November 27, 2012

How to claim your Google Hotel Finder page


Now that Hotel Finder has become an official Google product that is currently getting rolled-out on a global scale, it is important that you spend time with your hotel's Google Hotel Finder page. Here is how you can take control of your listing.

By Markus Busch

Google Hotel Finder's initial feed of hotel data was obtained from many sources such as Google's own data, OTAs, GDS representation companies, Yelp and many more. As such, the likelihood that your hotel is already listed in Google Hotel Finder is very high.

Getting listed

If your hotel is not listed in Google Hotel Finder, the first thing you should do is get a free Google+ Local page. Google+ Local is a powerful tool for destination based businesses like hotels and restaurants, because it combines customer reviews and local search into one platform. Think of your Google+ Local page as your brand hub within everything Google.

To find the Google+ Local registration page for your country, simply search "Google+ Local" on your local version of Google.

Once you completed the registration process, your Google+ Local page will hold all static information for your hotel, like name, description, images, and the official URL to your website - ready for Google Hotel Finder to retrieve and use for your hotel listing.

The second step is getting your hotel's dynamic data such as room types, rates, and availability into Google Hotel Finder. Unfortunately, Google is not of any help here, as Google Hotel Finder is turning to its commercial partners - speak advertisers - for that part of its data feed.

You currently have two options to get your dynamic data feed into Google Hotel Finder: Getting your hotel listed with one of the OTAs that advertise with Google, or turning to one of the major GDS service providers, which already update Google Hotel Finder with their hotel feed.

Once you have completed both steps, Google Hotel Finder will find and add your hotel, taking the hotel description from your Google+ Local page, and your rates and availabilities from an OTA or your GDS service provider.

Controlling your listing

Although Google Hotel Finder initially retrieved your hotel data from different sources, one place overrides all your hotel's static data in Google Hotel Finder, and that is Google+ Local.

Therefore, if you don't like your hotel images in Google Hotel Finder (originally they have been provided by VFM Leonardo), would like to extend your hotel description, or have to correct your hotel contact details - just login to your Google+ Local page and correct your listing until it features the information you would like to communicate for your property on Google Hotel Finder.

So if Google+ Local is not already a tool in your hotel's online marketing arsenal, with the offical launch of Google Hotel Finder this is definitely the time now for every hotel marketer to focus on making your Google+ Local page as informative and appealing as possible. This means adding your complete hotel information, including photos, videos, and encouraging reviews from customers, and make your hotel stand out in Google+ Local and Google Hotel Finder from its local competitors.

Googel Hotel Finder guest reviews is a topic we'll cover in greater detail tomorrow as part of this article series on how to optimize your Google Hotel Finder page.

Read also "Google Hotel Finder goes global, gets integrated into Google SERPs"

Markus Busch is Editor/Publisher of Hotelmarketing.com and can be reached at editor'at'hotelmarketing.com.

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