Tips to improve your Google business listing

Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business on Google search and maps. From your Google My Business (GMB) you can update your business profile and engage with guests.

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is at the heart of Google bookings, managing this will increase your visibility on Google and give guests greater trust in your business.

By keeping a great business profile you’re giving Google all the data they need to trust your business, which means they’ll make you more visible than those they’re “not so sure about”.

Google is always looking for content and they’ll take it from anywhere, including the OTAs, so if you’re not providing it then you’ll have little or no influence over what’s shown to guests.  Managing your Google My Business gives you more control.

3 Key things Google really loves:


1) Complete hotel information including all available amenities.

2) Regular updates to your business profile, like adding quality photos.

3) Reviews that are read and responded to by you (the more the better).

Google uses this information and activity to understand and measure just how engaged you are with your guests. Google’s business is about providing what their visitors are looking for – relevant, original and up to date information….at speed.

So, by managing your hotel information you’re giving Google many great reasons to make you more visible on their Search and Maps.

Most businesses already have Google My Business but if you don’t then do it now here:
Sign up for Google My Business – Google My Business Help

If you haven’t logged into your Google My Business for a while then here are a few things that you can do now to improve it.

Is your Google My Business listing 100% accurate?

Your details must be 100% correct – use exactly the same format for your business name, address and contact information across all your internet listings.  This makes it easier for Google to map and trust your listing because they can check and exactly match it to other listings.

Make sure you have the right business category (Hotel, B&B etc.).

Your Google Maps location is as precise as it can be.

Check the Hotel Attributes section to ensure your hotel listings, services and amenities are up to date and complete. Google looks at these to decide when to show you in search results, especially when guests use a filter i.e. pet friendly, free wifi, parking, room details etc.  If you’ve never provided or set these attributes they will have been set by the OTAs. You can update and modify them but it can take a while before they are updated.

Use your listing to provide as much information as possible, so as well as amenities there’s the opportunity to add your COVID-19 policy, property highlights, property rating, check in time, policies etc.  Make sure you’ve added in all the details.

A fully updated business page is more likely to be shown to potential bookers and therefore get more bookings.

To login select Manage on this page: Google My Business – Drive Customer Engagement on Google

Reviews help you engage with guests

The more engaged businesses are with their guests the more likely their content is accurate and up to date. Simply put, it shows “you care” about the guest experience – which suits Google, they know businesses with current and relevant content engage more with their guests so get more clicks. The guest wins, the hotel wins and Google wins.

Reviews are critical here, get as many as you can on Google.  Many of you will have seen Google’s many review adverts on TV encouraging the public to review local businesses on Google – they are a clear indication of the value Google places on reviews.

Reply to every review you can. Responding to reviews builds trust, indeed guests view hotels that respond to reviews as nearly 2x’s more trustworthy than those who don’t.

Note: Google also imports reviews from other sites, like the OTAs and you won’t be able to reply to these so encourage your guests to review you directly on Google.

Answer questions from potential guests in the Q & A section and in some countries you can chat directly with them before they book.

Regular updates keeps your content current

Add more high quality photos and videos to keep things fresh and promote your best services.

Check your photos regularly and remove your old photos.

Photos play a huge role when guests are deciding where to book so make sure the gallery always makes you look enticing. You can report poor quality photos added by other users (including guests).

Add changes or updates to property or processes i.e. your increased hygiene standards, special check in procedures or local food and restaurants.

If you are not actively managing your Google My Business page, you should be!  It is now even easier to manage via their GMB app.

If you can provide this information along with real-time prices and availability (Google’s free booking links) you’re going to reach guests when they’re ready to book and benefit from more direct bookings!

You’ll find more information here: Google My Business – Drive Customer Engagement on Google

And here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/9177814?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=9178355

Celebrating TripAdvisor’s Best of the Best 2021

TripAdvisor awards 2021 – Best of the Best Use freetobook

Tripadvisor awards 2021
Best of the best on Tripadvisor

Congratulations and jubilations to all of the UK properties that have been featured in this year’s Travellers’ Choice Awards. We all know the incredible hard work and effort that’s required to achieve excellent guest feedback so it’s wonderful that you have been acknowledged for this. We have also spotted some of freetobook’s international properties highlighted in this year’s awards, again a huge round of applause. We are so very proud to be working with each and every one of you. (full list at the bottom of the blog with links to accommodation, if we have missed you out let us know in the helpdesk and we will add you in)

While we can’t claim any of the credit for the hard work that went into earning these fabulous reviews and awards, freetobook does provide the smooth running, all-in-one booking solution that provides seamless guest service and frees up properties owners to focus on what’s important to their guests – top notch hospitality.

