How to Use Your Google Business Profile for Travel and Tourism

Emily Punnett
Emily Punnett
May 15, 2023
How to Use Google Business Profile for Travel and Tourism – Ontario SEO

A strong presence on Google Business Profile (GBP) is vital for travel and tourism operators who are looking to increase their revenue and bookings. In this blog, we’ll share some effective strategies to make the most of your GBP listing and maximize its potential for your business.

1. Claim, Verify, and Optimize Your Profile

To maximize the potential of your GBP listing, it’s essential to cover the basics. Start by claiming and verifying your listing (see our GBP Guide for step-by-step instructions). Once you have completed those steps, focus on optimizing your profile by providing detailed and accurate information. This includes:

  • Choosing a relevant business category
  • Writing a keyword-rich business description (without keyword-stuffing)
  • Adding UTM parameters to your website link
  • Providing your Service area/address
  • Providing your hours of operation
  • Selecting relevant attributes
  • Ensuring your profile has a high-resolution logo and cover photo
  • Adding relevant products/services to your listing
  • Filling out GBP’s “Hotel Details” (a robust list of services, amenities, and features that you can check off if applicable to your business)

2. Create a GBP Post Strategy

Like other social media platforms, Google My Business allows you to create posts to drive engagement with your customers. Developing a well-crafted posting strategy can significantly enhance your online presence and generate more bookings. Before we get into how to go about creating a strategy, let’s go over the types of posts you can create on GBP.

Types of GBP Posts

  • Updates (“What’s new”) – this type of post is for general business information. For these posts, you can include a photo or video, a description, and a call-to-action button.
  • Offers – this type of post allows you to showcase any promotions you are running. These types of posts require a title, start and end dates, as well as a way for users to redeem that offer. You can also include a photo, video, description, coupon code, link, and terms and conditions with the post. Note: this type of post cannot be used by hotels.
  • Events – this type of post allows you to promote upcoming events taking place at your business. These require a title, start and end dates, and a time. You may also add a photo, video, description, and a call-to-action button.

5 Tips for Creating an Effective GBP Posting Strategy

In order to create an effective GBP posting strategy, we recommend doing the following:

  1. Define your goals and understand your target audience: this will help you tailor your content to meet your customers’ needs and preferences.
  2. Plan your GBP posts: create a posting calendar that ensures a mix of engaging and informative content such as promotions, events, recent blog posts, testimonials, and industry news.
  3. Be consistent: establish a regular posting schedule that you can maintain. We recommend posting 2-4 times a month if possible.
  4. Use high-quality visuals: images on GBP posts take up the most space so you will want to make sure you are using high-quality imagery to make your posts visually appealing and engaging.
  5. Craft compelling copy: since Google tends to only show the first sentence of a post, it’s important that your copy is short, compelling, and includes relevant keywords. Additionally, if emojis fit with your brand’s persona, don’t shy away from using them to make your copy more engaging.

3. Leverage GBP’s Booking Integrations

GBP offers a booking tool that allows users to make their reservations/bookings via Google Search, Maps or the assistant. We recommend leveraging this feature if you haven’t already because it provides customers with automatic booking reminders and built-in integrations with Google products (like the Calendar). You’ll also be able to see your booking data via GBP’s insights report.

In order to use this functionality, you will need to be using a third-party booking provider as well as turn on the feature in your GBP settings. To turn on Bookings, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Sign into Business Profile Manager and click the listing you would like to manage.
  2. From the dashboard, click on “Bookings”. If you don’t see this option, bookings may not be available for your business category or in your region.
  3. Sign up with your third-party booking provider

Your booking provider should be automatically linked to your GBP within one week. After it is linked, your customers can begin scheduling bookings through Google.

4. Create a Google Reviews Acquisition Strategy

Online reviews play a pivotal role in the decision-making process for potential customers who are in the market for travel and tourism services. Unfortunately, however, customers can be passive when it comes to actually leaving reviews, even if they’ve had a positive experience with your business. Therefore, it is critical that you develop a Google reviews acquisition strategy that encourages customers to share their experience with your business. Some ways you can do that include:

  • Ask in person: once things have wrapped up with a customer, have your staff remind them in person to leave your business a Google review. If they’ve had a positive experience, they will be receptive to leaving one.
  • Email recent customers: this involves simply reaching out to recent customers and sending them a personalized email thanking them for their business and kindly requesting a review. Be sure to include clear instructions on how to leave a Google review as well as a review link to your GBP listing.
  • Promote your GBP on social media: create social media posts that encourage your followers (who are past customers) to leave a Google review. Again, you will want to ensure you include your GBP listing’s review link as well as clear instructions on how to leave a review.
  • Add a call to action on your website: add a call-to-action button on your site, such as in the footer or on a contact page, that encourages website visitors to review your business on Google.

5. Always Respond to Reviews and Questions

As we’ve already stated, reviews are everything in the travel and tourism industry. A great way to continue building your reputation and earning trust with your customers is to respond to reviews and questions on your GBP listing in a professional and timely manner.

While you may be more inclined to respond to positive reviews, it’s just as important to respond to negative reviews as well. Responding to negative reviews shows that you take customer feedback seriously and are willing to make changes to improve their experience. It’s important to respond to these kinds of reviews in a professional manner, addressing the customer’s concerns and offering a solution if possible. This not only shows the customer that you care about their experience, but it also shows potential customers that you are committed to providing excellent customer service.

It’s also important to keep in mind that customers will expect a response within a reasonable amount of time, so make sure to check your Google reviews and questions regularly and respond as soon as possible. This also shows that you are actively engaged with your customers and are committed to providing the best experience possible.

6. Add Photos

Adding high-quality, appealing photos to your profile can have a significant impact on attracting potential customers. Whether it’s photos of your location or your latest tour, quality photos will help visitors imagine themselves experiencing your services. We also recommend regularly posting photos to your GBP listing (at least once a month) to ensure your profile remains fresh and engaging. Remember to only include photos that are high-quality and accurately represent your business (NO stock photos!) You may also want to encourage customers to upload their own photos, which adds credibility and authenticity to your business.

7. Keep Track of Your GBP Insights

GBP provides valuable insights and data that can help you understand whether your strategies are driving real results or not. Regularly monitor your GBP insights such as profile views, bookings, website visits, etc., and use this data to make informed decisions about marketing strategies, identify areas for improvement, and tailor your offerings to better meet your customers’ needs.

Need help managing your Google Business Profile? We have extensive experience working with travel and tour operators from around the world. Get in touch with our SEO team today to learn more.