Everything you should know about Google’s most useful hotel tools and practical tips to take advantage of them to a great extent7 mins read
Your hotel’s proper digital presence is a complex and multidimensional matter. The challenges and needs of the field are constantly changing, causing a “headache” to those who want to be up-to-date with the new digital era. And of course, Google is the center of attention, providing hotels with more visibility than ever before to their potential guests.
To start with, each hotel should try to make the most of the following Google tools, some of which are provided for free.
List your hotel on the “map” through Google My Business
Google My Business is a tool that allows you to register your hotel for free in order to appear on Google maps with geo-markers on your location. Registering your hotel makes it easier for travellers to find all necessary information (address, contact phone, amenities, etc.), photo material, other travellers’ reviews etc. At the same time, they can visit your website or contact you directly, increasing the potentiality of direct bookings. In addition, registration in Google Maps improves your website’s positioning in Google.
Google my Business gives you the opportunity to publish posts, for example, articles from your own blog that will enhance your hotel’s position in Google’s organic results. You can also link your Social Media profiles so as to give travellers a whole perspective of your hotel with images and extra material.
Get to know your potential guests with Google Analytics
A hotel’s website may be its most important digital tool but it’s not enough. In order to take full advantage of your hotel’s website, you need to know how your guests – repeaters, new, and of course, potential – interact with it.
Google Analytics is a free Google tool that provides you with detailed statistics regarding the number of your visitors, the countries they are coming from, the pages they visited, how long they stayed on your website, etc. It is an extremely useful tool regarding direct bookings, since through Google Analytics you can extract useful information for your audiences that will help you with your advertising campaigns’ set up.
Use Google Analytics’ Navigation Summary to see how your guest navigated on your website and which “path” they followed to move from one page to another. In this way, you will make sure that your links, backlinks and Booking Engine are working properly, and you will be able to have a complete reporting on each page’s functionality.
Create anticipation and excitement through conceptual videos for your hotel on YouTube
Unfortunately, not all hotels understand the importance of producing stylish, high-quality videos and posting them on YouTube and other Social Media. However, videos are a powerful transmission tool for stories and messages. YouTube, one of Google’s tools, is the second biggest search engine after Google itself and creates SEO benefits for your hotel.
In addition to presenting your hotel’s facilities in a video, you can also include short interviews of the hotel staff that will describe the procedures they follow every day. In this way, you will not only let your audience know about some internal processes but make them feel safe and intimate.
Reach specific audiences and markets through Google Ads
Google Ads is a truly powerful tool that helps you reach Google users around the world. It lays behind every single paid data entry that appears in Google’s first page but also in the form of display banners on thousands of websites.
Google Ads have now a major role in the hotel marketing strategy. Competition for paid-search results has increased dramatically in recent years while there is a significant number of hotels that bid on their competitor’s names and brands, or even on their own.
However, due to the fact that the platform is quite complex, presenting a variety of set-up options for advertising campaigns, hotels usually address to digital marketing agencies to implement their Google Ads strategy.
It’s important to realize that advertisements do not appear the same on all devices. With this in mind, you need to optimize your advertisement’s elements in order to appear optimally on all devices. Focus on the type of device your audience mostly uses and invest in it.
Use Google Keyword Planner to find those keywords that provide the highest potential for your hotel
Google’s Keyword Planner is an essential tool for setting up your Google Ads campaigns. It is the tool that allows you to make a thorough research on which keywords you are going to use in your campaign and choose the most proper ones. Through Google Keyword Planner, you will see how often people search for specific keywords, get a bid estimation for each, which will help you with your budget planning, and then add them to your campaign’s ad plan.
It is important to evaluate every keyword that travellers are looking for while they are searching for your hotel’s destination. It doesn’t matter if it’s a monument, an attraction, a landscape or a shop. If travellers are looking for it, you better include it somehow on your website’s content and your ad campaign.
Take advantage of the new upcoming Google Hotel Ads tool and enhance your direct bookings in your booking engine.
Google Hotel Ads is a supplemental Google Ads tool that extracts availability and room rates, or even special offers for loyalty club members etc., through the hotel’s official booking engine. The only thing you have to do is create a profile in Google Hotel Center and link it to Google Ads in order to add your hotel’s prices and availability to the ads. After that, you will set up your campaign’s budget and the bidding per click or per reservation. Potential guests will be able to see the prices, compare them to other OTAs and book directly through Google, which is our main goal.
As Google enables you to easily add photos of your hotel to Google Hotel Ads, you should take advantage of this opportunity by uploading the most attractive photos of the accommodation and perhaps some of the more anthropocentric in order to stand out from the competition and attract travellers more quickly.
In a period when direct online bookings on hotels’ websites is the main goal and mobile traffic is playing an increasingly important role, every hotel has to pay attention and be there to every guest’s little moments. From the “dreaming” phase to the “decision-making” phase, when the traveler is ready to make a reservation, your hotel must have a digital presence.
Throughout this journey, some Google tools help travellers “dream” their vacations in your hotel (YouTube), others help them find you and learn more about you (Google Ads, Google My Business) and why not, decide to make a reservation. And since it is a two-way process, some other tools (e.g. Google Analytics) will help you get to know your customers, so you can approach them with the right message and guide them to the right direction.
Minas Liapakis is founder and Sales & Marketing Manager of Eyewide Digital Marketing Agency based in Heraklion, Crete. After years of work experience in the field of tourism and hotels in operation & marketing, he founded Eyewide in 2008 specializing in providing digital marketing services to hotels and other tourism businesses. He is a member of the board of directors of IFITT (International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism) in Greece. He enjoys traveling, discovering new cultures and spending creative time with his family.