If you too want to get into the top hotel or B&B listings on TripAdvisor or Google here are a few tips about how to handle reviews in articles that we posted some time ago …

**Best B&B & Inns Category**
The Toulson (World Number One)
The Torcroft (World Number Three – UK Number Two)
Dorset House (World Number Four – UK Number Three)
Torlinnhe Guesthouse (World Number Six – UK Number Four)
Haven Cottage (World Number Twelve – UK Number Five)
Avenue Guest House (UK Number Thirteen)
Rudha-Na-Craige (UK Number Twenty Two)

France
La Villa De Mazamet (France Number Twenty Four)

**Best Small Hotels***
The Ship Inn (UK Number Eight)
Rowborough Hotel (UK Number Twenty One)

TripConnect Instant Booking a Global First

Freetobook is TripConnect Instant Booking’s First Approved Partner – Worldwide first in technology.

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

Press release (September 15 2014 – Glasgow)

Freetobook, one of the UK’s leading travel technology companies, announced today that it is the first Internet Booking Engine to be a fully approved and certified partner for the upcoming TripConnect instant booking feature from TripAdvisor.

TripConnect instant booking is being developed to increase direct bookings for independent hotels and scheduled to launch officially later this year. This instant booking will enable accommodation owners worldwide to leverage approved connectivity partners, such as Freetobook, to update rates and availability and take bookings directly into their online diary.

The TripConnect instant booking API has been approved and tested and Freetobook will enrol a select few customers in a live beta test ahead of the full launch when the feature will be available to the global independent hotel sector.

Its exciting to be at the forefront of this new development. We are looking forward to getting our customers’ feedback in the first instance before TripConnect instant booking is rolled out globally,” says freetobook’s Director Iain Stewart. “

Other blogs and links about freetobook TripAdvisor connection

What is TripConnect ?

More TripAdvisor reviews automatically

What is Trip Connect the video ?

Reply to reviews for a 21% booking boost

Say something back to your customers

TripAdvisor research* finds that accommodation owners that respond to their reviews benefit with more booking enquiries, they say 21% more likely.

Ever been an ignored customer at a coffee bar or restaurant, seen but just not important enough to respond to? Well that’s how it looks when a customer reads your reviews and finds no responses. They have to assume you don’t care as much as the properties that do take the time to respond.

Perhaps you are extremely busy or don’t need the bookings, so just like the coffee bar,  ignored customers will go and find somewhere they believe does care. According to TripAdvisor’s research it’s exactly what happens, they say up to 21% more bookings go to properties that take the time to respond.

When you do answer reviews (both the good and bad) it *shows* …..bang ! right there and then in front of them – this accommodation is engaged, caring, listening. Displaying this level of engagement is of course

Review sharing widget for hotels

quite different from just *saying* it on your website or in emails.  If you really want customers to believe it then you have to find ways of *showing* it. The ability to respond to reviews is a marketing gift so use it to show how engaged you are.

You might not love TripAdvisor but can you afford to ignore them ? They undoubtedly have a vested interest in getting you, the property owner, to engage with their site (respond to reviews) but even with this in mind we still agree that reviews count.

At freetobook we have been developing review and feedback technology for years, you can already tweet, facebook or place your freetobook reviews on your website and of course you can respond to them. Our customers can make full use of these and many more functions in their “Home” tab by clicking “Reviews” on the orange bar. If you are not yet a customer, what are you waiting for? Join up today for free, no risk and let us show you what you are missing at freetobook.

Related blog articles from the past

Share your reviews online for direct bookings

10 Tips on managing good and bad reviews

Customer reviews a winning strategies

Review Express by TripAdvisor

* TripAdvisor press release Sep 3, 2014

Share your reviews online

Freetobook review sharing widget

Share hotel reviews
Share your Reviews

Isn’t it great to get fantastic reviews! You work so hard looking after your customers, naturally they give you fabulous feedback that influences potential future guests. To find your reviews in freetobook simply go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Share your great reviews with the world. Freetobook is about to release a new review sharing system so you can get your reviews out there and read by potential guests.

Sharing reviews is easy with :

  • a simple to install review widget for your website, available in a variety of formats and the ability to resize and customise colours
  • freetobook’s new “click here to share” a review instantly on facebook and twitter.
  • linked to your booking system for instant direct bookings.

Review sharing widget for hotels
Review sharing widget various sizes

It gets better…each review widget will give guests instant access to your freetobook reviews and link them directly to your booking system, making it easy for impressed customers to make a direct commission free booking there and then.

Keep an eye open for the launch of the new review sharing system… another great idea from freetobook giving you more for less. As soon as the review sharing system is available you will find it in the same place as your current reviews – go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Social Media review sharing for hotels
Social Media review sharing

We expect to launch the new review sharing system before Christmas 2013 so it won’t be long before you can show off all your best reviews across your website and social media platforms.

In the spirit of sharing please feel free to tell others about your experience of freetobook the internet booking engine with more for less.

