It’s important to make sure your Google My Business (GMB) listing is up to date. This information feeds not only Google Hotel Search, but also your Knowledge Panel, which is the information displayed on Google when someone searches for your business by name.
Since Innkeepers are seeing a marked increase in GMB bookings compared to Organic bookings, we wanted to provide this step-by-step checklist to make sure you have completed and are maintaining your Knowledge Panel for any incorrect information.
Innkeepers should review their GMB accounts on a monthly basis and respond to Questions and Reviews ASAP.
Basic Information – Under “Info” Tab in GMB.
Name – This should be your business name only. Do not add directions or taglines like, “Historic Sweetbriar Bed and Breakfast – just a mile from downtown Denver.” Just add the business name: “Sweetbriar Bed and Breakfast.”
Category – You will choose from Google’s predetermined list of categories. This list includes many different lodging options, so make sure you represent your business properly. Do not choose categories for which you are not qualified. For example, if you do weddings but do NOT have a wedding chapel on your property, then don’t list yourself as a wedding chapel. Use “wedding venue” instead.
Address – This should be your street address (no PO Boxes allowed). Again, do not add taglines or directions. If you have alternate addresses, then use your 911 address. If you’re not sure what that is, contact your local 911 authority (local 911 authorities will differ depending on location).
Service Area – Most lodging businesses will not have a service area.
Hours – Hours can be a bit tricky. Many innkeepers choose to display that they are open 24 hours since they have overnight guests. However, other innkeepers prefer to only list the hours they are available to answer phones or are on the premises. Here’s a word of caution to consider. If you list your hours as 9am-5pm (for example), then any time outside those hours your business will be displayed as “not open” in the Google Knowledge Panel.
Add Special Hours – This section is for when you’re closed or have “irregular” business hours. We recommend NOT filling out this section at all. If you mark yourself closed, then you will handicap your placement in Google Travel search results for that day or time period.
Phone Number – Use your local phone number for the Primary Number. If you have a toll-free number, then add that number second.
Add Short Name – Your short name is a newer option that allows you to add a “short-name” and URL for your business, which makes it easier for people to find you. To see how the short name works, paste the following into your browser: g.page/acornis.
Website – Type your full URL. For example: https://acorn-is.com. You may be using a query string for tracking (check with your marketer), which is fine to do, but do not use an alternate URL here for tracking purposes. Google wants to know your true website address.
Hotel Attributes – This section is very important, yet is neglected by many innkeepers. You will have a choice of several property and room details. Make sure to select all of your amenities, but be scrupulously honest. Don’t list something that isn’t on your premises. For example, if you have a deal with a local business to allow your guests to swim there for free, then don’t mark yourself as having a pool. Instead, submit a question about the pool in the Knowledge Panel and then submit an answer with the details. You can also explain the swimming pool option on your website.
Opening Date – Enter either a specific date for the day you opened or just the month and year.
Photos – You have several options for photos, but make sure to add your photos to the right sections. For instance, add your breakfast photos to the “Food and Drink” section, your guest room photos to the “Rooms” section, etc. It’s also important to add new photos fairly frequently.
Any changes you make will show as “Pending” until they are accepted by Google:
Reviews Tab – This is where you can monitor and answer reviews from your guests. It’s very important to keep an eye on your reviews and answer any less favorable ones with a measured, professional management response.
Google Knowledge Panel – The Knowledge Panel displays information about your business. Much of that information comes from Google My Business and some comes from what Google defines as “various sources.” To see your Knowledge Panel, do a search for your business name. You may need to add your city and state if there are other B&Bs with the same name. The Knowledge Panel will appear on the right-hand side of the page.
The first section has information pulled from your GMB submissions as well as other sources. The next section is for OTA availability and is fed according to how you have it set up. This can include OTAs, TripAdvisor, AirBnB, Jackrabbit, etc.
The next main section is “Hotel Details.” Note that this information is not entered by the business owner in GMB. Google pulls this info from various sources. The information in the Amenities section, just below Hotel details, is mostly pulled from your Attributes section in GMB, but can also come from other sources, including reviews.
Next we have the Reviews section. Since Q&A now draws content from reviews, you should clear up any confusion about your inn when answering your reviews.
Another section to keep an eye on is “Know this place?” which allows you to answer quick questions about the business.
The next main section to watch is the Questions and Answers. As the owner, you can and should post questions AND answer them. Post questions that guests often ask you. This section is also a good place to clarify any confusion about your amenities, like the pool example mentioned above. The question could be, “Do you have a pool?” and you could answer, “We don’t have a pool on the premises, but our guests are welcome to use the private country club pool down the street at no extra charge.”
A recent innovation in the Q&A section is when someone starts typing a question. If Google thinks that question is answered in another Answer or Review, then it will display that content to help answer the question. This is another important reason to make sure you respond to reviews to clear up any misinformation.
If you see wrong data in your Hotel Details or business information, you can email Google Support via this form. Fill in all of your information, describe your issue as clearly as possible, and make sure to check the email listed on the form.
We hope this checklist will help you update your business information so it appears correctly on Google and to your potential guests!