Late last month Google introduced Place Search – a new local search service that automatically organizes information around places. It is going to have a profound effect on your hotel. Are you ready?

Place Search clusters search results around specific destinations so, as Google says, people “can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go.” The key phrase here is, “easily make comparisons.”

In the past when someone searched for, say, “New York Hotels,” Google would provide a list of the top ranked hotels along with a map showing top ranked ones. Very cool – especially if your SEO was working and your hotel ranks near the top.

Google has now gone one step further. As you can see in the screen shot below, the New York Marriott Downtown is the #1 ranked NY hotel and appears on the Google Map. Look closely now and you can see Google also shows the hotel has 448 reviews on its “Place page.”

When a web searcher clicks on the Place page link they are taken to a single page summary of the Marriott Downtown. There they can see contact information, a web link, photos and details about the property.

But are you ready for this? Google also provides a snapshot summary of guest reviews from TripAdvisor, Igougo, Zagats, Yelp, Priceline and even Google users. They can easily see what people are saying about your hotel.

Instantly a potential guest can compare hotels and decide which ones belong in their consideration set. A couple of clicks and they will be able to find a hotel that best fits their needs – one in the right location in the right price range and the one with the best overall reviews. All this information about your hotel and web searchers  don’t even have to click to your beautiful, fully optimized website.

There’s a good chance that once consumers catch on to Google Place Search they are going to love it. It will save time and just as Google states, “will make comparisons easy.”

Having a web site that is fully search engine optimized so your hotel appears on page one for key search phrases will continue to be critically important. But it will not be enough.

To be at the top of a potential guest’s consideration set your hotel will need to provide good value and a superior guest experience. It will also need a well thought out plan to get satisfied guests to post positive reviews. So, how effective is your current TripAdvisor strategy?

Google Search and Google Place pages will have a profound impact on your hotel.

Are you ready?  Let me know what you think.

Madigan Pratt

AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt

Madigan Pratt is President of MP&A Digital & Advertising, an award-winning agency helping luxury hotels attract and retain profitable customers. Principals with over 60 years of collective experience at some of the world's largest advertising and direct marketing companies lead the agency's team of marketing, creative, public relations, Internet and social media professionals.

  • We have come to call it a Tripadvisor strategy but actually it should be called customer perception, since Google is going to aggregate more and more sources of information which in the end could be the new Tripadvisor. I agree that in the end of the day it’s how much service and care that the hotel gives which ranks it. And that google is taking that as an important criteria is great since it overrides the big budget SEO work and puts the focus where it belongs – SERVICE!

    November 9, 2010
  • Good post! Today I talk about the possibility, or needs, about a wide strategy to “expand” a brand for a hotel, B&B or a rental vacation to comunicate its message to all possible guests.
    In Italy – and I think in the world – there’s a discussion on the focus tripadvisor but I think that the best practice for a hospitaly owner is to care for the guest…
    If an owner can make appreciate his hotel to the guests, then the guests go and tells about their good or best experience… and the effect of this “natural buzz” will come on or double the benefits for the hotel…
    Maybe, today, some owner think that rhwir activities is only on line… maybe it’s not reallt true… The hardest or their activities is off line yet, close the core business and – maybe – they don’t know it…
    Sorry for my bad english…
    Have you got a good day from Italy 🙂

    November 25, 2010
  • Matt Ulinski

    Madigan, great article. personally I think this is going to be huge. Unfortunatly, if your hotel doesn’t have a grasp on SEO especially Google in particular, they’re sunk. When looking for a hotel, buying a new pair of shoes or looking for a lasagna recipe google is the goto and can potentially make or break. I think it will be standard practice to view Google Place’s data before making a reservation and any competitive hotel needs an action plan.

    February 22, 2011

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