Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What is Google Hotel Finder?

Google Hotel Finder allows your prospective guests to view hotels on line (it does what it says on the can). However the things I particularly like about it are
  • The map – I click on a hotel in a list and it shows me exactly it’s location.
Google Hotel Finder

  • I can expand or contract my search geographically by time on foot, by car or train.
  • I can use filters, for instance on price, class, amenities, rating
  • I can choose dates for the stay.
  • I can compare prices and also compare prices for different dates.
  • I can book on line through the usual suspects (in the UK Expedia etc) through links on the page.
  • Everything I need is there consolidated on one page in an instant.
  • It works on mobile and tablet.
To me what’s most powerful about this, is the use of the map plus the way the hotels are consolidated onto one page and that’s what gives a good user experience.
The Google branding is less intrusive than some online travel agents and this means as a hotelier you can have a better and a more direct branding engagement with your customer up to the point of booking.
Once you are on Hotel Finder, how do you get up the rankings? Well it’s not exactly clear. It never is! We’ve done some ‘random’ but systematic research and certainly Ads play a part (obviously!), having a verified Google Plus page for the hotel plays a part, having photos and Google tours and activity such as reviews also plays a part. In the UK, links with online travel agents and distributors who can share your room and pricing data in an instant also helps (and since you might be doing this already all you need to do is harness the power of Google Hotel Finder).
Hotel Finder is another way of getting your hotel to market, and it is free from Google. The potential reach around the globe for hoteliers is enormous, don’t miss out.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Hoteliers……are you missing out good marketing that’s Free?

So far I’ve used some of these posts to talk directly to shop retailers and service suppliers.
And now I want to talk to hotel owners. However in the main, everything that I have already said with reference to retail and service providers also applies to the hotel business.
Google Hotel 3 pack
Summarising here:
  • Already Google has done a fairly good job at listing most hotels on their Hotel Finder shown above in the subtly outlined box that appears when searching for ‘hotels in Windermere UK’ (Take a look for your hotel at ).
  • If you have not verified your hotel business, then you must do so now, to avoid lowly rankings in Hotel Finder or sabotage.
  • Once verified you can control, images, Google tours and information that is shown up about your hotel both in Google searches and in Hotel Finder.
  • Once you are seen as being active by Google then it is possible for your hotel to rank more highly in Google Hotel Finder (above) than in traditional organic SEO searches for your web site.
  • The Google Plus business page is FREE, verification is FREE and the data is very easy to maintain and FREE to maintain.
  • Hosting of pictures, data and Google tours is FREE on Google Plus, and this data and imagery drives most of what appears in Google searches and Hotel Finder.
  • Google acts as a free gazetteer for your business.
Consider it as a business decision to use it or not. Remember that it does not impact your web site or web site SEO – in fact it’s way more important than that – find out why next.
So what exactly is Google Hotel Finder?

Another Fab Google Trusted Tour – Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Well, we’re really pleased with this shoot. It’s at Town and Country Interiors in Carlisle, a super local retailer. Try using the tour below.

Of course, I just have to show you the impact of the Google tour – the before and after when searching for the business. Here is the before image on the iPad (you get similar results on other devices). The images were very dark and there was not real clarity of the business in the imagery.

And below we now see the result AFTER the Google Tour and Photos.

  • Notice that the Street View image has been improved to show the clear and inviting entrance – this was done by manually connecting the tour to Street View.
  • The logo is displayed – making branding easy, again using one of our stills.
  • All the images are clear, sharp, fresh and inviting and make it very clear what the business is about.
Here’s a few of my favourite still photographs that went on line with the tour.
Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Town and Country Interiors Carlisle

Try Googling for ‘Town and Country Interiors Carlisle’ yourself and see what you see.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Roll Up, Roll Up, get your new domain name now.

There are lots of businesses without web sites, and there are lots of people with and without web sites who don’t understand the difference between domain names and web hosting.
So let’s look at domain names. A domain name is that ‘address’ everyone quotes such as, or
It’s a unique address where you can place a web site if and when you want to. It’s like a plot of land (domain) before you build the house (web site) on it.
You purchase a domain name from domain or domain name providers. There are many domain providers. Expect to pay ‘peanuts’ per year for a domain name such as or, plus an admin fee in some cases. You can create an account with the domain provider and do it all yourself.
We have been running out of unique names – remember it has to be a unique name (address). So if it’s a common name, chances are that if you have not got your domain name by now, the name that you want to purchase has already been taken.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though – since those that run this industry came up with the notion of ‘generic’ names. So now you can purchase something.gym,,, etc rather than and .com. The world is your oyster again. However the down side is that you can’t tell where in the world that business is (unless the name is specifically location based such as .london) – so you need to make a business decision whether to use one of these or not. And indeed, if you already have a .com or address, do you really need the .ski or .physio or .rest (for restaurants) versions too? You could spend a lot of money on this protecting your brand. It’s a cost/benefit decision.
So if you can’t get the one your want on or com, look on wiki to see the generic list and select one that might benefit you.
Domain providers tend to sell the ones they find most profitable, so if you want a name that is unusual and you really want to use it, you might have to hunt it out across several domain providers.
The down side is that the price for these is currently at a premium and you might expect to pay £20-30 or more per year for the name plus an admin fee.
And as for payment, when purchasing any domain name, you normally set up an annual recurring credit or debit payment, since if you don’t keep up the annual payments you will lose your domain name. Generally you are given a grace period, but it’s best to automate everything and have it in your calendar as a reminder each year.
Good luck with your domain name.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Another Fab Tour, The Chapel Gallery, Hawes

Well, yet another of my favourite tours in Hawes, a super gallery, which has the advantage of having a cafe.

Here’s a few pictures that went with the tour and these appear on ‘Photos’ when you search on Google. Very nice.

Glass Bird Chapel Gallery Hawes

Cafe Chapel Gallery Hawes

Pictures at Chapel Gallery Hawes

Details at Chapel Gallery Hawes

Wood vessels Chapel Gallery Hawes

In order to demonstrate the change in web presentation when searching, here we have a ‘before’ and ‘after’ the Google Tour demonstrated on an iPad.

Before the Google Tour Chapel Gallery Hawes on an iPad

Below, after the tour you see inviting and appropriate images, all professionally presented.

After the Google Tour Chapel Gallery Hawes on an iPad

Another really great gallery, and of course the more retailers that take a Google Tour up in one place the better it gets for all those businesses.