- The Essence of Google My Business
- GMB Eligibility Requirements for Vacation Rentals
- How to Register On GMB
- How to Verify Your Profile on GMB
- Tips To Optimize Your GMB Profile for a Vacation Property
Keeping pace with the demands of tech-savvy consumers is vital for the profitability of any company. The overwhelming majority of people go online to book services, shop products, and research about brands before making a purchasing decision.
If you manage an accommodation business like an Airbnb property and have not yet established your presence in virtual space, you seriously fall behind competitors and bleed potential customers.
If you think that promoting your vacation rental home over the internet is expensive as hell, we have good news for you. You can list your rental embed on some Google platforms and outreach a potentially larger audience without spending a cent.
How is that possible?
By registering your Airbnb accommodation on Google My Business.
It is a free yet powerful service that helps rental entrepreneurs showcase their short-stay rentals, bolster their brand recognition, get more direct reservations, and, thus, increase revenues.
The Essence of Google My Business
GMB aka Google my Business is a zero-pay, intuitive tool allowing organizations and companies to make their presence in such digital services as Google Search and Maps.
By establishing a profile at GMB for your short-stay rental, you can enhance your visibility over the internet, find more clients, and introduce a story of your brand.
A GMB profile is essentially an online business card of your company that includes the core information a prospect would like to have in plain sight: a precise description of your rental, an exact address, contact details, your overall rating (those cherished five stars), user reviews, photographs of your lodging, extra services as a part of a deal, and your rates per night.
Your GMB profile will be included in Google SERPs, and the machine will eagerly display it on the first result page every time users search your vacation rental by its brand name. The hospitality services you offer will also become visible on Google Maps.
By putting your Airbnb property at Google My Business, you reap the following benefits:
- The vital information about your Airbnb property and offered services is in the open view. When inquirers find your rental listing on Google Search and Maps, they instantly get tipped off about your working hours, website, and physical address. If necessary, you can easily manage this info from your GMB dashboard.
- You can communicate with your clientele right from your GMB profile. You can see the reviews that people write and ratings they leave, and you can also respond to their comments from your GMB account.
- The GMB Insights Panel will kindly provide you with your consumer engagement data, so that you know how prospects behave when they see your offering on the Internet. This data includes locations from where users search your property, the amount of time they spend on your website, how many times your phone number that pops up in local SERPs has been dialed, and other critical KPIs that you can safely rely on when making managerial decisions.
GMB Eligibility Requirements for Vacation Rentals
Google My Business eligibility criteria are quite small. For example, a rental business must have a reception employee on-site to serve clients personally during the company’s open hours. This is enough to qualify for a GMB profile.
But there’s one hitch.
Google My Business has certain exclusions. For instance, the platform will not allow properties for rent or sale, such as vacation houses, exhibition rooms, and unoccupied apartments. Does this make you think that you cannot advertise your short-term longing on GMB?
This is where the gray area of Google takes its effect. This technological machine allows property hosts and managers to categorize their lodging businesses (non-hotels) in multiple vacation rental categories, such as:
- Country houses
- Holiday villages
- Studio apartments
Other hospitality niches such as bed & breakfasts, hostels, inns, motels, farms, resorts, guest houses, and hotels also have their specific classifications at GMB.
This means that you actually can post your short-stay rental on Google My Business, provided you meet certain conditions:
- You are a registered property management company and have a website to accept direct reservations.
- Alternatively, if you are not an agency, you must be listed on an approved booking platform that is integrated with Vacation Rentals on Google.
- The entrance of your rental property features a branded sign plate.
Google is dedicated to ensuring that entrepreneurs who publish their rental advertisements are legitimate companies with a transparent business model. If you pick the wrong category for your rental listing, Google may exclude your listing from its SERP. But this should not upset you, as nothing stops you from trying other categories to get approved and never be eliminated.
If after several attempts, your rental proposal still doesn’t meet the approval criteria, you can apply to Google My Business Help Center to resolve your issue.
How to Register On GMB
Getting started with GMB only requires having an active Google Account (which is created once you set up your @gmail email box). After you have obtained your Google Account, follow these simple steps to build a corporate profile on GMB:
- Sign in to your Google account.
