Google Features For Hoteliers

The Most Efficient Tourism-related Google Tools for Hoteliers

Learn about tourism-related Google-tools such as Google Local, Panoramio or Hotel Finder, and find out what benefits you can gain from it! We take you on a trip through the Customer Journey 'through' Google. >>Read an excerpt from the free Whitepaper 'Google Features for Hoteliers' >>
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The most efficient tourism-related google tools for hoteliers

CA Customer Alliance

Google is more than just a “search” bar

Google is our primary source for online search and research. In January 2014, Google’s dominant position within Germany was underlined by having a market share of about 91,2%. The Microsoft competitor “Bing” came in second place, far behind though with only 3,4% market share. Thus, it is no surprise nearly everyone thinks of Google when talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That being said, it is important to see Google as much more than a search bar.

There is a variety of Google tools which take part in our daily life - think of Gmail, Google Maps or Android, which is the operating system for 80% of all mobile devices. In addition, Google became a key factor in the field of marketing. Two out of three advertisings take place on Google. It is impossible to imagine online marketing without Google AdWords. Even small and medium-sized companies hold budgets for AdWords campaigns.

Numerous Google tools are important in the whole course of travel preparations: Flight Search, Maps, Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), Hotel Finder and so on. So let’s take a closer look on Google tools especially on the ones relevant in the hotel business.

SEO remains important

The search and research for information is one of the first steps in the process of booking a hotel room. Therefore, SEO is and will be a key factor. However, rules and practices have shifted. Not only does Google use signals from social networks to customize search results depending on the user, but it also regularly cleans up keywords linked to websites.

That is why it became extremely hard for privately managed small or medium-sized hotels to remain within the first Google results displayed. Most of the time, the online travel agencies (OTAs) occupy the first positions - with, of course, the omnipresent “competitor” Google. There are still ways leading to the desirable first page, just keep on reading and look out for the keyword “Google+ Local.”

Google AdWords for small and medium-sized hotel?

There is an important question, often asked by hoteliers: “Is it worth to use Google AdWords”? The answer is: “yes … and no”! The most prominent and contested keywords, such as “Hotel + [city]” are in large part occupied by booking and rating sites. Large OTAs have sufficient resources to pay sky-high prices per click, therefore, claiming the first places for themselves. Consequently, it became impossible for small and medium-sized hotels to compete with them on this field.

However, anyone that has carved out a niche and devotes himself to the use of the so-called longtail-keywords has a chance to catch good positions even with a small budget. A general advice for hoteliers would be: “Do not get yourself into the “Google AdWords Jungle” without previous knowledge”. A better call would be to consult an agency that is competent and experienced in this field. Otherwise, it's likely that you will just throw money out of the window.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

Google and Images

Images are considered to be the most important content throughout the internet. Thus, it is no surprise that Google has been creating tools focusing on pictures such as Panoramio, Picasa(web), Google+ and Google images search.

Panoramio - Source for Google Maps

Anyone creating interesting and relevant content from his city or region including individual photos should take a look on Panoramio. This service works as source displayed on Google Maps. If you then share great photos and link them into Panoramio, chances are severely increased to be found on Google Maps later on. Potential guests doing researches on their vacation area could eventually come across you and your hotel when finding your pictures.

Photos in Google+

If you are running a business website via Google+, you should also implement a certain amount of images. Due to the integration of Google+ posts into Google Search results (Project name “Search, plus your world”), your hotel’s last Google+ post will be shown if performing a hotel search - including photos of course.

Google Carousel

This one might interest you as well: “Google Carousel”. In a close future, search queries will not only provide you with classical text-results and the according map section next to it. Large images will be displayed at the top of the page. They derive from Google+ Local posts and are ought to keep the user within the “Google System” for one additional click. We all know about the “power of images”. Thus, what will be important within the future becomes clear: great pictures that encourage the user to click on your site.

Google Maps Business Photos

For sure, you already used the StreetView option on Google Maps, that gives you a detailed panorama of a precise place. The same is true for indoors. Via “Google Maps Business Photos,” hotels are able to directly display panorama views on Google Maps, Google+ Local to show it within Google Search. By doing this, potential guests could take a very precise glance at your hotel. This would build up their trust in your company and increase your chances to get direct bookings. If you are interested in this, you need to look for a photograph certified by Google.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

Google and data organisation

Google provides some interesting tools to help you organize your data. From Youtube to Google Calendar, Google Drive, FeedBurner, Wallet, Play and Keep.

YouTube as a main tool for hotel videos

Hotel videos play an increasingly important role for online marketing. Your videos should not be anymore only available on your website. By creating your own channel on Youtube, you will be able to reach far more users since your videos will appear in the search results. In addition, if you link those videos to your Google+, they will also be displayed on your Google+ profile.

Collaboration for small hotel groups

For small hotel groups, Google calendar, doodle and Google Drive might also be interesting. By using those tools, you can make and keep appointments in common, work on files together and exchange them easily - without being delayed by email chaos.

