Currently, people can use different search engines to look for information online. However, about 80% of internet users and 95% of mobile users turn to Google in order to find the information they need. This makes Google the most popular search engine available nowadays. Given Google’s popularity as a search engine, which can be attributed particularly to its ability to provide relevant and quality results for its users, creating a Google Business Profile is no longer optional, but an essential part of your business. This is especially true if you wish to attract more potential guests to the vacation rental properties you manage.
What Is a Google Business Profile?
If you aren’t familiar with Google Business Profile (GBP) already, here is the first thing you should know about it: formerly known as Google My Business, GBP is a free business listing service that allows companies to provide details and photos of their location, services/products, hours of operation, etc. The information that you include in your GBP will appear in Google Search, Google Maps, Google Images, and Google Shopping, if applicable. Therefore, what GBP does is help you increase the online visibility of your business and the properties you oversee across all Google services. Now that you know what GBP is, let’s find out how you can use it to get more guests in 2023 and beyond.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Based on recent research, people are 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if it has a complete Google business profile and 50% more likely to choose the products or services it offers. While setting up a business profile on Google is relatively straightforward, optimizing it is imperative if you wish to persuade more travelers to choose your vacation rentals over other properties available for rent in the area.
Since Google takes into account the location of each company with a GBP, the more complete and accurate the business information you provide is, the more relevant traffic you’ll get. This may increase your conversion rate, which can indirectly boost your company’s local ranking. A higher ranking on Google will in turn help your vacation rental management company attract a higher number of travelers, with a positive impact on your direct bookings. To improve your local ranking, make sure that you verify your location(s) after you create your profile. Also, remember to include your company’s website’s URL when filling out your GBP listing.
Build Trust through Ratings and Reviews
When it comes to building trust with travelers, online ratings and reviews are actually the only things that can give your business social credibility. However, knowing that a guest can share his or her entire experience with your business on such a public platform can be quite scary—on top of that, you don’t get to choose which reviews to share on your business profile. On the other hand, the fact that you can promptly respond to negative reviews allows you not only to dampen their potential impact but also to build trust and credibility by showing that you really care about each guest.
Thus, one of the greatest things about having a GBP is that Google allows you to monitor and respond to the reviews that people leave about your company. Considering that 81% of booking decisions are affected by online reviews and 51% of travelers will never book a piece of property that doesn’t have reviews, creating a business profile on Google is definitely worth it.
Include Your GBP in Your Content Distribution Strategy
GBP gives you the power to rank your vacation rentals ahead of your competitors and even the most popular OTAs, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway, without having to make major changes to SEO. This can be done by updating your GBP listing regularly with information about local events or updates on any specials or incentives you offer.
A point worth mentioning is that posting content on your GBP on a regular basis goes beyond bringing you more clicks on your latest content and increasing traffic to your website. When done correctly, this strategy can earn your company a coveted spot on the first page of Google.
Connect with Travelers and Potential Guests
GBP also makes available a real-time chat feature that you can use to communicate with past, current, and prospective guests. Since younger travelers prefer to engage with businesses over private messaging channels and most of them expect a fast response, direct messaging is a must-have for any lodging management company that strives to offer its guests the best experience possible.
If your lodging management company doesn’t have a business profile on Google yet, now is the time to set it up. Since the majority of travelers go online to book vacation rentals in the locations they visit, using free and powerful tools, like GBP, to establish an online presence for your company is one of the tactics you can use to beat your competitors. To find out what other tools you can use to attract more travelers and get ahead of the competition, get in touch with our friendly professionals today!