5 Ways a Hotel can make better use of Google Plus

Google Plus is an often-forgotten social network. I remember the blank expressions I would get when bringing up this social network with hotels. Many wouldn’t know what it was, and most would simply downplay its importance and say they just don’t have the time to include it in their strategy.

This is a fair analysis really. Priorities for hotels will likely fall elsewhere, with Facebook and Twitter taking up most attention. But there’s no reason why you should completely ignore Google’s sleeping giant, even if it seems that nearly everyone else does…

1. Setup a brand page for your hotel

You can’t participate on Google Plus without a page. This is a simple case of adding one if it doesn’t already exist, and if you’re on Google local (the business listings page) then a page will have been created already for you. We only request that you search heavily on Google Plus before you create a new page – duplicates cause huge problems and a lot of unnecessary extra work, so prevention here is the best cure.

2. Find and follow your local businesses

We often advise that hotels should show their offline-connections online. It’s a great way to build a strong base of followers who will hopefully support a lot of your social activity. You should search for local and relevant businesses and add them to your Circles. You may find it easier to manage later by creating circles for Local Businesses, or categorising them further. Then later you can tailor messages you send out to them individually. The hope is that by you following them, they’ll reciprocate. You can do this with businesses near your hotel, or prominent companies in your area. You can also do this with other brands you admire which are relevant to your own hotel.

3. Find, or create, relevant Communities

Communities on Google Plus can be really powerful networking opportunities. On Google they are used like groups on Facebook, so you can find one for almost anything. Maybe there’s a group focused on your local town or city, which would be great for your hotel to join and post in (when relevant). You may find a community for local businesses, for fitness enthusiasts, and so on. These communities can provide great opportunities for creative marketing. As a sales and marketing manager of a hotel, they could be a great place to look for corporate business, or could be used to promote wedding services, meeting rooms, and so on.
If you can’t find any relevant communities and you think there’d be a need for them then you can always create them yourselves. Maybe you can start a community for non-nationals in your city, then remind them of your hotels facilities if people wanted to arrange meeting up for a drink or a bite to eat? You can be kind and offer a discount for members of that community.

4. Create memorable events

Google Plus can also be used to create and run events within your hotel. Maybe you have a wedding showcase coming up and you want to ensure you’re going to be as full as possible. You could create the event, invite your page followers, and even try sharing it in local, relevant wedding communities on the network (being careful not to spam obviously!). Users can respond to invites on the network, and it can help to build excitement for your event too.

5. Create a content-marketing strategy

If you have a schedule of posts for Facebook and other networks, why not add Google Plus into the mix? If you’re using something like Hootsuite to manage your social network posting then you can add your Google Plus profile too, and can easily schedule messages here. We wouldn’t recommend just duplicating posts from other networks, but try tailoring them to suit this audience. It won’t demand the same level of attention as the likes of Twitter, but it’s still worth posting something once or twice per week, just to be active on the channel. Linking back to your site somehow within your posts can be great for SEO too, so this is another additional benefit.

Opening your mind to the opportunities that Google Plus can provide for your hotel can be a very worthwhile activity. It doesn’t take much extra time or effort to give it a go, and by following the steps above hopefully you will see for yourself the benefits of the much-maligned network.

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