The online travel space is evolving at a dizzying speed, and nowhere have changes been more significant than at Google. In the past few months Google has introduced the “+1” button to rival Facebook’s “like”, has launched the Google+ social network, and has removed third-party reviews from Places pages. For hotels it has added rates and availability to Google Maps and Places listings and has introduced Hotel Finder, it’s answer to Kayak, as an “experiment” in the U.S.
What does this mean for hospitality and tourism businesses? As Google becomes more social, more mobile and more focused on user-generated content, Google Places is evolving as a linchpin of your online presence. It’s time to whip your listing into shape and to make it an integral part of your online reputation management program.
Optimizing your Google Places listing means ensuring content is complete, accurate and kept up to date. Your efforts will help travel shoppers find you and will help you convert them into paying guests. All content on Places is either controlled or influenced by you: description, categories, additional details, special offers, imagery and reviews. There is no cost and it can easily be done in-house.