While at Destinations International in Montreal, I attended a breakout session hosted by Google and Miles Partnership. I learned the Google DMO Partnership Program is a fantastic opportunity for destination marketers to partner with Google. Our destination marketing clients sometimes struggle with populating their best destination content to populate across Google’s many platforms. The consumer decision-making process for trip planning has evolved, and accurate content needs to live where prospective customers search.
Google knows that people want the local perspective when they are researching a destination. And they know DMOs deliver the local touch that helps inspire travel to a destination. I heard from two Google Travel team members: Sven Tresp, Program Manager for Street View and Jen Schaefer, Content Strategy Lead for Google Travel. Google Travel consists of Flight Search, Hotel Search, Google Destinations and Google Trips. These tools help consumers in the trip planning cycle from dreaming to booking to visiting. This session was overflowing with information and ways for DMOs to work with Google. Both DMOs and Google want consumers to find the best quality information as they research locations.
Quality photos get more engagement and a higher ranking on Google. DMOs understand the importance of high-res, high-quality photography in helping to inspire travel to a destination. Uploading photos to Google points of interest, neighborhoods or cities is easy with a Google account for your market. (See below for how to sign up for an account). High-quality photos help travelers make decisions, inspire travel, have an obvious point of focus and are horizontal (not vertical). Follow Google’s pointers on adding photos to Google Maps.
2. Points of Interest
Did you know that search results for destinations show up differently on Google? “Google Destinations” helps people planning a trip get more relevant information on the places they are searching. One feature of the destination search results are “Top Sights,” listed as points of interest under the destination information.
More top sights listed on Google within a destination means more opportunities for potential visitors to explore. “Top Sights” is the most popular feature on Google Destinations but they are missing some key local sights. Missing sights are typically those that do not have an “owner” such as local parks, beaches and islands. DMOs can fill in the gaps – search for top sights in your destination to see what visitors are served. Then, you can work to submit additional sights that are most meaningful to the experience in your area. Here are Google’s directions on how to add Points of Interest for your destination. Local guides and business owners are given priority when submitting or editing a point of interest. Here’s how to sign up to be a local guide in your area.
High-quality videos give travelers a taste of what it’s like to visit your destination. When uploading YouTube videos, use meaningful keywords that relate to the video in the title and description. How can a DMO produce a high-quality video that inspires travel? Go beyond what you put in the brochures, and work on giving travelers a sense of place and culture. Show them the regional cuisine, the shopping or other assets that are integral to a visit to your destination. Google offers many resources for video creators including YouTube’s Creator Academy and the YouTube Creator Support Team.
Many of Google’s properties (including search) display events, which offer travelers another way to explore. Populate your events on Google through a simple markup from the events section of your website. Here are the developer guidelines on how to populate Google with your events.
With 62% of travelers getting travel inspiration online, developing a presence on Google and other digital channels is a must for DMOs. Learn more about the Google DMO Partner program in the workshop PowerPoint. The full slide deck includes more detailed information, statistics on travel search and how to get started with a Google Account for your market.