Today, Google has 92% of the world’s search engine market share. What if hotels could connect with future guests at the moment of search? Well, they can! With Google My Business Messages, visitors can message hotels directly from their business listing on Google Search or Google Maps.
What is Google Business Messages?
In 2020 Google launched a completely new communication channel called Google Business Messages. With Google Business Messages customers can connect with businesses from Google Search or from Google Maps in just one click. This way, future guests can message a hotel without having to visit the hotel’s website. For now, Business Messages are only available for mobile search.
Business Messages in Search & Business Messages in Google Maps
If a hotel has a Google My Business Account (which every hotel should have) the Google My Business Card appears when people search for the hotel on Google. The pandemic has enhanced a certain customer behaviour: Travellers want to check a hotel directly when they find a hotel on an OTA. The most natural behaviour to do this is to do a Google Search of the hotel.
The Google my Business card shows different information about the hotel as well as buttons redirecting to the hotel website to Google Maps or to contact the hotel. When Business Messages are enabled, there will be an extra button to start a direct chat with the hotel.
It is quite similar on Google Maps: Searching for the location of the hotel, people get a card in which they can start a chat. Imagine, guests have questions about getting there or parking possibilities at the hotel. They can now easily contact the hotel and start a chat. This way, hotels can easily connect with guests when and where they need them.
Why is Google Business Messages important for hotels?
Let’s start off with the obvious: it’s Google! Google has over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (InternetLiveStats).
Google did not only recently eliminate fees for hotel booking links (Phocuswire), making Google an even more competitive player in the meta search place. Now they offer an easy solution for people connecting hotels right in the search engine. This means that hotels have the possibility to connect with guests directly at a very early stage of the guest journey. This way hotels can reach a lot more potential guests and create a better experience for them. When a traveller messages the hotel from Google Search, the hotel gets the opportunity to interact with the traveller and sell direct – same for upsell upgrades and ancillary services.
Integrate Google Business Messages with DialogShift
There are two ways for hotels to implement Google Business Messages. First, by using the Google My Business Application. This option is probably most interesting for small hotels as it’s completely free.
The other way is to use Google Business Messages API through a third party provider such as DialogShift. This way the Google Business Messages API is integrated with a central guest messaging platform. This makes it easy to manage high volumes of messages leveraging AI for recurring queries and to streamline communication.
If a hotel is already using a messaging platform such as DialogShift, where the hotel enables messaging on the hotel website, in WhatsApp or in a guest app, they can integrate Google as an additional messaging channel. An AI assistant (hotel chatbot) is available to guests 24/7 in more that 100 languages and can hand over conversations to hotel representatives if necessary. These conversations appear in the DialogShift unified inbox. This way, hotels are able to streamline guest messages and manage their messaging inbox across multiple communication channels (website, guest app, social media). Messages are routed intelligently and assigned to the respective teams. One advantage of Google Business Messages is that the traveller is notified via push notifications when the hotel representative responds.
And the best part: Leveraging Conversational AI hotels are able to automate up to 90% of guest queries and handle them faster and more efficiently. The huge advantage for guests: they can easily connect with the hotel at different touch points when and where they need to.
For now, the API is in an early stage and is available via a few selected partners, such as DialogShift. Considering Google’s market power and its role as a search platform, Google Business Messages will be a game-changer for customer communication.
If you’re interested in connecting Google My Business Messaging to your hotel please contact us at email@example.com or jump on a call with us.