Google completed their purchase of the Frommer’s Travel brand earlier this month. This is a further indication that they plan to expand local search significantly as it relates to travel, particularly using Google+ Local Pages. These Local Pages will replace the old Google Places Pages and are meant to be more interactive with more social integration features. Another indication that Google is serious about the travel industry is their purchase of Zagat Reviews last year. Zagat scores are now reported in search results instead of the ‘star’ rating system.
Here’s what Google’s expanded emphasis on travel means to you as an innkeeper promoting your property:
- If you already had a Google Places Page, it has automatically been converted to a Google+ Local Pages. You can continue to manage your basic information through your Google Places Page. If you are new to Google, you can create a Google+ Page here.
- Guests will be able to discover your Google+ Local page through a search on Google.com, Google Maps, or through a search on Google+ directly.
- Google+ Local pages will give you more flexibility and allow you to post a wider variety of information as well as create more social interactions similar to those available on Facebook and Twitter.
Google is positioning themselves to compete with sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp but it doesn’t mean that those sites will go away anytime soon. If you are already heavily using another Travel site to promote reviews, continue to do so but at minimum, claim your listing on Google+ Local and populate your profile. You want to be the first to create a presence on Google as opposed to leaving up to chance.
By Linda Griffin
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