What Makes Local SEO for Hotels Different?

What makes Hotel packs and their business profiles different from other Local SEO Results?  

When it comes to making your hotel visible online, the focus should be on the local SEO channel. Most searchers include a location-based qualifier, such as ‘hotel in Dubai.’ The triggered results are the known Google hotel packs, distinct from typical local SEO results. Understanding these differences is crucial for crafting an effective marketing strategy tailored to hotel businesses.

How hotel businesses reach their target audience in the most cost-effective way possible?

Google does not provide a link to the hotel’s website in hotel pack results. To maximise visibility and reach your target audience cost-effectively, follow these basic steps:

Step 1: If you do not have a Google Business profile – create one! 

If you’re opening a hotel now, along with your website and the photography that is being done, make sure to set up your Google Business profile. You will need to verify the business by requesting a PIN that is usually sent by postcard to your hotel. Recently, it’s quite trendy to verify your location with a live video, you can initiate a video call with Google from the Google Business profile interface. Once you receive this PIN you enter it in your dashboard and then your hotel will be enabled to appear on Google Maps.   

Step 2: Complete your profile by adding relevant information

Ensure your profile contains all property details, including name, address, phone, category, website, etc. As the categorisation is quite important, make sure to pick the category that is closest to what your accommodation really is. 

I am sure you’ve heard about NAP consistency and not knowing what this is can be stressful. NAP stands for: Name, Address & Telephone Number. It is important that your NAP is standardised across all the online instances where your hotel is listed, including your own website. Maintaining the same details everywhere makes it easier for Google to confirm that each online source is in fact associated with the same hotel and consistent online information significantly improves your rankings. 

Step 3: Optimise your imagery assets by uploading photos and videos

The management of the photos associated with your business profile on Google is fundamental to building your digital footprint and an easily accessible way to communicate your services and values. Imagery assets for hotel businesses are split in the following categories – Bedroom, Bathroom, Interior, Exterior, Amenities, Food & drink, make sure to upload relevant photos to each section. Make sure to follow the guidelines given by Google, namely to use JPEG or PNG format, not to exceed 5 megabytes, not to fall below 250 pixels in length and width of the image. Don’t forget to use only high quality media, if you have videos or 360 images upload these too.

Step 4: Manage amenities and attributes information 

Businesses with selected ‘hotel’ or relevant lodging categories see a section called Hotel Attributes within the Google Business interface. Google aims to collect more information about your property, including more detailed hotel amenities and room-level attributes that are featured on your official Google business listing on Search, Maps and Travel. Google hotel attributes are grouped into categories and include hotel policies, information about parking and transportation, F&B options, pools, wellness, other on-property activities, business, accessibility, room types, etc. What is expected from Hotels? Hotels are required to provide and regularly update the list of amenities and attributes on Google in order to ensure their business representation is accurate and complete.

Local search results include a range of filters, meaning users can change the displayed hotel pages based on their preferences, for example Free Wi-Fi, Parking, Spa, etc. These filtering options are quite important, if you haven’t targeted your hotel correctly, you can very easily fall out of relevant results, which is a missed opportunity for conversion. In addition, sharing Amenities & Attributes data with Google improves the likelihood of appearing for specific search queries such as “rooms with sea view in Sorrento” or “spa hotels in Istanbul”. 

Step 5: Manage Google reviews 

Google officially has confirmed that managing and responding to reviews improves your local ranking on Google. Review volume, user rating and owner response rate – all correlate to higher search rankings and better visibility. New features allow Google users to filter search results by User Rating and properties with fewer reviews and lower review score are less likely to appear in the search results. Google is using review content to better understand your business and what it does. This information becomes not just trusted and scored, but is used to broadly expand Google’s knowledge about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. 

Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers. Reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input and possibly leave more reviews in the future. Write unique responses which specifically reference guest feedback and avoid canned responses especially for critical reviews as overusing templates can cause a business to be perceived as insensitive towards guest feedback. Negative reviews are not necessarily a sign of bad business practices. For example, the customer may have had mismatched expectations. Replying to reviews can help identify points on how to improve the experience for customers. 

Bonus Tip: Create separate business profiles for your key hotel outlets – restaurant, bars or the spa area

Many hotels have in-house outlets like restaurants, bars, or spas accessible to non-guest users. Consider creating separate business profiles for these outlets and connect them to your hotel profile via the ‘Located in’ feature. This allows you to actively manage and optimise each outlet individually, providing up-to-date information and enhancing the overall guest experience.

How to stand out from the crowd of luxury hotels competing for attention? 

While signals used to rank typical businesses are elementary, hotels require a more comprehensive approach. Aim for perfect Google Business optimisation by utilising all features with a well-thought-out strategy. Unlike other businesses that can mainly rely on social media, Google is the primary landing page for hotel businesses. Owners should follow the steps outlined above, making regular updates to their Google profiles and taking advantage of new features, such as the Google Posts tool. 

In conclusion

Hotels should remain vigilant in their local SEO efforts, staying proactive and adapting to the latest changes in the Google Business interface. Unlike other businesses, Google serves as the primary landing page for hotels. Owners should regularly follow the steps outlined in this guide, making updates to their Google profiles and leveraging new features like the Google Posts tool to effectively communicate with potential customers. 

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