Google With GMB
Not just big hotels but Google My Business for small businesses is equally powerful. In other words, it is a highly valuable tool that can be utilized efficiently to get the most from it. The best way to come up in search results and rank higher on Google is by keeping your GMB profile up-to-date in every aspect. 73% of all direct bookings can be traced back to Google profiles. Allow an avenue for your guests to reach out to you and know your business better. You can also resort to a more efficient way of marketing by using Google Hotel Ads. Thus, GMB profiles boasting of strong reviews and ratings are the ones gaining visibility. So make sure to keep working hard to stay ahead in this game.
GuestTouch influences your customers’ booking decisions with cutting-edge reputation management. With us, collect feedback, get more reviews, improve online scores, analyze customer sentiments to make better business decisions. Furthermore, connect and engage with guests at important touchpoints of their journey and drive results that impact revenue.
Have questions? Feel free to get in touch!