“Google My Business,” Does it ring a bell? Well, if not, the reason might be that Google has changed the name of this service several times: Google Local, Google Business, Google Places. However, what matters is not the name but the magic Google My Business brings to vacation rentals and serviced apartments.
You may have searched businesses in a specific area and seen the names of a few with their photos and contact information appear at the very top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Even if you make more general queries like “serviced apartments in Cambridge UK” (see the image below), based on your location, Google provides you with a map with all the necessary information. The same thing occurs when surfing the internet on your mobile phone looking for general or more specific enquiries. Your vacation rental or serviced apartment can also show up at the very top of a SERP provided that you create or claim an existing listing on Google My Business.
Did you know that this is free? But you may wonder what’s the point of having a Google My Business listing for your hospitality business. Keep reading the post to find out more.
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What’s Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that helps organisations and businesses expand their market. Every time a user searches for a business, Google provides them with a “map pack” which is an interactive map of local businesses matching their search. The information in this map includes contact details, location, and a link to their website. So, by being on Google My Business, you increase your serviced apartment’s chance of getting seen and contacted by more of your target audience.
Why Do You Need Google My Business?
As a vacation rental owner or a serviced apartment operator, you might be under the impression that if you’re good at what you do, you don’t need to be on Google. However, a quick look at the numbers below will prove the contrary.
- Over 50% of consumers search for businesses online, 75% of them on Google. So, if you haven’t verified your Google My Business yet, there’s a good chance customers won’t find the products and services you provide.
- Close to 85% of people trust online reviews just as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends. Also, 91% of people read online reviews. The best free and online advertising available are Google reviews.
- Over 50% of people will look you up online or on their smartphone with an app like Google Maps. People don’t tend to call businesses anymore to ask for their address.
- Nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information.
Can you see? By not being on Google My Business, you’re limiting your target market and reducing your reach unintentionally, or is it intentional?!
Moreover, if you’ve just started managing vacation rentals or operating serviced apartments, you may not be able to afford the resources such as an SEO team, sufficient money for marketing or an extra budget for advertising your listings on different paid outlets. So you have to find a way to manage your online presence across Google Search and Maps with the lowest cost possible. That’s why, for vacation rentals, Google My Business is a must.
The Importance of Appearing Your Vacation Rental on Google Maps
- Claiming a business online helps you build trust.
The number of people who look for services in yellow pages is fading every day. So, by being listed on Google Maps, you’re giving the necessary information to anyone looking for accommodation in your vacation rental or serviced apartment in a location of their interest. As a vacation rental owner, you know how vital it is to build trust and loyalty if you want to stand out in this super-competitive market.
- It limits your competition.
As Google finds geographically related results, it narrows the information down to similar businesses in your vicinity not the whole state or city.
- It helps you get more reviews, thus giving you a chance to improve your business.
The more people share their experiences of staying in your rental, the more you realise your weaknesses and hence can strengthen your business consistently. Also, as you are able to manage guest relationships in their entirety and deal with communication directly, you can get a better chance of enhancing your guest experience.
- It gives you the chance to claim your business online.
You don’t want others to take what’s yours. If you don’t claim your own business, someone else will. See your property as a mine and yourself as a lucky miner who just found the motherlode. Do you want anybody else to take the credit for themselves? So, claim your own business location to get more direct bookings.
- It eliminates misinformation.
Not claiming your business not only puts your business at risk of being channelled away by others but if you move your business to a new location, chances are that people will still see results for the previous business claimed at that location.
You should constantly keep the information up to date. Even a slight change in working hours should be mentioned in your listing as you don’t want to provide your potential customers with any wrong or inaccurate information.
- It’s one of the main ways to make sure people know your business exists.
If you don’t claim your business, it’s like you don’t exist at all. You want to target the right audience. The more you expand your distribution through Google, the better your chances to boost your direct booking and revenue.
In the upcoming blog posts, we’ll talk more about the benefits of Google My Business for vacation rentals owners and serviced apartment operators and also some tips to optimise your Google My Business.