The reviews on the Google map concerning hotels, restaurants and all other types of tourist facilities are taking on an increasingly important role, also to obtain direct bookings (as opposed to portals such as Booking and TripAdvisor). Let’s see what is changing and what are the risks and opportunities given by Google Maps to tour operators.
In addition to representing an important part of its reputation, reviews on Google maps can be relevant to determine the presence on the first page of results and the positioning to competitors, and therefore the visibility of the structure to all users who carry out a particular search.
Furthermore, one of the biggest differences with other platforms is that Google reviews can very likely lead to direct bookings without a commission from intermediaries.
A user who reads reviews on Booking.com will probably be willing to book through the portal, while a user who reads reviews on the Google map will be more inclined to call or click on the hotel website (or other activity ) to book directly.
Users are leaving reviews and photos on Google Maps
The main reasons are two, namely the geolocation of users via their phone and the “prize” mechanism for contributing users.
Through the geolocation now present on all phones, Google detects that we are in or near a certain activity, and automatically proposes us to leave an evaluation or add information and photos. The mechanism works with Google Maps notifications, depending on the user’s settings. Even when we take a picture and find ourselves in an activity on Google Maps, we are asked to add it to the place that is automatically determined based on our location. As a result, users’ contributions are on the rise, given that Google itself explicitly asks for notifications, in real-time, to leave its assessment or contribution on a certain activity, especially if it concerns restaurants, hotels, b & b, and other accommodation or tourist activities.
Furthermore, for some time, Google has created a rewards mechanism for those who regularly contribute to inserting information, assessments, and photos related to activities on the map. This is the Local Guides program, which are users who voluntarily choose to participate in this Google initiative, and who earn points based on the number and nature of the contributions that are published.
From official Google documents, we can say with certainty that the number and nature of the reviews are factors that contribute to determining the order of the results, and therefore the visibility that a certain activity assumes for potential customers who carry out local searches (such as example “4-star hotel”, “b & b with swimming pool” or “restaurant on the sea”).
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