One of the most recent review sites for social travelers bridges the gap between search and social, offering free advertising for businesses worldwide. Google+ Local is a busy business owner’s dream with low-maintenance, easy access and wide exposure from a simple listing. The reviews can be accessed through a number of different entry points, making it a top destination before a traveler reaches your website. Web surfers can search through the Google Search or through Google+ Local located on the sidebar of the Google+ social network.
If you aren’t the home of frequent social travelers, the easiest way to gain an online review with credibility is to encourage happy customers to review on Google+ Local. The reviews are posted by Google users, which means a higher probability that the visitor can post about your property. Visitors don’t have to create an account on Yelp, TripAdvisor or Foursquare before providing the feedback.
Google Places is Google+ Local
To put it into visual perspective, here’s an example of how a person searches through the Google Search engine. Without leaving the first page of the search for “hotels in Coronado beach, California,” you can hover over to display the basics of the business’s Google Places page.
For the other entry point, here’s a screenshot of what the social user signed into their Google+ account will see. First, they can click on the local button in the sidebar and click search. The results are the Google+ Local pages with the most recent review and the current Zagat rating if the business has one. After clicking on the desired location, all the reviews are displayed as well as pictures and basic information about the business. This is also where businesses can click to claim or manage the page.
It’s important to note that the Google+ Places is page is different than a Google+ Business Page. Business pages are also free, but serve more as a Facebook page instead of the Google Places Page. The Places Page is home to all the local reviews acquired through Google and Zagat. You’ll also notice the blue link to click on more reviews directly under the Page basics. After the web surfer clicks there, they are directed to the full Google Places Page inside Google+ Local. From the Google+ Local listing, the user can click to your Website and book their vacation! The path is simple if you gain enough reviews on your Google+ Local listing.
Google+ Local paired with Zagat in September, 2011, offering trusted, local scores and reviews from people in the surrounding area. Based on a worldwide network of reviewers, Zagat has become the world's most trusted source to help consumers make informed decisions about restaurants, hotels, attractions and other leisure activities. Today, Zagat provides consumer survey-generated reviews in more than 100 countries worldwide, with more than 350,000 reviews and is internationally respected as a symbol of quality.http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/local/
Another Google acquisition to make note of is the popular Frommer's Travel Guide. The scoring method used on Frommer's Travel review is combined with Zagat's scoring system, ending up with a score reflecting the average of all user reviews on Google+ Local. Take a look at the example below to have a better understanding of the average scoring method. To read more about Frommer's Travel Guide and the scoring method, visit http://www.frommers.com/about/
Overall, Google+ Local is one of the best places to encourage customer reviews. Business owners can upload photos, respond to customer reviews and post important information on the free Places page. It has all the characteristics of the other social review sites, with less clicks, no advertising and no unnecessary filters.
Let’s face it, with Google, you can’t go wrong. The search engine giant truly nailed the combination of local, search and social with quality reviews on Google+ Local.
We hope you enjoyed our four part series on The Top Review Sites for Social Travelers. Feel free to post in the comments if you have any questions! Get out there and get those reviews!
RezStream Hospitality Tips: Google+ Local
- Claim & verify your Google+ Local listing.
- Fill out as much information as possible including:
- Add unique description featuring the targeted keyword phrase
- Feature a local phone number as opposed to an 800 number.
- Use a local physical address versus a PO Box.
- Add as many relevant categories to your listing as possible.
- Encourage engagement on the page featuring images and positive reviews.
- Focus attention on quality, quantity & velocity!