The Map Gap: Is your hotel getting lost on the web?

September 23, 2014 • By

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyPlease excuse this statement of the obvious:

If guests can’t find your property, they can’t stay with you.

These days, “finding you” starts long before they jump in a cab and affects more than their ability to make it to your front desk.

With Google’s recent updates and the growing importance of local search listings, ubiquitous map presence has become a critical component of hotel internet marketing.

Recent changes to Google’s local search algorithms allow the omnipotent search engine giant to look more closely at location details. Now, Google searches are more accurate when it comes to distance and ranking. And if you want to compete, your map presence must be current and accurate across all major local search directories and mapping tools.

Fortunately, improving your map presence is relatively simple compared to other SEO tips:

Start with Creating a CONSISTENT Map Identity

Wherever you publish your property location, make sure your property name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed exactly as they are shown on your contact page of your website:

Your map identity should include:

  1. NAP: consistent name, address, phone across all mapping tools.
  2. Up-to-date contact information and operational hours. (Don’t assume operational hours for your hotel are listed as 24 hours. Somebody may be searching for your restaurant hours. This is the time to check.)
  3. Use location and product keywords in your title. (Instead of saying, The Clubhouse, call yourself, The Clubhouse Resort of Tampa.)
  4. Choose a few visually arresting photos that represent your property well.

2 Key Places to Update Your Map Identity

Now that you have a consistent, accurate identity, you only need to update it in two main places. Most online maps are controlled by HERE (formerly known as Navteq) or Google My Business.

  1. HERE is a mapping service that feeds information to Yahoo! Maps, Bing, and GPS services, including Garmin, Lowrance, and NDrive. To change information with HERE, go to their website. Go to Map Creator. Find your location and right click. Choose Report Map changes. Make your changes and send.
  2. Google My Business is the marriage of Google Places and Google+ dashboard. The combination makes updating your information even easier. It also makes having current information more important. Chances are you’re already on Google My Business. But now is the time to check your map identity on the site. While you’re on their page, double check the pictures that represent your property. Change old photos out for newer, better quality pictures.

Here are a couple of insider secrets to getting the most out of your Google My Business Listing:

  1. Be sure to get your Google My Business Listing verified. If there’s no check mark next to your page name, then it’s not verified, which means google has NOT recognized the page as the official listing. Sometimes it can be a bit of a process. The quickest way to get the page verified is to simply Call Google Places Support directly. You’ll get someone on the phone almost immediately. They’ll ask you some questions and make sure you are the official representative. While you’ve got them on the phone, have them search for any duplicate pages and merge them. They’ll do it happily, as it only benefits them to have real and accurate listings. This is also a great option if you’re having any trouble claiming and/or getting access to your page!
  2. Be sure to connect your Google My Business page to your website using these instructions so that your Google Plus/Google My Business listing turns up in google searches along with your website. If done correctly, your most recent Google Plus posts will start turning up in search results. It will also give your Pay Per Click advertising team some additional advertising options. Once you’ve connected the two, check back in a few days to make sure a second check mark shows up next to the url in your listing.

Automating your mapping and local listings

New services from Neustar and Moz make it easy to avoid falling into the map gap. These affordable services allow you to create and edit your listing in one place, then publish it to hundreds of sources simultaneously.

Now that you know how easy it is to give yourself the online map advantage, check your identity today!

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com