In June, global tech giant Google announced its new free tool for local businesses called Google My Business. This new marketing platform offers an integrated approach to helping local businesses reach their customers on Google all under one roof.

Google My Business allows brands to work with customers through easy-to-use services on the new dashboard, My Business.

google-my-business

Why use Google My Business?

Now that “google” has entered a number of languages as a verb, there’s not much that needs to be said about the value, even necessity, of having your business known and highly-ranked by Google’s search engines. Google has a number of PAID services, such as AdWords and Google Apps for Business.

What makes My Business different to these services is that it’s free. Google is not using this platform as a source of revenue, but more to provide more up-to-date and comprehensive results from searches. They are doing this by making it easier for more businesses to get online and in a place that’s easier for Google to deliver better search results.

Facebook moving into the business pages space is a further incentive for Google to keep their edge. Not every business customer uses Facebook to search, but everyone uses Google to search, even if they also use Yahoo! or Bing.

My Business Google is trying, and succeeding, in getting more businesses online.  The more businesses Google can deliver, the more searchers will come back to Google and, axiomatically, the more advertisers will spend with Google.

How Does This Help Your Hotel?

Google+ and managing local listings has confused many hotel owners and local businesses since the beginning. With Google My Business, Google is attempting to make managing this easier. The functionality of the dashboard is similar to Facebook’s.

Let’s take a look at some of the core benefits:

1. Post Content

You can share and engage with consumers through the My Business dashboard. There is a “Share” icon that allows you to create a post. This feature is also available from your phone.

 2. Track Analytics

These new insights will give Google+ page managers more information on who is interacting with your hotel content. This will allow your hotel the option to further explore your audience on Google+ and hopefully engage in meaningful conversations that lead to bookings.

google insights

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa
Photo credit: Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa

The analytics are also integrated with AdWords Express which will allow hotels to see how people are finding their business on Google. This means more demographic data, more engagement metrics, and visibility.

 3. Read and Respond to Reviews

reviews

In hotels, we all know how important word-of-mouth marketing is. That’s why this update is pretty impressive. This easy interface allows hotel owners to manage reviews and offers advice on how to respond to reviews. This can help you monitor and manage your brand reputation.

It also offers a nice feature that enables businesses to see reviews from around the web.

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 4. Provide Virtual Tours and Photos

Help show potential guests how unique your hotel is with a virtual tour or photos. Adding photos is one of the top features travelers and potential guests look at when selecting a hotel to stay at. Take this opportunity to showcase what your hotel has to offer.

Best Western International announced the launch of Google Business Photos for all 2,200 of its North American hotels. All hotels will have the virtual tours online by the end of 2014. Check out the Best Western on Google+.

photos

Other hotels, like Kolbe Hotel Rome, provide a virtual tour.

 5. Correct Business Information

The ability to edit your business listing on Search, Maps, and Google+ is all in one place. This ensures that your address, phone number, and directions are all listed accurately on all avenues to make it easy for customers to get in touch with you.

Have you optimized your Google business listings?

This post was contributed by Leah Rise. Leah is the Director of Search & Social for a Sydney-based digital marketing agency. She has spent eight years in digital marketing and works with more than 70 clients globally including staySky Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Ibis Sydney World Square, and the Crowne Plaza. As a Florida State Seminole and Disney nerd, Leah enjoys traveling with her wolfdog Simba.

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