First – The Success!
I recently received the following E-mail from Scott Thomas at the Brewster House in Freeport, Maine. We had the opportunity to meet Scott and his wife Ruth at the PAII conference in Nashua, Maine in the fall of last year, 2009. This is what he had to share about his Google Local (Map) Listing, and the changes we recommended he try to help achieve higher placement.
I attribute it to two changes, both at your (Acorn’s) suggestion:
- putting the Google map on the front page of our site.
- putting the address and phone number in the footer in the format you suggested.
During the Fall 2009 PAII conference in Nashua Acorn Internet Services was chosen to present a “Hands-On” session (with innkeepers bringing their laptops and following along LIVE) where we used the following online tools for innkeepers to be able to interactively claim their Google Local Listings, and then learn the 20+ things that drive your listing higher in placement, and the 5+ that can harm your placement.
Google Local Business Listings – The Basics
Google Local Business Listings – Advanced Techniques
A brief side note: From time to time I hear and read: “It’s all about how many Reviews you have that place you high in the Local Listings”. This is NOT TRUE. Yes, reviews do have impact, but they aren’t the one and only element that places an Inn high in the Local (MAP) Listings. See the Advanced Technique Link above to learn more.
Second – A Bit of History
Acorn Internet Services has and continues to be a huge proponent of Innkeepers learning how to CLAIM THEIR LISTINGS, and then actually DOING IT!
As I think back, it was almost a year ago (February 2009) that I went to Jay Karen of PAII, and literally begged for this topic to be added to the Atlanta Georgia PAII Speaker Agenda.
(I’m pretty sure all my E-mails explaining one way and then another WHY this topic just had to be covered was driving Jay NUTS. I tend to not give up when I believe that something is really important!)
I remember combing through the list of inns registered to attend this conference, and when I determined that over 50% had NOT claimed their listing, realized the enormity of the situation. But sadly, it was not meant to be.
So, in lieu of a PAII session, we determined that everyone on our Acorn IS team that attended the Atlanta Georgia PAII conference would make it their #1 Goal during any conversation with any Innkeeper to share with them that they needed to CLAIM THEIR LISTING!
I am very pleased to report that this year, this same topic is on the Austin Texas PAII class agenda. It will be hands on, and is currently titled “Find It, Claim It and BE SEEN in Google Local!” So if you are planning on attending the PAII conference this year in Texas, remember to pack your laptop and come to this session.
Also, it’s important to note that even if you claimed your listing last year, there are many, many new opportunities that can help you climb in the ranks that we will share at this session!
If you are not planning on attending the Austin, TX conference this year, you may also learn these techniques by joining in on the March 23rd Google Local Listing Webinar (10:00 MTN)
Finally – Today and the Future…
In 2009, Google Local Listings have become integral parts of many of Google’s New Features.
- Place Pages – If you own an Inn, you have a Local Listing which is also your Place Page, you may not have claimed it yet – but you have a Local Listing out there.
- Google Favorite Places – Google chose 100,000 Favorite Places and shipped Decals to them. Read more Here.
- Coupons – Coupons may be set up in your Local Listing account and show up on Google Maps and Mobile Phones and are pending to soon have their own “clip now” icon on the Map to drive people to your “Special Coupon” deals.
- A Short “30 Day” Message Display – Google Local now allows you to have a short message that will show up on your Local listing below your business info. Great for last minute ideas and happenings.
- A Verified Badge – So your guests know you have updated information and it’s not old or invalid.
- Videos, Photos and Maps that connect you to an area and support your Local listings.
- Call 1-800-GOOG-411 and an automated attendant will provide your information (if you are at the top of your City Map List) to any caller.
- And last, but not least, we are finding 25-30% of all BOOKINGS tracked with IAK (Intell-a-Keeper, an Acorn IS booking tracking program) are being seen in larger cities where inns are showing up in A-G. These Inns have filled out their local listings for x-referencing additional search phrases, use all opportunities in Google Local, etc. THIS IS HUGE, when guests are searching for those phrases. People who show up are Booking Rooms.
So, if you have already jumped on the Google Local Listing band wagon in the last year, make sure you have all the “Newest” features installed, and if you haven’t yet claimed your listing, don’t wait. You are missing out on valuable FREE advertising that is only going to continue to grow in 2010.
President and Co-Founder
Acorn Internet Services, Inc.
Educating our Industry One Innkeeper at at Time!