August 22, 2019 by Ben Lloyd
Google My Business has been revolutionary for the hospitality industry. Most questions about your inn are answered right on your profile in an easy to find format. Users know instantly where you are located, what amenities you offer, and even your availability for their trip. Google is always studying the relationships users have with their products and a recent study filled with insights on how users search for businesses. We found a couple major takeaways that apply directly to hotels and B&Bs so you can use Google My Business to dominate the search results.
Takeaway & Tip #1: Getting Found – Direct vs Discovery Searches
What is the difference between a direct search and a discovery search? A Direct Search is when a user searches directly for your business. For example, when a guest types in “Pine Ridge Lodge, Bend OR” they are performing a direct search for your property. A Discovery Search on the other hand is when a user searches for generic categories or services. A search for “Bend OR B&B” would fall under this discovery search category. A new search category is a Branded Search which included a brand in the search query. “B&B near Les Schwab Amphitheater” would fall under this category as it is related to a recognized brand.
Typically – potential guests doing discovery searches have a lower intent to book than those making direct searches. But in order to get those direct searches – your property needs to be discovered. Discovery can also take place outside of Google as well. Get listed on 3rd party sites like OTAs or your local association site or as a ‘place to stay’ on an event site etc to make the “Billboard Effect” work for your property.
For hotels & inns, location is a huge deal for your guests. It is harder to be “discovered” in Google hotel finder results if your property isn’t near attractions, events, etc.
Takeaway & Tip #2: Customer Actions
The study highlights that hotels fall in the top 5 actions taken on Google Business Listings as it pertains to website visits, calls to your business, and direction requests. I find the numbers in this study totally skewed by big box hotels, so I’d disregard these as a benchmark for smaller properties however the one area that’s interesting is that hotels get a lot of ‘direction requests’ (ie. guests using Google Maps to find directions to your property) compared to other industries.
Takeaway & Tip #3: Photos, Photos, Photos!
This is something I’ve personally observed quite a bit and it’s been mentioned a number of times in other studies or recommendations for optimizing business listings.
For whatever reason – Google appears to reward businesses with a lot of photos on their Google Business Listing. On average – hotels tend to draw a lot more photos to their business listing.
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