Earlier this summer when Google launched Google+, its social networking site, it was only open to individuals. Last month Google+ announced it was available to businesses and brands are beginning to embrace it.

Why? Right now it appears as though it is primarily a defensive move. Google won’t promise that Google+ will improve a company’s search rankings, but smart marketers are betting on it. They believe it is only a matter of time before Google starts incorporating social signals into website rankings. Having both social and search represents a significant advantage over Facebook. If you were running Google, what would you do?

Google has hundreds of criteria it uses to rank a company’s website. The more emphasis it places on Google+, the number and size of its circles and the interactions and sharing of information the faster it will grow and the more important it will become. And when YouTube videos (another Google enterprise) are shared widely through Google+ who knows what will eventually happen?

A search of hotels and resorts on Google+ shows that there are few early adopters and those that are, are simply re-purposing Facebook posts and not embracing the full power of the social network. That’s OK for now – it’s a start, but more time and effort will be needed going forward.

Several marketers I’ve talked to (outside of hospitality) believe that only a few companies in each category will really embrace Google+ and create a meaningful presence. They believe their efforts will pay off in the long run with higher search rankings leaving competition to play catch-up and rely more on paid search to drive visitors to their sites.

So the question is clear, “Can your hotel really afford to ignore Google+?”

And if your hotel is planning on embracing Google+, please share your thoughts with readers and leave a comment.

For more information on the topic read, “Is Your Hotel Prepared for Google+

Safe travels – 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.

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