Google is one of the most popular search engines around the world, where we go to look for any information and, of course, to plan a vacation. The technological giant can offer you a multitude of advantages as a host if you know what formulas to apply. Among the tools that Google offers is Google My Business, which is very important for any vacation rental business like yours.
In this guide we will analyze in detail how Google My Business works for vacation rentals and how you can create and manage your account. Don’t miss it!
Surely, when you have searched for a business on Google, be it a restaurant, a store or a company, the search results have taken you to a profile with relevant information, such as opening hours, address, website and contact phone number, photos and comments, right? Well, this is Google My Business.
It is a free tool that Google offers to provide more visibility, practical information and, ultimately, facilitate the user experience. So, by creating a profile for your vacation rental on Google My Business you will be facilitating guest searches and anyone will be able to see with a simple click where the property is located on Google Maps.
The Google application allows the registration of a vacation rental on the platform under the umbrella of “tourist accommodation”; “vacation rental service”, “bed & breakfast”, “rural house”. Depending on what features your vacation rental has, you can choose the category that best suits the services offered.
However, there are two very important factors to take into account before proceeding with the registration (and being accepted): vacation rentals will have to have an informative sign at the entrance and offer a reception service. Why is it important to comply with these two requirements? Basically it is intended to avoid the proliferation of illegal vacation rentals and to have too many markers on the map. That is why Google makes this distinction: serious and proper vacation rental management companies are welcome, while not all short-stay vacation rentals will be accepted.
Creating an account on Google My Business is very easy from the platform’s website. If you do not already have a Google profile, you will need to create one. From the “Add my business to Google” tab you can start filling in the information in the categories related to the vacation rental such as company name, business model, accommodation service offered, address, zip code, location, category and contact details (web, phone and email).
Once everything is ready, proceed to select the verification methods. Normally, to verify an account on the platform as safely as possible, Google will send you a letter by mail with a code with which to proceed to the online verification. Without this code, the account cannot be activated and will remain invisible to search engines.
Google My Business is, by itself, an essential application for any business, but it would lose much of its potential without a good SEO strategy to accompany it. What’s more, your website’s SEO will feed back into Google My Business related searches and results. Utilizing both in a tourist rental business will drive direct bookings and reach more potential customers through organic and proximity searches.
Therefore, the SEO + social media + Google My Business in unison is a good step on the road to marketing your vacation rental property. However, there is a fourth tool that is closely linked to gaining visibility: Google Maps.
Google Maps is one of the search engine’s most important tools and connects directly with businesses registered in Google My Business, so that in address searches local accommodation options appear at a glance, also in searches such as “vacation rentals near me”, for example.
In this way, Google Maps will allow future customers to obtain direct results through organic searches, without the need to go through online rental and booking platforms.
However, now is the time to take a look at the status of your vacation rental website and make sure you have a booking engine and availability calendar, as using Google My Business and Google Maps will naturally drive more traffic to your own website.
Reviews and ratings on Google My Business profiles are a good thermometer and indicator of the quality of an accommodation service. Users can write comments and rate their stay with ratings between 0 and 5 stars, the negative and positive aspects of their stay and, in general, praise or criticize any public establishment.
Therefore, Google My Business easily exposes you to negative reviews, and it is well known that bad reviews are not ideal. Can they be removed? The answer is not as easy as simply deleting an inappropriate review.
From your Google My Business account you will be able to manage posted reviews, but not delete them. You can, however, respond to negative reviews from your point of view as a host and try to clarify or solve the problem that led the guest to write a negative review. If any of these comments are offensive and may be dangerous to the health of your business, you can flag the review as inappropriate and the Google team will work to find a satisfactory solution.
As we mentioned before, the main advantage of publishing a holiday home on Google My Business is the increased visibility, but there are other benefits that should certainly be highlighted:
Google My Business allows you to know how your profile is performing through its Insights tool. This way it will be easy to know how many users have viewed or visited your profile and make changes that can improve the impact on searches.
You will be able to publish photos and comments that can be helpful for visitors, for example how to get to the vacation rental, if you accept pets, what accommodation services are covered, etc. and also last minute information, for example if you have to close for renovations or public health issues (during the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses updated their conditions in their Google My Business profiles).
Getting a better online reputation is the concern of many hosts, especially when we live in a time when positive reviews are so important to establish the quality of an establishment.
Google My Business will be a small window to the vacation home that will undoubtedly help to attract potential customers or lose them. Taking care of your business image will be fundamental to improve the organic positioning in search engines such as Google, and that means getting as many positive reviews as possible.
Potential guests who do a Google search on the name of the accommodation (for example after seeing your ad on Airbnb or Booking.com) will get at a glance all the important information that will lead them to book with you. Therefore, Google My Business is the best introduction that any vacation rental business needs.
In conclusion, the online presence of vacation rental businesses is now more important than ever and there are free tools available on Google and in the context of marketing.