Google My Business – How Does It Work For Tour Operators?
Every second, Google processes around 40,000 queries from people. This amounts to 3.5 billion queries a day. Everyone is really dependent on the search engines to know things. Before signing up for any service, people do a bit of research on retailers and their products with Google searches.
The only problem with this kind of research is that travellers could end up choosing your competitors over you. To help local businesses looking for visibility in specific searches, Google has developed Google My Business for an optimized online presence.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to control their appearances on various Google products like Google+, Google Maps and Google Search. With this tool in your pocket, you can create and update your business listings to make them interesting for customers.
With help from Google My Business, people can easily find where your travel and tour business is. It enables you to maintain your local results which show on multiple Google platforms. These results are modified according to geographies to enrich the online searching experience.
The Benefits of Using Google My Business
1. Manage your details online
With the help of this free tool from Google, you can manage how people see immediate details about your business. It helps list your tour business online with your business hours, website details, location and phone number.
Besides this, a travel and tour business like yours with a verified Google listing is more likely to be considered by clients. Google My Business, is also available as a mobile app. It enables access to your Google listings at any time, irrespective of where you are.
2. Communicate with customers
Did you know, reviews and ratings improve click-through rates by 20%? TripAdvisor is not the only way to gather customer feedback. Google is equally powerful when it comes to traveller reviews. With Google My Business you can receive feedback, reviews and ratings from customers against your business listing for anyone to see. You can easily respond to these and showcase special moments during tours with comments and photo for better engagement.
3. Grow your business presence
Ultimately, every tour operator business plan is bound to include expansion. With the Google My Business tool, you can show your website, phone number or email to get direct engagement. Then you can track your appearances in search results and how people have reached out to you through your Google listings. Based on this information, you can fine-tune your location based AdWords campaigns to spread the word about your business.
Are You Eligible To Use Google My Business?
Before you consider Google My Business as a part of your tour operator business plan, you need to know if you are eligible to use it. Knowing the basic guidelines will prevent your business listing from being prohibited or suspended. Here’s what you must learn before listing on Google My Business –
- Only businesses can list.
- The address provided should not be vague. Precise and accurate details are preferred.
- Business listings must represent exactly what it does and is recognised to do in the real world (i.e. across signage, stationery and other branding).
- The business categories selected must be few and descriptive of the main overall business.
- The establishment must make contact in-person with customers during the stated business hours.
Google My Business Applicant Exceptions
- Businesses like video-rental kiosks, express mail drop boxes and ATMs are permitted to use Google My Business listings. However, if they are added then locations with contact information that is helpful to customers must be provided.
- Seasonal businesses, for example, river rafting tour operators open for business only during the monsoons. They can list but they have to display permanent signage all year at the business location.
Businesses Ineligible For Google My Business Listings
- Brands, organisation, artists and online-only businesses are not allowed to use this service.
- Brands, organisations, artists and online-only businesses are not allowed to use this service. The same goes for for-sale or rental properties like vacant apartments, vacation homes or model homes. On the other hand, sales and leasing offices are allowed to verify their businesses on Google.
- Businesses not yet opened to the public also not allowed to list.
- Ongoing classes, services or meetings at locations you do not own or represent legally, is also prohibited.
How To Join Google My Business?
To begin using Google My Business, log onto google.com/business. Or, download the Google My Business app on your mobile phone. It’s a great way to keep track of your business online and make changes at any time. To register, you will need –
- A Gmail account
- A business name
- A business address
- A business category
- A valid phone number or website
Once you have this ready, you can follow the process below to join the platform
Once you’ve joined Google My Business, keep an eye out for Google updates on its community. This space offers guides for optimised usage of the Google My Business tool. You can improve your business further by learning more tour operator fundamentals from Vacation Labs. If you want to know how to use the Google My Business let us know in the comments below and we will cover it in our next blog.