Your business partner you may not know - Google
As a tourism operator, you may have been advised that in addition to giving the best possible service to your customers and ensuring that you love up your agents, you also need to ensure your online presence is attractive to both your clientele and Google. Just how important Google is to most businesses is interesting, a bit scary and is about to get even greater.
An accommodation provider has a long 'to-do' list to promote themselves online:
- Get an attractive website that guests like and ensure it is properly built to please Google.
- Add an online booking engine and integrated channel management to ensure that you are listed on major OTAs.
- Spend time on your website each month to optimise it so Google ranks you well.
- Set up a blog on your website to keep the content fresh because Google loves lots of relevant, new content
- Set your business up on Google Maps to be found for location search and Google Places
- Start a Google Adword campaign to increase website traffic and get on page one
Then in your free time, be attentive to your Trip Advisor posts and don't forget your Facebook page, as engaging with your past and prospective clients is vital and there is evidence that Google's latest algorithm takes into consideration your social media interaction, so again, better do it to keep Google happy.
Google has now created another consideration for your business building on, and dependent on everything else you have done online to promote your business. It is called Google Hotel Finder.
Now, when you do a search for a 'Hotel in Auckland' or 'Motel in Auckland' (not lodge or B&B yet but this won't be far off) you will first get 1-3 paid Google Adwords listings then you may get a couple of OTA listing (Booking.com or even Trip Advisor) followed by 'Google Hotel Finder' with the best deals available followed by Google Maps entries followed lastly by the organic search results.
In order to appear in Google Hotel Finder, a property has to have a booking engine, be connected to a number of OTAs, be registered on Google Places and now also has to be sure they have Google + account too.
And lastly, as you may have already guessed, Google has created a whole new revenue stream on Hotel Finder by creating Hotel Price Ads. These are like Adwords, but with a twist. They are similar to Adwords where by impressions are free but you pay per click. The twist with Hotel Price Ads are you can choose a traditional pay-per-click model ($2.00 a click) or a percentage of average room night value.
So keeping up with Google's latest developments is important, ignore Google at your own peril. You can choose to consider Google an important business partner or an annoying business competitor. Whichever your opinion, it is also imperative to know your partners and competitors and to best be prepared for them.