Most travellers turn to Google when searching for answers to travel queries or finding a place to stay. Here’s how you can leverage Google’s free tool for your vacation rental.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It’s your official storefront on Google. Getting on GMB is the simplest way to increase organic traffic and allows you to be listed higher in organic search before popular websites like Airbnb, booking.com, etc.
As Google explains, Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search.
Setting up Google My Business
Every business should have an updated, fully optimized Google My Business listing. Optimizing your profile will help you rank higher on Google Maps and improve engagement with your business on Google.
If you already have a listing, make sure you have claimed it as the owner. A fully optimized listing has a greater chance of appearing on local searches for your category.
Here’s how you can verify your business on Google.
Ways to Optimize your Google My Business
- Keep your listing info up to date
When customers search for a business on Google, the business information shows in the knowledge panel near its search results. The knowledge panel helps customers discover and learn about your hotel.
The knowledge panel displays information about your property which includes:
- Phone number
To maximize how often users find your business in local search results, ensure that your business information in Google My Business is complete, accurate, and engaging.
According to Google, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t. The more photos you have on your Google My Business listings, the better your chances of leading customers from discovery to conversion.
Encouraging your customers to add photos could be more effective as they are perceived to be more authentic.
- Add your amenities and attributes
Attributes on a Google My Business listing are meant to highlight the amenities and service offerings of your business. These attributes can provide your customers with a better understanding of your business.
- Track customer insights
Another advantage to having a Google My Business profile is that it provides you with access to insights. Google Insights gives you an inside look at how people find your GMB listing on the web and the actions they take after they found your listing on Google.
Google My Business insights:
- How customers are finding your business (direct vs. discovery searches)
- Where on Google your customers are finding your listing (Search vs. Maps)
- Customer Actions: Calls, Ask for directions, website visits
- Create a great business post
When customers find your business on Google, they can see offers, news, and events from your business posts that show on Google Search and Maps.
- Offer: Provide promotional sales or offers from your business. Offers require a title as well as start and end dates and times. A “View offer” action button is automatically added to the post. You can also include a photo, video, description, coupon code, link, and terms and conditions with the post.
- Events: Promote an event at your business. Events require a title, start and end dates, and a time. If there aren’t start or end times, then the system will default to 24 hours on the date it’s posted. These posts may also include a photo, video, description, and an action button.
A post to your customers on Google should be brief, useful, and inspire action. Here’s a sample post.
- Collect and respond to reviews
Reviews on Google provide your customers valuable information about your business. Business reviews appear next to your Business Profile in Maps and Search, and this helps your business stand out on Google.
When you respond to these reviews, you show existing and potential customers that you value their business.
- Enable messaging
Messaging is a less known feature of Google My Business. Set this up and users can chat with you directly on the GMB dashboard. To enable messaging, select the “Messaging” tab in your Google My Business dashboard, and you have the option to install this via Google Play or the Apple App Store.
- Reach more customers with an online ad
Google Smart campaigns allow potential customers to discover your property on Google Search and Maps. Smart campaigns help you show up in relevant search results of people looking for accommodation.
Targeting is the most significant benefit of Smart campaigns. Based on your location, Google accurately targets users in the locality who are most likely to convert. Once the ad develops, Google keeps optimizing and tweaking the ads based on the data it collects.
Google My Business is your own storefront on the most powerful search engine. When optimized, it could act as a source of traffic and drive bookings for your vacation rental. Leveraging this free tool is a must for any business.