Google Direct Book - Anyone Signing Up?

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Notice that Google is now offering direct book from their search results. 

Obviously they're the latest to get in the OTA game, and I'm sure Ex, Boo and the rest are petrified.

Has anyone signed up? They've got a list of 3rd party providers that offer integration. I've asked Think if they're going to provide it, or if I need to go through a third party. They list about 12 of them on their site. 

 

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PhineasSwann's picture
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The stars don't equate to rankings, they equate to level of services offered. You should check into this. 

We were listed as a 3-star for several years and finally found out that by just noting that we answered our phones 24 hours a day (amazingly, we do) we qualified as having a 24-hour desk and thus could be classified as a four-star hotel. 

That said, while every other site has us as a 4, Google says we're a 3. 

Generic's picture
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Government inspector told us that we were almost a 4, if we made a few small changes... told him that I'm happy not being one.... they attract a different crowd that I don't want.

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BTW
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Any more info on this anyone?  I'm pretty interested ......latest info?   THX

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Arks's picture
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Clicking "read more" just expands the text where you are. It doesn't take you away from my website.

I don't see any way to control which reviews it shows. Google picks the ones it shows. If you get a bad review, you'd have to manually disable the widget and enable it again once that review has scrolled off the list of 5 reviews it shows.

Google displays the 5 "most helpful" reviews. This is set by Google, not the widget. Google checks once every 3 days for new reviews to update the list.

Things you can control:

  • The title text at the top of the review list.
  • How many characters of the review it shows before putting the "read more" link.
  • The height and width of the widget. I left those blank and it just automatically filled the width of my web page sidebar.
  • Can optionally set the background to dark instead of white.
  • And a few more features I haven't investigated.

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Arks's picture
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For years I've had the TA reviews widget on my website sidebar. Now that Google is becoming bigger in the reviews world, I just added a WordPress plugin called Google Reviews Widget, and now my website sidebar also shows my Google Reviews score as well as the first few characters of my most recent Google reviews.

Anon Inn's picture
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My google listing has a 'book' button that goes through to the TA Trip Connect, which would lead back to my site.  So far, so good. I didn't request the 'book' button.  Its just the way they set it up. 

Arks's picture
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Anon Inn wrote:

My google listing has a 'book' button that goes through to the TA Trip Connect, which would lead back to my site.  So far, so good. I didn't request the 'book' button.  Its just the way they set it up. 

This caused me to check my own Google listing, which I hadn't done lately. I don't have a Book button, but do have a "Check Availability" section where they can enter dates and check.

They call me a 4-star hotel. Can't imagine where they got that. I'm 5 stars with my 20 Google reviews. That's better than with the two sons of mothers, of 46 TA reviewers, that only gave my 4 TA stars though they had no complaints!

I hate that at the bottom of my Google listing it lists "People also search for..." and it lists 3 of my local competitors. Oh well, Google gives, google takes away.

Morticia's picture
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Does that allow you to screen reviews so you don't end up with a stinker clinging to the first in list spot for weeks?

Also, if you click to read more does it take you to Google where they try to sell you on a place that pays a commission?

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Generic's picture
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I'm waiting to hear from a company that is (BETA) integrated with MA and handles Google Hotel Ads to see what's up and how it works for those on RK and MA.

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Thanks for the thread.  I reguarly check our Google business page and again after I received an message someone updated the page (they added photos).  I too noticed the things like "'do not rent cars" and others that don't apply.  I have updated several times and changes are not accepted, even after a few days.  I would love to change the Google picture of our property which is many years old before we bought it.  Our web host mentioned a completed business page and positive reviews on the page impacts searches, so they suggested to treat it as important as TA.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Think responded with an automated "we're working on it" message, which I'll paste below. I'm going to give them about a month, and then see about a third party. As much as I don't want to have yet another company to give commissions to, Google is the 800-pound gorilla and I can't be left behind, sadly. 

ThinkReservations is working with Google’s advertisement to allow for direct booking, “Google Hotel Ads”. We’re currently waiting on Google at this point. We don’t have an ETA from them but we’re hopeful we will hear back from them soon so that we can continue down the development path to support Google Hotel Ads. It’s been a long drawn-out process for us as we started reaching out to Google about partnering with them back in 2015 when Google Hotel Ads was released. We’ve made some progress with them recently, however!

Have a great rest of your day!

 

 

Arks's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Google is the 800-pound gorilla... 

