Monday 3 December 2012

Best Book Direct - Google Places For Accommodation Businesses

Improve How Your Customer Views Your Business Name - Part II

In our travels, in our day to day support calls and in our ongoing research we still find dozens  of businesses who have found themselves immersed in a Facebook campaign yet are still without an up to date or quite often NO presence on Google Places. If your brow has just furrowed and you've just thought I'm not sure whether we're using Google Places then you really MUST read on. It is free, easy to set up and it really is an absolute MUST DO TODAY job.

If there's one thing you need to check before the year's out it is that you're using Google Places to its full (and FREE) potential.

We have presented at workshops all around the country and still businesses are not using the free tools that Google have given them. And to be quite brutal it's unforgivable!

"You've got a Facebook account yet you haven't updated or claimed your Google Place?" Time to prioritise better!

Google Places is playing an an increasingly important role in searches for the hospitality sector on both PC based searches and increasingly in Google Apps on mobile devices. It is not just important that hospitality businesses manage their Google Places account it is truly criminal not to.

It's an old blog posting but Laurian Clemence, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs with Google UK highlighted the importance of Places more than a year ago, “By having an on-line presence via Google Places, hotels are enabling users to find and interact with their business,” says Clemence. He recommends keeping listings simple, accurate and consistent.

From a tourism and hospitality perspective Google Places is taking, and is likely to take even more, prominence as Google identify means of improving their social media offering with search offerings such as Google+ Local, Google + Pages for your business and Google Hotel Finder.

As we've said however, the starting point for us however is getting the basics in place so start with setting up or editing your Google Places information

Test It Now for Your Business

Google Place information is visible in the top right corner of the search screen - and must surely be a positive one for hotels seeking direct bookings through their own website.

Once again use your own business name and see what your customer sees. On the right is the Google Paces result for The Oak Tree Inn Balmaha. This search data is free and managed at the core by your business. It offers reviews and new ratings out of 30 based on a host of customer inputs.

If your business doesn't appear in this way you really need to get this listed as an A+ priority and that means TODAY.

This is not intended to be a detailed guide to how to set up Google Paces just a call to action to ensure you do. Google explain in the easiest possible terms how to do it.

Do you need to understand how it interacts with Hotel Finder, Google + Reviews, Google+ pages? In time yes but for now get the building blocks in place and make sure that your business details, map, and descriptions are up to date. Upload your best most recent images and video if you have some.

To start creating your free local business listing, go to the Google Places and sign in with your Google account. If you don't already have a Google account, click Sign up now to create a new Google account.

Things to Do Today
  1. Search for your business names (include separate searches for your restaurants. pubs and leisure facilities and see how you are represented in Google Search and Google Places
  2. Set up or update your Google Places account fully for each business you operate - content, images, categories, video, tags and descriptions  special offers, the lot. Set an hour (or very maximum two) aside to do it properly.
  3. Check your Google Places account and the statistics and advice on it regularly

Downloads, Links and Reference

This article is a call to action rather than a detailed briefing. We have previously written articles on Google Places in this blog. Simply type in Google Places in the search field top right of this page for more detailed info. Google's reference guides are definitive and really easy (on the whole!) to follow so to get your entry up to date click on the links below.

Google Reference Links

Additional Reading

The Best Book Direct Series is being produced in conjunction with the on-line marketing team at Plan B and the award winning Bookassist Booking Engine
Email or call 01292 521404.
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