Get more TripAdvisor Reviews automatically

Fast, free and easy way to get more TripAdvisor reviews.

TripAdvisor for Business
Business Services from TripAdvisor

With freetobook you always get a competitive advantage from our cutting edge technology that keeps you in control and fully armed with a variety of tools and services, all created to maximise your bookings, marketing and reputation.

TripAdvisor Review Express
Review Express automated TripAdvisor reviews

Using this new function freetobook gives you the option of connecting TripAdvisor’s automated review request system to your customer’s email address and checkout date. If you opt into this service (in your TripAdvisor account) then TripAdvisor will be given all of your customer’s email addresses along with their checkout dates (future bookings). If you authorise TripAdvisor they will then send out automated review requests after your customer has checked out.

This service is available free of charge to all freetobook customers. It is available to all accommodation properties except those listed as Vacation Rentals by TripAdvisor.

How do I switch on Review Express automatic emails ?

1. Simply login to your TripAdvisor account on TripAdvisor’s website, click on the “Review Express” logo and select the “Send Emails Automatically” TAB (there is no need to contact freetobook).

2. Agree the Review Express conditions and confirm that freetobook is your internet booking engine.

That’s it! This is a do it yourself service and there is no need to contact freetobook.

How does Review Express work ?

If you have agreed the terms on TripAdvisor then freetobook will check all of your future bookings and send the email address and the checkout date for each booking. TripAdvisor will use this data to send automated review request emails to your customers a few days after they have checked out. (note this service is completely optional, no data is sent without your authorisation)

How much does it cost ?

Freetobook makes no charge for this service and TripAdvisor do not charge. It is a do it yourself service, simply opt in by logging into TripAdvisor, no need to contact freetobook.

What freetobook does when you sign up to Review Express.

Review Express example email
Example of an automated review request

Within 24hours of signing up to Review Express the freetobook system will automatically send TripAdvisor the guest email addresses and checkout date for all your future bookings. If a booking is later modified we send TripAdvisor the new data. If a booking is cancelled we let TripAdvisor know not to send an automated review.

TripAdvisor have let us know that if a property later opts out of Review Express they will not send any automated reviews using the data you have given them access to. You opt out from your TripAdvisor account and freetobook will know within 24hours.

Freetobook provides the Review Express service automatically there is no need to contact us as the service is activated using your TripAdvisor account. Like many services offered by freetobook it is free and optional. Freetobook also offer some premium paid for services like Channel Management and Mobile Website and Booking – find out more.

Click here to visit TripAdvisor’s page and find out more about Review Express

What is TripConnect ?

TripConnect now live World-Wide for Hotels, B&Bs and Guest Houses

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

As of today independent hotels, bed and breakfasts from all corners of the world can advertise directly for bookings on TripAdvisor. Owners will be able to drive direct bookings with zero commission from their TripAdvisor pages. They will be able to bid for clicks on a PayPerClick basis.

This is nothing short of a revolution in the way TripAdvisor promotes accommodation, a new way to get direct bookings.

TripConnect video

If you are a property owner you can use the TripConnect system to show real-time rates and availability with a booking button for the customer to complete the booking.

What will you need for TripConnect to work ?

1. An approved Internet Booking Engine (IBE) like freetobook.

2. A business listing with TripAdvisor

3. A TripConnect account to pay for your clicks

When you have all three of the above you can set your PayPerClick budget and get started. You will be able to set a daily cap on your spend and you can do it for as long as you want. TripAdvisor will give you a forecast for monthly spend so you get an idea of costs.

What is TripConnect ?
TripConnect Premium Partner

As each booking comes in freetobook will show you that it came from TripConnect. You will also get a report from TripConnect showing your click costs and the booking revenue you achieved. This way you will be able to analyse the return on your advertising spend.

Freetobook is a Premium partner of TripConnect and can offer the service worldwide. If you already have a freetobook account you just need to contact TripConnect to setup your account. If you don’t yet work with freetobook this is an ideal time to signup.

 

 

More information on TripConnect click here

To signup with freetobook click here

To register with TripConnect click here

 

 

TripConnect PayPerClick vs Google

Hotels will switch adverts from Google to TripConnect

Google will lose PayPerClick advertising revenue to TripConnect.

Google PayPerClick vs. TripConnect
TripConnect PayPerClick vs Google

In the real world of limited marketing budgets one company’s gain will be another’s loss. The much awaited TripConnect system is a new way for properties to spend advertising money. (previous blog What is TripConnect ?)

Here at freetobook we are predicting Google will lose advertising revenue from property owners. We are already getting a significant number of property owners telling us they plan to switch their Pay Per Click budgets onto TripConnect. It makes total sense to us when you look at the logic, if your money is limited it is probably better spent on TripAdvisor’s new TripConnect system.

Why is Google Pay Per Click inferior to TripConnect ?

