The hotel industry is undergoing a seismic shift, and at the epicenter is Google's entrance into the travel landscape with its service: Google Hotel Business Profile.
As we all know, Google is far more than just a search engine now, as it is carving out its domain in the travel and hospitality sector, fundamentally transforming the way hotels attract and engage with guests. For years, Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor have had a firm grip on the digital marketplace, but Google Hotel Business Profile is slowly but surely breaking the mold and leveling the playing field.
This article delves into the sweeping changes ushered in by Google Hotel Business Profile, examines its manifold benefits for hotels, and underscores the critical role of effective SEO practices in this evolving environment.
Google's Dominance: The Tipping Point
It's not an overstatement to say that Google Hotel Centre has set off a ripple effect in the travel industry. By leveraging its already substantial influence as the world's leading search engine, Google has smoothly transitioned into being a dominant player in the travel sphere.
Users increasingly start their travel journeys on Google, where they can discover and directly book accommodations. Think about it, every month, Google sends hundreds of millions of website visits and phone calls to hotels globally. It's a massive opportunity waiting to be harnessed.
This paradigm shift has been in motion since as early as November 2019, with significant repercussions for OTAs. The ease with which travelers can make direct bookings has led to dwindling commissions for these agencies and a noticeable decline in their stock prices. But what does this mean for hotels? A new dawn of opportunities.
In 2022, there was a resurgence in the travel sector that shouldn't go unnoticed. Searches for "book a flight" surged by over 70% that year, suggesting that travelers are keen on crossing destinations off their bucket lists again and still being noticed.
The Boon for Hotels: Cutting Out the Middleman
The advent of Google Hotel offers hotels a direct line to potential guests, capturing them at the very inception of their travel planning. With Google's Metasearch capabilities, users actively searching for accommodations in a particular location are presented with an array of choices, directing traffic away from OTAs and enabling direct bookings. For hotels, this transition signifies greater control over guest experiences, right from the booking process to check-out, fostering a more personalized approach.
The benefits don't end there. With the direct engagement comes the opportunity to glean valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior. The capability to gather first-hand reviews and ratings not only aids in refining service offerings but also plays a pivotal role in online reputation management. These reviews and ratings are essential elements of your hotel's online visibility, significantly impacting your SEO rankings. For actionable insights on customer engagement through reviews, our article on How Consumers React to Review Requests can serve as an invaluable resource.
The Path to Google Hotel Profile : Setting it Right
For hotels looking to maximize the advantages offered by Google Hotel, certain steps are non-negotiable. The journey starts with establishing a robust Google Business Profile. This public-facing profile forms the foundation for your online identity and is often the first point of interaction with potential guests. Adding Google Hotel Ads can simplify the complexities involved in setting up and optimizing your profile for maximum visibility.
Data integrity is another key aspect. Accurate pricing and real-time availability informations are crucial for a seamless user experience and customer centric approach. Adding layers of details—like room types, amenities, and high-quality photographs—can significantly enhance the profile, making it more appealing to potential guests.
Equal Opportunity: Smaller Chains and the SEO Angle
The beauty of Google Hotel Business Profile lies in its ability to democratize online visibility. Unlike platforms dominated by large players with deeper pockets, Google Hotel Business Profile offers a level playing ground. Smaller hotel chains and even bed-and-breakfast establishments can compete shoulder-to-shoulder with giants in the industry. However, success in this space isn't merely a function of being present, it's about being seen. And this visibility is largely governed also by robust SEO practices.
Local SEO, in particular, can be a game-changer. By claiming and meticulously optimizing your Google Business Profile, you substantially improve your chances of showing up in local searches. Interested in turning your hotel into a local legend? Our Local SEO Guide provides actionable tips. Online reputation monitoring tools can also offer invaluable insights, as outlined in our blog about Navigating Your Business Through Google’s AI SEO Storm.
Wrapping Up - Who's Winning—Google Hotel Business Profile or OTAs?
Google Hotel Business Profile is emerging as a compelling alternative to traditional OTAs. It's not a zero-sum game, but Google Hotel Business Profile is quickly gaining traction with distinct advantages for both hotels and travelers. In a post-pandemic world, the edge appears to be tilting in favor of Google Hotel Business Profile. Hotels that adapt to this shift stand to benefit the most.
As the hotel industry navigates these dynamic shifts between Google Hotel Business Profile and OTAs, Pluspoint offers targeted solutions. Our suite features online reputation management, Listing management, customer engagement tools and robust analytics – all of which are indispensable in the contemporary digital marketplace. Let Pluspoint empower your success and contact us today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.