- Navigate to Google My Business.
- Press “Add business”.
- Input the required details: your company name, business classification (to stay on the safe side, pick “Property Management Company” or “Vacation Home Rental Agency”), services you offer (such as an airport transfer, free breakfast, cleaning, etc), your address (bear in mind that this info will also emerge on Google Maps), contact details (your company website and phone number).
- Apply for business verification.
How to Verify Your Profile on GMB
Once all necessary fields are filled in, Google will ask you to complete verification. Most local companies verify their GMB profiles by postal mail. Certain enterprises, such as service area businesses, have more verification options, including e-mail, a phone call, and Search Console (read more in this article).
You will receive a letter by postal mail to the address that you specified. The letter will contain a code to be entered in your GMB profile. Your company will not emerge in the organic search results until the verification procedure is successfully passed.
To avoid unnecessary delays, GMB guidelines recommend avoiding editing your business name, address, or category while you are expecting your verification postcard.
The verification letter may take up to 14 business days to be delivered by post. If you have not received a postcard during this timeframe, you can request another code. Sometimes GMB Postcard verification code is not received. What you can do in such cases watch here.
Although GMB does not provide a direct helpline phone number, you can always call Google Ads (the phone number will depend on your place of residence) to discuss your issue with the GMB consultant.
Once your account has been verified, you can edit your GMB profile to make it more attractive. You can create a catchy description, upload attractive photos (do not overdo with photoshop and filters as the Google machine may delete heavily improved images), list your included services, add more subcategories that relate to your business niche – Google My Business provides many useful tools to let you profile yourself.
Tips To Optimize Your GMB Profile for a Vacation Property
Here are a handful of nifty tricks that will help you make your GMB profile classier:
- Tap the power of a description. Google My Business debars long-winded property descriptions. You are given only 750 characters to tout your listing in style. Include the most essential info to the description, not forgetting about the valuable keywords. Update your description periodically to keep in line with trending keywords.
- Phone it right. Enter the valid phone number of your business and carefully check its correctness, otherwise, potential guests will not be able to reach you.
- Mind your brand name. Do not use additional words or keywords in your business name. Write it exactly how it’s called in the real life.
- Link it with your website. Add your company’s URL address when filling out your GMB listing.
- Keep it accurate. Make sure you provide the latest and most honest information when designing your profile.
- Categorize smartly. Your primary category represents the identity of our business and what you do. As an Airbnb property host or manager, your best bet is to opt for “property management company” or “vacation home rental agency” when registering a profile and then include subcategories that are applicable to your specific business.
- Address properly. The physical address of your rental property must correspond with what you enter in your GMB listing’s address.
- Watch your business hours. The search engine expects you to be utterly precise. So, enter your regular business hours during the weekdays and special working hours on weekends and holidays. Surely, you can edit this regime at any time depending on circumstances.
- Show it off. Complement your property description with top-quality photographs and virtual tours to better capture the attention of prospects. Don’t be lazy and try to upload several dozens of lovely images, so that inquirers have a better understanding of your listing and what it has to offer.
- Take care of user reviews. You surely will try your best to provide your guests with a satisfactory experience, so that they will willingly drop positive feedback. But bad opinions look more trustworthy in the eyes of a potential client. If you happen to catch a poor review, respond to it politely, bring your apologies, and offer variants to resolve the issue. That way, other visitors will see that you do care about your clients and are always here to help.
- Stay alerted. Consider activating Google Alerts to get immediately notified of new reviews and replies. Downloading the Google My Business app on your smart device and enabling push notifications is also a great way to be informed about any changes in real-time. You can configure these alerts in the “Settings” section when hammering away at your GMB listing.
Google My Business is a powerful online tool to enhance your visibility over the Internet, attract more traffic to your website, and let you have more direct deals. The service is free to use, but the benefit it brings is enormous. The eligibility requirement only includes having a registered property management business with a direct booking website or being listed on one of the approved connectivity providers such as BookingPal. You can learn more about how to promote your Airbnb property and step up its profit-making capacity here.