By Bridget Lohnes, Creative Services Manager
Your Google My Business page is a free opportunity for connection with customers across Google Search and Maps. Maintaining and ensuring the content is current and accurate is key to successful online customer connection, which, in turn, will help increase your hotel business.
Google My Business is constantly changing as it improves the way it gathers and displays information about businesses across its platforms. These changes may also be world event-driven, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Google gives free access to your business across Google Search and Maps, Google controls your business detail description, reviews and photos posted by Google visitors. If you wish to remove reviews or photos, you can flag them to Google online by clicking the three dots on the review or the flag symbol on the photo. Both are on the right hand side and you will also need to say why you are asking for removal. For business detail changes, you will have to contact Google. Google will decide whether to approve your requests or not. Reviews and photos will only be removed if they are considered in violation of their policies.
The place where you have a little more input and some control about your business information is on the Info Page.
The Info Page has many parts to it and all the information you input will be approved by Google before it becomes live information online. Any Google user may suggest edits to this information and you have the option to accept or reject the proposed edits.
Name of business, address, business hours, phone number and website information are all straightforward details that are easy to maintain accurately so that your guests can get in touch with you, find out information or visit your property.
The Hotel Attributes section has a lot of detail about the services and amenities at your property and it is important that you review this section carefully. Inaccurate information may lead to guest dissatisfaction when staying at your hotel.
This section is divided into categories that are subject to change without notice. Reviewing the categories regularly would be good practice.
The Hotel Attributes section currently has two sets of categories: Property Details and Room Details. Currently, there are 14 categories in the Property Details and two in the Room Details. The categories are displayed in a list on the left side under either Property Details or Room Details. The categories are also displayed in a boxed list with a brief description of the individual category. Information is edited in these categories by first clicking on the pen symbol on the right hand side of the category. If the pen is not visible, then click on the title of the category to expand and display the pen.
If information is missing or needs to be edited, Google marks the category with an orange circle and will display a change. You can accept the proposed edit by clicking on the check mark next to the pen. But it is advisable to click on the pen instead, as it will then open up the category in full and you may find that there are more changes to review/edit. When you are satisfied with the information, click the save button and these edits are usually published within an hour. Google uses your Hotel Attributes to show Google users which amenities are available at your hotel and it will help searchers looking for hotels with specific amenities.
Google provides two ways to review/add Photos – either using the photos link in the info section or there is a direct link on the main page. Adding good photos of your hotel is a marketing decision you cannot ignore. Monitoring your photos is also important to ensure that no one is posting offensive images that could be connected to your hotel.
The Photo section is divided into three areas – Logo, Cover and Video – that you can use to upload appropriate content about your hotel. An uploaded logo will appear on your photos and your replies to reviews. Uploading a cover photo will not always ensure that Google will use it as the main display. Across the top of these three areas are filters for current photos. Click on the By Owner to add photos of your hotel. Google has specific photo guidelines:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
- Recommended resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide
- Minimum resolution: 250 px tall, 250 px wide
- Quality: The photo should be in focus and well-lit and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.
If you uploaded a photo, then you can delete it by clicking on the photo and then the garbage bin symbol in the upper right corner.
You can check how your business is displayed on Google Search and Google Maps by clicking on the Click on Search and Click on Maps icons on the info page. If you experience any problems with uploading/editing information, then do not hesitate to contact Google Support by clicking on the support link.
Google My Business is a great resource for making your hotel searchable, but maintaining the accuracy of your information is key to attracting guests to your hotel.