Publication Date: 2011-11-25
As we move into the silly season, which is heralded by Christmas Music at the local Starbucks, we are all thinking about closing out the calendar year end and take advantage of the mini high season in December.
To do this, keeping an eye on Google will be important. It seems that Google is making some significant changes that will impact the accommodations industry.
1. Google's search engine is going to start rating new content higher. This will allow people searching for current events to see results that are current, not just old content that matches the keywords and has a lot of inbound links. For example, if you are searching for BCTF (BC Teacher's Federation) job action, you will be more likely see current articles as opposed to past ones. What this means for the accommodations industry is that if you don't put fresh stuff on your own website, you will be ranked lower.
2. Google's Hotel Finder is coming. www.google.com/hotelfinder/
This is huge because they are going to use data on your Place Page from Google Maps and the content within it. However, a lot of accommodations don't have their Place Page claimed and properly updated. To find yourself:
- Go to maps.google.com
- Type in your business name and city
- On the left side you should be able to a link to your business
- Click on the link for your business. This takes you to the Place Page. You will see either "Business Owner?" or a check mark and "Owner-verified listing". If it's not verified, Google does not have enough info for you for the Hotel Finder. This is bad. Our Quokka Boost Service (www.quokkasystems.com/quokkalocalsearch.htm) can quickly have your place page fixed up. Your Google Place Page will becomes as crucial to you as having a phone number.
3. Google + is going to affect you. Google + (or Google Plus) is Google's second attempt at social networking or "making sure Facebook doesn't make too much money." It seems totally likely that Google Place Pages will be connected with Google Plus's business social networking. Therefore if you want anyone to see your own website, it's inevitable that some presence on Google + will be needed.
If you are wondering what to put on your web page that's fresh, the best thing is to keep an eye on what's happening in your location. Any events that might be of interest to your guests can be put on a What's Happening page on your website. The formula is easy:
- Make sure you have date on the piece, preferably in YYYY-MM-DD format (e.g. 2011-12-11 for Dec 12, 2011)
- Put down the details of the event. I.e. location, dates and times of operation, name, and short description of what it is.
- Put down your opinion on the event. If you've been to it before say what you liked about it. If you haven't been to it, express what you'd like to see if you ever could break away from work.
That's it. The advantage of this is that it will make your business look authoritative to potential guests and give them more comfort to book with you.
Robert Ford is a business owner and IT consultant based in Vancouver. Quokka Systems owns and operates a British Columbia Accommodations site and other Canadian Travel sites. Robert@quokkasystems.com