Google is the answer to most people’s problems.
Feeling hungry, need to get lunch? Find it on Google.
Need to book a hotel? Google its reviews.
This is why Google gets over 3.5 billion searches each day.
And interestingly, a large percentage of these searches have local intent.
Since Google is the first place many people go when looking for hotels, the saturated hospitality industry has much to gain from the search engine giant’s remarkable features.
Google Business Profile (GBP) is one feature that helps even smaller hotels have good exposure with their target audience, despite their chances of ranking through regular SEO being relatively slim.
This article will give you practical tips for optimizing your GBP to get the most out of Google’s awesome offering.
One of the top perks of having a GBP listing is that your business gets closer to your audience by being where they look often.
GBP levels the playing field for all hotel brands, giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.
Even smaller, family-owned properties can rank in response to searches for local hotels.
GBP is a free business listing that allows you to share your hotel details, like business hours, room prices, contact numbers, and more, with your potential guests.
Specifically designed to promote local brands, when appropriately used, GBP can enhance your online visibility and direct organic traffic to your website.
This can result in increased bookings and more revenue.
But that’s not the only way GBP helps hotels get more bookings.
A BrightLocal survey found that 49% of customers they polled trust online reviews, and GBP helps you capitalize on this and win your customers’ trust through its spectacular review and rating system.
On top of all that, having a GBP for your hotel increases your chances of appearing in the coveted local pack and gives your hotel good visibility on Google Maps as well.
After reviewing the benefits of GBP, you must be excited to claim your hotel’s GBP listing and enjoy the exposure and value it can bring.
But merely claiming your GBP isn’t enough.
You need to optimize your listing for the best results.
Here are a few GBP optimization tips to get you started:
99% of consumers polled in the survey by BrightLocal have used the internet to find information about a local business in the last year.
People turn to Google and rely on GBP listings for information.
And good hotel SEO strategy ensures that the information about your business on your GBP listing is accurate.
Aside from accuracy, you must ensure your listing is complete with all the information that a potential guest may require to drive good value out of your GBP listing.
Customers are 2.7 times more likely to consider you reliable if your GBP profile is complete with accurate information.
In a world of increasing competition in the hospitality industry, you cannot afford to lose your customer’s trust or leave them frustrated with inaccurate information.
Some important pieces of information that need to be accurate and regularly updated on your listing include:
Can you imagine how frustrated your guest will be if they booked a room based on the check-in/check-out times mentioned on your GBP listing, only to find out they were inaccurate?
Can you also imagine how this might earn you a negative review?
So, prioritize the accuracy of the information and minimize the chances of driving your guests away.
Check out how Sheraton Maldives have kept their GBP listing up-to-date.
The website button promptly opens their website in the next tab. You get approximate prices for your choice of days and a lot of other information through just one Google search.
A hotel’s GBP listing comes with a dedicated question and answers section where potential guests come to share their queries.
Other customers will peruse these to get answers before booking a room with your hotel.
Use this section to understand what your guests want to know and answer questions in detail. A yes or no won’t suffice.
You must be thorough and courteous, but also avoid writing long essays.
A comprehensive and concise answer would do.
Also, be quick to respond to the questions asked in this section.
These questions are open for anyone to answer. And if you don’t respond to the queries yourself, someone, perhaps a local guide, will.
They may share inaccurate information, which may hurt your guest experience.
So, check your GBP listing frequently to spot new questions and answer them promptly.
You can also link your website’s FAQ section here to attract organic traffic to your site.
Check out how Sheraton’s team has taken the time to address the question.
Also, don’t miss the way they have answered their question in a courteous, comprehensive, yet concise manner.
Google Business Profile allows hotels to share their attributes and details with the guests.
This section is for you to inform your guests of the amenities and facilities offered at your property.
It can also create booking opportunities since many guests decide whether they’d like to book a place based on the amenities listed in this section.
Be sure to list all the amenities your hotel has.
You can check out what amenities other hotel brands have listed on their GBP listing and get ideas from them on what to add to your section.
However, as with other information, you must ensure that all the amenities you include in your listing are offered at your property.
Otherwise, a guest who booked your place for its pet-friendliness will not leave a nice review if they drop by and find you don’t allow cats within your vicinity.
Sheraton Maldives has done it right with its amenities and hotel details section.
Some amenities are listed here, and guests can check out other attributes and amenities in detail by clicking on the more amenities button.
Reviews can make or break your hotel.
98% of consumers polled by BrightLocal read online reviews for local services.
If a guest has shortlisted your hotel as their property of choice, the next thing they will do is to check out your reviews, most likely on Google.
And often, they will decide whether they want to book a room with you based on these reviews.
So, offer a positive guest experience and ensure your review section gets a healthy amount of positive reviews.
Getting positive reviews, however, may not be as easy as it sounds.
People are quick to leave a negative review but not so generous when they’ve had a positive experience.
But you cannot let your positive reviews slide.
Sheraton Maldives has over a thousand reviews and a healthy mix of 5-star and fewer-than-5-star reviews. This is the kind of review section we are looking for.
So people want to be certain that the room they book will live up to their expectations.
And while textual details help, what drives people toward hitting that “book now” button are high-quality photos and videos of all the features and amenities you have promised in your listing.
This is perhaps why listings with photos get 35% more clicks to their website than those that don’t.
Make sure to upload high-quality and realistic photos of your rooms from all angles and any other amenities you offer.
That’s because you must ensure the pictures you upload don’t over-promise. If the room in the picture has a beach view, ensure the actual room delivers according to this expectation.
Also, don’t forget to optimize your images for SEO.
Write a descriptive alt text for each image and optimize with relevant keywords wherever possible. But don’t keyword stuff!
You can take inspiration from Sheraton Maldives if you can’t think of how to make your GBP album.
They have included eye-catching photos of their exteriors, interiors, amenities, rooms, and more.
Nothing in the digital world is successful unless it is optimized regularly. And the same is true for your GBP profile.
Another remarkable feature of GBP is that it gives insights into your listing’s performance.
By analyzing your GBP stats, you can get answers to critical questions like how many views your listing has bagged.
What search queries have brought the most views? And where is your audience coming from?
Use this information to see how well your GBP campaign has performed and determine how to improve these results.
Google post is another one of GBP’s valuable features.
It allows you a direct interaction opportunity with your potential guests.
You can share updates about your hotel, disclose offers and discount deals, and communicate with your prospects from the search engine results page (SERP).
The Google post section can engage your audience, win your website organic traffic, and earn your business some good leads.
But only if used right.
Check out how this hotel does its Google posts section just right:
GBP offers remarkable opportunities for hotel brands to interact with potential guests and impress them with their services – before the guests even step on their property.
It offers unique features carefully designed for the benefit of small business owners, free of cost.
GBP offers unprecedented exposure and interaction opportunities to hotels that may not have a huge marketing budget.
But your ultimate business success is rooted in your service, and your GBP reflects the guest experience you offer.
So, while optimizing your GBP listing, focus on your hotel’s areas of improvement so your efforts can yield positive results.