They sure are. But their ideas aren't a sure thing. They've had a lot of failures, haven't they. Things that were beat out by better products. I never heard of most of the things on this list. I just found it on...Bing Eye-wink

  • Google+.
  • Orkut.
  • Google Wave.
  • Google Hangouts.
  • Google Answers.
  • Google Catalog Search.
  • Dodgeball.
  • Google Notebook.
  • Google Page Creator.
  • Google Video.
  • Google Glass.
  • Google Knol.
  • Google Offers.
  • Google Web Accelerator.
  • Jaiku.
  • Google Health.
  • Google X.
  • Google Lively.
  • Google Buzz.
  • Nexus Q.
  • Google Reader.
  • iGoogle.
Arks's picture
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Arks wrote:

They sure are. But their ideas aren't a sure thing. They've had a lot of failures, haven't they...

That being said, I just got the latest newsletter from hotel management expert Vikram Singh. The lead story is, "How Google Reviews Is Crushing TripAdvisor". An excerpt:

My latest article is about Google Reviews and how it is taking the lead over TripAdvisor. Optimizing your Google Reviews presence needs to be a priority for anyone running a location-focused business. Hotels and B&Bs are as location-centric as it gets. I also outline how TripAdvisor is slipping into the dark territory Yelp now occupies in the restaurant industry.

Based on this, I spent about 30 minutes updating my "Google My Business" page, adding updated photos (last ones I added were 5 years ago), added amenities, business hours, etc. that I hadn't bothered with back when they seemed less important than TA.

ChrisandShelley's picture
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I need to be more active in this as well. We have a link to our Google Review page in our post stay survey email, but I want to get more aggressive in asking for Google Reviews.

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The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

Morticia's picture
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I just read that same article and made a note for tomorrow!

What did you put for business hours? That one stumps me. Is it the time during which I'll answer the phone? That seems the best bet, except then you get people who think they can't check in after 9 pm or they can check in at 9 am!

ChrisandShelley's picture
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I put 9 am to 8 pm as this is when I would rather answer the phone or the door. We will always have late check ins, but they usually call and ask about it.

Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I just read that same article and made a note for tomorrow!

What did you put for business hours? That one stumps me. Is it the time during which I'll answer the phone? That seems the best bet, except then you get people who think they can't check in after 9 pm or they can check in at 9 am!

Isn't Vikram Singh good! And free! I loved his lecture at AIHP a few years ago.

I put 24/7 hours because people can arrive anytime. Callers get voice mail. Texters get a response as soon as I see the text, which might be the next morning.

But it said hours will be verified before they are posted live. I don't know how they do that, or why they care so much!

Morticia's picture
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I logged in this morning because we had a review. Got the message that some of my info had been updated by a user and I should verify it.

 

Nothing is highlighted so I have no idea what's changed!

Morticia's picture
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Morticia wrote:

Nothing is highlighted so I have no idea what's changed!

Oh, this is what changed - someone added that we don't rent cars. Really?

There must be some sort of point system out there for adding info to pages.

Awhile ago someone went in and checked off we don't have a bar. Just leave it alone already! No laundry service, not kid friendly, a whole bunch of things. No concierge, no money laundering, um, money exchange.

ChrisandShelley's picture
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There is a point system for Local Guides. I am considered a Local Guide because my ID is verified, but I don't really get into the point system. Who am I competing against? Is there a prize for the most points? Who cares? I do like the fact that when I submit changes, they are put through pretty quickly, especially for Google Maps. I really need to get my 360 camera up and running and update our Street View.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Based on this thread, I just spent the morning updating my Goo My Biz. I also have the Do Not Rent cars and have no idea where that came from either. I wanted to edit my amenities and the only thing it said I could edit was wheechair info - all rooms are upstairs wheelchair is N/A since I do not have an elevator (1912 house did not come with those). And although I have a ramp, you are NOT getting to any rooms or bathrooms.

Now I need to know how to get rid of my personal goo page or do I want to just leave that alone?

Anon Inn's picture
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https://www.mirai.com/blog/book-on-google-1-of-4-what-it-is-and-how-the-client-see-it/ 

I found this article.  Looks like cancellation requests directed to the lodging establishment, not handled by Google.  

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

That's what the guest see in re a cancellation. I think the hotel still pays the commission.

Morticia's picture
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Check what their cancellation policy is. I heard it's all in the guests favor. I haven't actually looked at it myself.

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