How new Google tools for hoteliers can help you win guests

google tools for hoteliers

Online marketing has long been crucial to a hotel’s success, with a strong SEO positioning being a key part of spreading the word, building an audience and winning guests. When it comes to the internet, Google is king, but do your marketing team know how to make the most of Google tools for hoteliers?

In the below guest post, Jade Dawson, SEO specialist at MRS Digital, discusses how you can use new Google tools for hoteliers to win guests.

Despite the economic downturn in 2020, there is a promising travel, leisure and hospitality market waiting to be captured in the search results pages of Google.

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In 2020, the search giant released new products and updates that help hoteliers, sales teams and digital marketers engage a growing audience interested in travel.

As the appetite for memorable travel and tourism experiences grows in demand, it leaves hoteliers with the challenge of turning their physical real estate into a destination with visibility online.

The Google search landscape

In August 2019, a blog post on Google observed how tours and activities – what a user might call an experience – was lagging behind compared to other traditional travel products like airline bookings.

However, the gap was soon predicted to close, as travel experiences were quickly growing in-demand. Interestingly, research revealed in the 12 months prior to a trip, a user’s search behaviour will focus heavily on tours and activities, as they hunt down new experiences.

The changing needs of Google users

The changing priorities and expectations of users are reflected in what they’re searching for. For example, searches for “where to travel” and “can I travel” are at an all-time high. Known tourist hotspots were once at the centre of travel, but now users are, as Google states, “travelling for people instead of places”.

This means that digital marketers should create content and advertorials that depart from the usual themes of travel, instead focussing on user experiences. Google calls this trend a longing for “getting away”. But this goes further than a desire to escape, revealing how travellers are looking for destinations closer to home and sustainable travel and services.

Understanding user needs is a changing game, and the best move hoteliers can make is to market their destination as a memorable experience.

Maximising exposure in Google

The challenge of gaining exposure, especially when competition for page one in Google is often fierce, is no small feat. Digital marketers also want to know how they can get the most value from their investments in paid advertising and content creation.

Fortunately, in 2020, Google began offering additional support to hoteliers and professionals working in the tourism and travel sector. This came in the form of new tools, updates, and products.

Google My Business

For those eager to gain visibility in Google, establishing their business within a Google My Business (GMB) profile is a simple way to stand out from other search results.

Using data available from Google, and positioning your brand higher up in the search results, businesses can capture a greater share of user interest and clicks. Managing and optimising a GMB profile falls under the branch of SEO, and its impact should not be underestimated. A good GMB profile can change casual searchers into overnight guests.

A GMB profile is a critical lifeline for physical destinations, not only because it can help your business seem trustworthy, but also in how it displays current information (including hours of operation and contact details). This means prospective guests can find a hotel more easily in the search results (as GMB profiles are afforded key space on page one by Google for local searches).

GMB profiles enable your business to showcase attractive photos, display and respond to user reviews, and interact with unique insights and data about how Google interprets your business in its search results.

With a GMB profile, your business can:

  • List open hours
  • Offer attraction tickets
  • List information regarding visitor guidance and safety
  • Offer contact information

Travel Insights with Google

For hoteliers trying to reach travellers, Travel Insights with Google offers helpful analytics in bitesize intelligence about destinations, hotels, and travel.

This site offers the likes of “geographic demand” (including a local breakdown of cities), so digital marketers can target where users want to travel to. This is just one such example of a new Google offering that allows hoteliers to empower business decisions and marketing through data.

A hotelier in the Bath and Northeast Somerset region, for example, can see the year-over-year increase in search interest for their area. In this example, where local travel is already an established interest, marketers can set up a prior-mentioned Google My Business profile to tap into the local market and gain exposure in the search results.

Google tools for hoteliers

Upcoming Google tools for hoteliers to look out for

Announced recently by Google, the following are features that hoteliers and digital marketers should be aware of, which are scheduled to roll out.

  1. Sustainable badges

For visitors who focus on sustainable dwelling, Google now offers eco-certified badges to help guests navigate to those hotels who uphold sustainability values. This might, for example, include energy efficiency or water conservation.

  1. Attraction ticketing and more

In September 2021, Google launched attraction ticketing for events and sites, including basic admission. This update will soon be expanded to include travel experiences like wine tasting. If a user searches for things to do in Bath, for example, they can see the Roman Spas, but also book tours or dine out.

  1. ‘Things to do’ ads

‘Things to do’ ads are a new paid-for feature, allowing advertisers to display their ads in an above-the-fold carousel when users search for tours or activities. This ad will show images, pricing, and links to make event bookings.

Google tools for hoteliers make it easier to discover opportunities by exploring inbound markets, helping marketers understand the user behind the enquiry. A common goal for a physical destination, like a hotel or countryside estate, is to drive bookings. Digital marketers and hoteliers alike can use Google Hotel Ads to attract travellers and boost bookings by displaying availability and rates across different Google platforms – search, maps, and assistant.

Creating value and exposure in the search results can be strategic for hoteliers looking to scale and sustain valuable traffic and turn searches into bookings. Whether that’s through Google’s latest eco-certified badges, offering users a list of hotels with high standards for sustainability at quick-glance, or through new ticketing products, hoteliers can now do more than ever with their clicks.

MRS Digital is a leading digital marketing agency that provides digital marketing, web design and development services.

Tags : Googlehotel technologyhotel trendsSEOtechology
Eamonn Crowe

The author Eamonn Crowe

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