1.Google Pay Per Click is wasteful : TripConnect will not show adverts when the property is unavailable. The TripConnect system checks availability and rates with the properties Internet Booking Engine (IBE) before showing the advert. By comparison Google Pay Per Click adverts are not “availability dependent” and will always show, costing clicks when a property is unavailable.

2.Direct into the booking process: TripConnect puts the customer directly into the booking process cutting out wasted time spent browsing, you have all the information to make the purchase…. price, price comparison, availability and a quality ranking. A Google advert provides none of these.

3.Customer purchase point: When a potential customer is searching on TripAdvisor they are beyond the simple Google search “London Hotels” they are looking for “Which London hotel” where would you rather put your money ?

4.Easy ROI Tracking: TripConnect has built in tracking to show bookings completed alongside the costs so properties can easily tack their Return On Investment (ROI). Yes, Google has their analytics but they can require some specialist knowledge TripConnect tells a property what they want to know booking revenue vs. advertising costs.

5.Content rich : A TripAdvisor TripConnect advert is on the property’s TripAdvisor page, content and context rich.

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

The battle for Pay Per Click advertising revenue from accommodation owners is going to get more interesting with the launch of TripConnect. The freetobook Internet Booking Engine (IBE) is a premium partner of TripConnect so all our customers will be able to participate in TripConnect right from the start.

Our guess is that Google Hotel Finder will be watching TripConnect with their data microscope, after all not even Google wants to see their click revenue start to shrink. However, the lack of connectivity to the world’s property owners, their booking engines and inferior review data are three weaknesses they would need to rectify before a realistic chase can commence on TripConnect.

TripConnect premium partner with freetobook

TripConnect and freetobook Worldwide Premium Partners

What is TripConnect ?

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

TripConnect is a new service, not yet live, offered by TripAdvisor (due to launch late 2013). If a property is using freetobook they will be able to advertise rates, availability and receive bookings on TripAdvisor.

The main points about TripConnect.

You need to have:

1. An Internet Booking Engine (freetobook) with Premium Partner status. (If you don’t have a freetobook account register here today)

2. An active business listing with TripAdvisor

What will happen when I have a freetobook account and a business listing with TripAdvisor ?

  1. You will be able to advertise on a Pay Per Click basis with TripAdvisor using TripConnect.
  2. Pay for clicks so your advertisement with show and TripConnect will report which clicks have returned bookings.
  3. TripConnect will show you the value of the bookings and your costs so you can calculate your ROI (Return on Investment).
  4. Click costs will be determined by the TripConnect system, you will be able to login to TripConnect and see the costs, switch the advert on or off, cap the amount and the period the advert runs for.
  5. The email address of all customers that have made a booking will be added to the Review Express system, all guests that book will automatically receive an invitation to add a review to TripAdvisor.

What happens next ?

You will need to wait for the TripConnect system to go live (late 2013). If you don’t yet have a booking system this would be an ideal time to register and start using freetobook.

If you don’t have a freetobook account you can register here today !

We will continue to post updates on the TripConnect system on this blog, our facebook page, twitter and by email newsletter. You can also find out more about TripConnect from TripAdvisor themselves – for their latest info go to TripAdvisor Insights

What is TripConnect ?
What is TripConnect ? Example

article 6 Things to know about TripConnect 

3 Tips from TripAdvisor

Tips directly from TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Tips
TripAdvisor Tips

You can stumble across myriad views and opinions about TripAdvisor but here is a blog based on on a recent article directly from TripAdvisor.

 

There is a difference between “TripAdvisor rating” and “TripAdvisor ranking”

Your “TripAdvisor rating” is based on reviews this rating is 1-5 with 5 being the highest. Your “TripAdvisor ranking” is formed from your rating when compared with other nearby properties.

Tips from TripAdvisor

1) How to increase your TripAdvisor ranking ?

TripAdvisor says “The better your ratings – and the more recent your reviews – the higher your property’s TripAdvisor ranking can potentially go.”

They are not giving away the exact method or algorithm of ranking (you can’t expect them to) however it is clear that you should get more reviews and make sure they are good reviews to rise up the rankings.

2) Embrace and respond to negative reviews

Don’t ignore or hide away from negative reviews. Research shows “84% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel”

It is a good policy to respond to reviews (in an appropriate manner) as it shows that you value feedback and that you are trying to provide the best possible experience.

3) Do NOT offer incentives for reviews

TripAdvisor says “Incentives, like offering vouchers or upgrades in exchange for writing a review, actually violate TripAdvisor rules because special treatment or discounts can hinder the validity and accuracy of a guest’s reviews”

They will remove reviews they think have received an incented and penalties can be imposed on the ranking as well as not being eligible for their awards.

Freetobook is connected to TripAdvisor pay per click advertising see previous blog

 

TripAdvisor book now button
TripAdvisor Show Prices button can link to your property