How to attract guests using Google maps?

Hotel business listing is one of the most significant elements of the local positioning. Creating a business listing and keeping it up-to-date constitute an important element which largely affects the number of bookings.We have collected some practical advice on the business listing optimization in Google My Business tool.

Why is it so important to optimize the hotel’s business listing? Below, we present the search, views, and interactions data for the last December, for a large hotel in a popular tourist city:

129.000 business listing searches (including 79.000 from non-branded phrases)
525.000 business listing views in the browser and Google Maps
10.800 business listing interactions (including website views, telephones, checking directions)
38.000 views of business listing images

The score cannot go unnoticed. 10 thousand interactions is a direct result of the high visibility in Google Maps, achieved with the optimization of the business listing. 

CREATING ACCOUNT 

If you hotel does not yet have a business listing, go to Google My Business (www.google.com/business), log in to your google account and provide the data below:

  • Hotel name
  • Country
  • Street
  • Post code
  • City
  • Telephone number
  • Category
  • Website
  • Delivery of goods

USE EXISTING BUSINESS LISTING

If you already have a business listing, you can automatically insert all the details as you enter the name. If the business listing does not have an owner, you can use it. If the business listing belongs to someone, you can request ownership. 

A request is sent over to the current owner. If he does not reply within 7 days, you can claim the listing without his approval. You become the new owner of the listing and any other person loses the access.

NAME AND ADDRESS

According to Google, the business name should reflect the formal name of the hotel. Make sure that both the name and the address are the same on the listing, the hotel website, OTA’s websites, and other places in which the address is available online. 

CATEGORIES

Categories are used to assign the hotel to the existing segments, which classify our listing among specific industries. 
It is best to list all activities, and remember to enter the main activity in the basic category field. You can add up to 10 categories.

OPENING HOURS

Opening hours appear in the search results and inform whether the business is open at a given time. Opening hours during holiday period may be added in the special opening hours tab, available only if the basic opening hours are completed. 

TELEPHONE AND URL

The main telephone number can be added during the setup. Any additional telephone numbers should be added during the optimization. 

It is also important to provide the URL of the hotel’s internet website. What is more, any information entered in the listing (name, address, telephone numbers) should be consistent with the one on the website, for instance, in the form of a structured data. 

ATTRIBUTES

Attributes allow you to define the most important details for clients. The following information can be included:                                                                             

  • Staff speaking foreign languages           
  • Available payment methods
  • Facilities: Wi-Fi, SPA, additional services, babysitting, etc.
  • Special access for disabled
  • Activities: horse riding, bike rental, games room, etc..

IMAGES

We suggest adding a number of high-quality images to attract visitors. We can divide images into the following categories: 

  • Outside
  • Food and drinks
  • Menu
  • Public areas
  • Rooms
  • Staff
  • Visual Identity 
  • 360

We now need to add a profile picture and a background image to the listing. Unfortunately, we cannot choose the main image visible the search results. 

IMAGES ADDED BY CLIENTS

Hotel guests can also add images to the listing using Google Maps. Such photographs are frequently of lower quality and the presentation of the hotel is different from our vision. We can submit a request to get the picture delete if the image:

  • invades privacy
  • does not show the hotel
  • is of low-quality
  • does not contain pornographic, vulgar, obscene, ambiguous, or hateful content 
  •  presents product regulated by the law
  • infringes the copyright  

REVIEWS

Guest reviews are one of the most important factors which determine the visibility of the Google business listing. It is then essential to encourage the satisfied guest to share their opinions, then to monitor reviews, and reply to negative comments. 

PROHIBITED PRACTICES

Google pays great attention to the authenticity and reliability of opinions. The following activities are prohibited:

  • Offering discounts or any other form of favoring to guests, in exchange for a positive opinion in the business listing
  • Providing guests with a device to leave a review
  • Artificial acquisition of opinions from fake accounts


NEGATIVE REVIEWS

Bad reviews can effectively jeopardize the position of hotel’s listing in Google. Every negative review and accusation needs to be addressed. Our task is to make the guest change his mind and either edit or delete the review.
 
Which reviews may be deleted?

  • Spam and fake reviews
  • Sexually explicit and offensive content
  • Content which breaches the regulations; 
  • Hateful, threatening or harassing content; 
  • Files containing viruses and other elements of a harmful or destructive nature
  • Materials which infringe copyrights or intellectual property rights
  • Content of users claiming to be another person, who falsely manifest their relationship with another person or entity
  • Content that violates other applicable laws and regulations
  • Advertising content

UPDATES

Users may suggest changes to the information visible in the listing. Google displays such suggestions highlighted in orange, in the Google My Business panel. If the information is true it needs to be accepted. Otherwise, the listing has to be updated. 


STATISTICS

Google My Business provides the listing analytics with approximate data on:

  • Search method
  • Place of display
  • Client activities
  • Inquiries about directions
  • Phone calls
  • Displayed images
  • Number of images

Monitoring statistics of the listing before and after optimization allow us to assess if our activities have brought the desired effect. 

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Google My Business offers more and more opportunities to make your listing visible:

  • Posts - allow you to add news, events or offers with the CTA button
  • Video - promotional hotel video lasting up to 30 seconds 
  • 360 images - 360-degree photos
  • Messenger - the feature has not been activated in Poland yet. It enables users to chat directly using the business listing. 

BOOKINGS

A potential guest, interested to book a stay in the hotel, may start the process directly from the business listing view. The person will see offers of the OTA websites. Google Hotel Ads (https://www.profitroom.pl/rozwiazania/marketing-obiektow-hotelarskich) allow hotels to present the offer directly from their websites. Investing in such advertising helps you to increase the number of direct bookings, and consequently, allows you to avoid the commission costs. 

Summary

Google Business listing is a local positioning tool which offers a simple way to increase the website traffic and the number of bookings. Optimization combined with the monitoring of changes and opinions, are the only actions you need to perform to get new customers directly from the search engine and the Google Maps segment.