In case you missed it, Google is growing their tourism platforms extensively, seeking to create a seamless experience for the traveler without ever having to leave Google platforms to book a hotel, tour, or experience. Now more than ever, optimizing your Google My Business description is a must! Keeping your account in good standing, getting reviews and traffic will only help your business take advantage of Google's power in the future.
Check out how your profile looks on mobile and on desktop (you may need to type Google my business to see the profile)Your profile photo is the most important, so choose and use your most interesting, high-quality photo (get feedback on the best one). Include lots of pictures, at least 20 or more and update these regularly. When you update your social media or website photos, update your photos on Google as well. Pictures are the most viewed items on your profile, and you’ll quickly see in your Google My Business insights how your pictures impact your views!
With a Tourism Profile, you want to:
1. Build trust fast with the travelers landing on and reading your profile.
2. Inspire your readers beyond just the generic features and benefits of your business by telling your story.
3. Make it effortless to find you online and locate your business.
You can accomplish all of these three important objectives in your Tourism profile. Here’s how!
Make every word count! In as short as 750-word description, you have to build trust and inspire - IMMEDIATELY. Note that this is for organic searches from your profile, not Google ads.
1. Be clear about what you do.
Send the message of what you do clearly and quickly so they can make sure they landed on the right kind of business and services offered.
For example: “We run private bus tours in San Francisco”
2. Build Trust Fast.
Highlight some of your credentials that would instantly say to a traveler, “Hey, these guys know what they are doing!” For example: “Since 2001, we’ve served 1000’s of happy guests”, “Rated one of the top boutique hotels in…”, “Locally owned and operated helping 1000’s of happy travelers”
3. Inspire your readers
a. What is your elevator pitch? Who do you help travelers with their needs? and how to you share your why you do and what you do.
b. Put yourself in your guests’ point of view, how do you want them to feel when they’re reading this profile? Happy? Safe? Relaxed? Thrilled? What issues can you alleviate for them? Have your answers to these questions? Then USE those words!
c. Use “You” in your copy. You want to be talking directly to the readers you’re trying to attract.
d. Is there something unique that you do? What important aspects are your guests looking for? (i.e. Our guests tell us we have the friendliest guides
4. Pictures - Your pictures sell
According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
*Add pictures that can help your readers understand you. Pictures of your staff, your business family, and the purpose and meaning of your business. For instance, add a photo of your company mission statement or your business purpose. This is an excellent way for potential guests to connect with you on a level just beyond features and benefits.
5. Add video - for maximum inspiration
Video is your single biggest opportunity to captivate and entice your audience, plus it’s a great opportunity to showcase your business. It’s shocking that 79% of travelers go to YouTube to get inspired and that users watch at least 32 videos a month online. You may need to re-edit your content to the specs of 30 seconds or shorter, 100 MB or smaller, and with 720p resolution or higher.
6. Fill in all the profile boxes so you can be found.
This includes your address, email, phone number, website, and business hours (make a note to add closures for major holidays). While this may sound obvious, it’s shocking to see that some companies still don’t add their address and omit accurate closing times and holiday closures. There’s nothing more annoying to a traveler than to arrive at your business only to find out it’s closed OR there is a wrong address. (And your address can't be your pick up address for tours - so you need to inform guests of this difference)
7. PLEASE answer all reviews!
Answering positive and negative reviews can help you earn the trust of future guests. You can download a free tip checklist to improve your reviews here.
8. ASK for reviews on Google don't expect guests to just do them
Google’s influence on your website and travel in general is unparalleled. No doubt if your profile is in good standing with the 3 factors of ranking while some of your guests don’t even use TripAdvisor. Now more than ever, it’s essential to include Google as your secondary online review source. Get templates and tips on how to ask for reviews
9. Add in the new Google My Business Info Elements.
Check the info section on your profile – Google has now added features like adding your logo and a short name for your company to be used on maps.
10. Add your services.
Why not tell your guests exactly what you offer? A time-saver, right? Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. For example: Does your hotel have a restaurant, or does your tour company offer airport transfer services?
11. Choose your categories.
You have an opportunity to choose one primary category and two other secondary categories. The best way to come up with a decision is to do a Google search and find keywords that best describe your business category. You can also look at the keywords on your home page. Can the same words be used here? For example: if you’re a small hotel, can you choose boutique hotel and also hotel or accommodations? If you’re a tour company, some options can be tours and attractions or tour operator. They may not always be found in the category section, but this is worth a try!
Make Your Life Easy
Download your Google My Business App so you can make any important changes on the go! You can download the app for both Apple and Android. You can make changes such as:
You can’t use the app to:
Here’s What Not To Do on Your Profile
Your profile will be reviewed by Google, so it must follow their guidelines. Here’s what you can’t do on your profile as they’re against Google’s Guidelines.
1. You cannot add URLs or Links in the profile copy – There’s a specific section where you can add your URL. Don’t add other links to pages or details; Google will reject your profile.
2. Don’t keyword stuff – Your best bet is to use one or two words for your category that can help find you. Think about what your guest is looking for as the most important elements of your profile copy.
3. Don’t use just capital letters – This comes across as shouting and will be flagged by Google.
4. No offers, promotions or discounts – They will not be approved, and this isn’t the area to do this. Why devalue your brand when you can sell it on the merits of your brand proposition?
In summary, treat your Google My Business profile as important as your most important business asset aka your website. Update it regularly, put yourself in the shoes of your guests, and inspire them through Your Best Profile.
What has worked for your to attract guests from your Google my business description? We want to know.
Looking for more marketing tips for your business? You can find them all here.
Dorene Wharton is a tourism strategist, marketer, coach and full-time traveler with a 25-year career working in all areas of marketing and sales. She left her corporate job with Fortune 500 hospitality brands to start Travel Life Media to help hotels, tour, attractions and event companies improve their marketing, live their brand with a purpose and make money.