A hotel's Google Business Profile provides hoteliers with all the tools to interact with returning and potential guests directly from Google channels like Search, Maps, and Google Travel.
A verified Business Profile for hotels displays more than essential information like website, phone number, and address. In addition, hotel profiles show searchers and potential guests' information about room availability and price comparisons between the hotel's direct booking rates and OTAs, among other valuable features.
Hotelier Benefits with a Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile is an essential marketing tool no hotelier should ever ignore. It is free to set up, and it does not take a lot of effort to maintain and update. And here are your benefits:
- Location SEO: Google Business Profile is the former Google My Business and previously Google+ Local. With the Google Business Profile for hotels, you will show your guests essential information, including your phone number, location, and website.
- Free booking links: these do not cost you a penny, but you must optimize your inventory and get a connectivity partner like a property management system (PMS), channel manager, CRS, booking engine, or marketing agency.
- Manage guest reviews: like TripAdvisor, but more important for your online reputation because they appear in Google search results and Maps. Notice Google's terms and specifically the prohibited content for reviews.
- Post rooms and facilities images: you can show your property in the best light and use your imagination to publish pictures that captivate the users and make them click.
- Drive direct bookings with ads: you can use your Google Business Profile (GBP) for Search Ads, Free Booking Links, and Hotel Ads. You can create Search Ads straight from your GBP, but you will need a Hotel Center account for Free Booking Links and Hotel Ads.
- Use Google posts to keep your guests informed about exclusive offers, updates, recent blog posts, company news, etc. Google suggests "COVID-19 protocols, updates to amenities or renovations" as examples of helpful posts. Whatever you choose to do, there is always one golden rule you must observe: do not spam.
All this information will appear in the "Knowledge Panel" in search, on Maps, and Travel.
Hotel Attributes is a special section in the Google Business Profile for hotels. Here, you can display everything that makes the hotel desirable to book: amenities, facilities, activities, services, and more. Of course, you do not want to ignore this process because Google likes details. For example, "eco-certified" hotels outrank the others on Maps and Travel. Sustainability is another aspect that persuades travellers, and Google will favour.
The attributes section has several categories that include COVID-19 responder policy, Internet, activities, services, food and beverages, entertainment, pools, parking, wellness, accessibility, pets, events, and more. Fill in the information accurately. For example, sometimes users look for a "pet-friendly hotel." If that is what you offer, you will outrank your direct competitors who do not. It is also essential not to mislead guests with the information you list among the hotel attributes.
Google Business Profile includes a business description under "Hotel Details" - you cannot control this section, as Google aggregates the information from your website. So, you should optimize your website to reflect your brand and values.
Questions and Answers
The Questions and Answers section in the Google Business Profile is relatively underutilized by most entrepreneurs, not only hoteliers. To put it bluntly, not many potential guests use it either. Instead, they are likely to turn to Facebook and other social media platforms for direct questions. If you don't have a chatbot to interact with them, you should.
Although it is underused, the Questions and Answers section bears some weight because anyone can ask and answer questions, including your competitors. Therefore, you must keep an eye on this section to avoid issues potentially damaging your online reputation.
We cannot state enough how critical Google reviews are for rankings and reputation. These statistics from BrightLocal show their overwhelming importance:
- 77% of consumers read reviews regularly when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020);
- 67% will write a review for a positive experience in contrast to only 40% prepared to review a negative experience;
- 89% of consumers appreciate businesses that respond to online reviews, while more than 50% tend to disfavor enterprises that don't respond to reviews.
- 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate a local business.
- Only 2% of consumers don't read reviews when evaluating a business.
It is essential to respond to all your reviews, positive or negative, and maintain a courteous, professional tone. Thank your reviewers and encourage their feedback. You should also consider inspiring your guests to write reviews while they still stay with you. The chance of getting a “fake” Google review is low: all reviews are authored by verified users. Also, Google has strict content policies for reviews.
In conclusion, Google Business Profile for hotels is an effective marketing tool with tremendous local SEO effectiveness. Invest time and effort in optimising it and you will drive more direct bookings and ROI. Keep an eye on your competitors and act before they do. Like everything else online, timing is everything. The main advantage with a Google Business Profile is that after you set it up, it is easy and quick to update and maintain.