Google and Communication 

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Google+

It took Google three attempts to develop Google+, an interesting social network allowing them to even compete with facebook. The very idea of integrating it into Google Search has been a genius move and will eventually provide a long-lasting increase of users number.

In 2014, hotels would be well advised to take a deeper look into Google+ and assimilate this network into their online marketing strategy. However, you should not mistake it as a “copy of facebook” and use it accordingly. By being present on Google+, a hotel is able to forward its content to the search results of its followers and - if those share their content - to their followers. For Google+, keywords are far more important than they are for facebook and hotels cannot avoid expanding their own network. If you are active on Google+ now, you stand a great chance to soon obtain a competitive advantage.

Google Authorship

By taking care of a Google+ site, you should also look into Google Authorship. It includes the possibility to link the content of your website or your blog to your Google+ profile integrating your individual picture/logo into search results. By doing so, you do not only enforce your ranking but also increase the level of trust users have in you due to your repeated appearances in their search results.

Google and information

One of the most important Google tools concerning “information” can be found in Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), which was started in 2005.

Google+ Local (formerly Google Places)

An individual Google+ Local entry is a basic in online marketing. Most hotels are already present on Google+ Local; however their entry is often not verified.

Whoever has no entry on Google+ Local yet, should get active there. By the way, new Google+ Local entries are becoming Google+ pages automatically. Hereby, functions of both elements are linked to each other. So discovering a company on Google Maps means that you will discover as well the recent news published on Google+ when taking a closer look.

Google Hotel Finder

In addition, Google+ Local entries are associated with the Google Hotel Finder, which also makes possible to book a room right away. On the one hand via the connection to large OTAs, on the other hand - if appropriately connected to your own IBE - via a direct channel.

Yet, it is not as easy as it sounds. As much as hotel business rails against commissions, a hotelier can be laid-back concerning the provision model. Administrative costs do not have to be paid before the partner generates revenue. This is arranged differently for the connection to a meta search like Google Hotel Finder. The service is recognized for providing users with a website. In this way, the hotelier pays per click (CPC-model) and has to take enforce bookings on his own - by accordingly optimised landing pages.

Trying to “hide” is pointless since meta searches are on the rise and the CPC-model is increasingly used. Hotels definitely need to be more and more engaged in analysing and optimizing their websites.

If you consider connecting to Google Hotel Finder, you should at first do some detailed research about the keywords used in your field and analyse the content of your website. Encourage continuous reviews and make the appropriate adjustments - otherwise there might be a risk here as well to throw a lot of money down the drain.

Google Reviews

Since 2007, companies can be rated on Google Maps/ Google Places/ Google+ Local. It is very surprising a lot of hotels do not know about this option and never checked if their Google + was correct.

Reviews on Google+ Local are a significant factor as they will be integrated quite prominently into Google search results. When searching for “hotel + city,” you will get up to seven “local results” from Google+ Local, they all include details about the quantity and quality of their Google reviews. With the distance between the hotel and the user destination, reviews play a major role in the ranking of the results displayed.

Hotels with good ratings are more likely to get clicked on and eventually booked.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

Customer Journey or: A Guest travel “through” Google

Graphic of a building with a map pinAnybody still wondering how all of this could be associated to his hotel is invited to take part in a little travel through the social web, thanks to Google.

Phase of inspiration

Within the phase of inspiration we receive updates and photos of friends on Google+, we come across videos on YouTube dreaming about the next holiday. Pictures that we can gaze at on Google Maps, thanks to Panoramio, do trigger emotions allowing us to immerse ourselves into the upcoming vacation. While doing our virtual travel, we discover places that we want to visit and get inspired by the numerous moments other users have shared with us.

Phase of information

We start searching, we start researching. What can I do at this or that place? Which highlight do I need to see? How to get there at best? When should I go there? How would family holidays look like at this place? Are there any secret hints or places that remained free from tourists?

Phase of booking

Which hotel still has rooms available? Where do I get the cheapest flight? What do other guests tell about hotel XY? As well in the phase of information as in the phase of booking, Google Search helps us along with Google Maps, StreetView, YouTube, FlightSearch, HotelFinder and so on.

Phase of Experience

During the phase of experience, we share experiences with our friends in real time. We want our friends and families to take part in what we are doing and seeing. Thanks to Google+ it is easy to share places and emotions - also from a smartphone. We check in virtually, upload pictures and shoot some short videoclips.

Phase of reflection

At the end of our travel we still have the phase of reflection, where we again share experiences and happenings: as a blog on Blogger, by video on YouTube or just via Google+. We write brief reviews on Google+ Local in order to help other travellers to make right decisions.

Conclusion

As you see, your hotel could follow the users virtual journey using the Google tools quoted in this article. Inspire their experience by adding appropriate content, in order to become part of their future travels.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

About Customer Alliance

360° Review Management for hotel business

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With its software as a service Review Analytics, Customer Alliance provides a reliable 360° review management solution for the professional handling of online reviews. It gives hotels the opportunity to manage their online reviews and obtain important statistics for their quality management.

Since officially started in 2009, we grew up to a 70-people-international-team while more than 2500 hotels in 35 countries are improving their workflow with our solutions.

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