In a world where we use Google for almost everything, it was inevitable that we would eventually entrust it with our travel plans, too. As you may know, the tech giant recently launched “Things To Do“, a platform that helps users discover new experiences. At the same time, GTTD makes it easier for providers to promote their tours, attractions, and activities and connect with interested consumers.
Today, we are happy to announce that Regiondo is now recognized as an official tech partner by Google. This means that thanks to our booking system, you’ll be able to reach millions of customers who do travel-related searches on Google daily. Thanks to the visibility guaranteed by the popular search engine, you’ll improve your brand’s image and significantly boost your direct bookings. The best thing (pun intended) is that listing on GTTD is 100% free! Sounds promising, right?
In case you already know what Google Things To Do is, feel free to check out our knowledge base to understand how you can connect this channel to Regiondo. Otherwise, keep reading the following paragraphs; you’re in for a wild ride!
What is Google Things To Do?
If you have been in the industry for a few years, you may wonder what happened to “Reserve with Google” and how Things To Do differs from it. In case you’re new, just know that it was a service launched in 2017, allowing people to search, book, and pay for just about anything travel-related directly from Google Search, Maps, or the Google Reserve search bar. It provided an easy, end-to-end solution for travel and tourism professionals to get their business in front of millions while allowing Google to handle the booking and payment process.
Like Google Reserve, Things To Do functions as a way to connect travel and leisure enthusiasts with businesses and venues that provide relevant services.
Users can access the Things To Do search bar within Google’s Travel App. Type in a location, and Google will work its magic by delivering all there is to see and do in the following categories:
- Top sites
- Top sites by interest (local favorites, kid-friendly, arts and culture, history, museums, outdoors)
- Top experiences
- Notable neighborhoods
Each listing features ratings and reviews, operating hours, and a web results link, which takes users to a SERP featuring the official Google My Business page of the selected listing at the top.
Additionally, any Google search query on a particular destination will feature a ‘Things To Do’ section embedded within the SERP. Likewise, each listing features ratings, operating hours, a short description, and a list of ticket prices from various companies that offer this activity as a standalone product or as a component of a larger tour package.
How is it different from Google Reserve?
Things To Do brings three substantial changes for professionals throughout the travel and leisure industry.
- A revamped customer journey
The most significant change is that instead of booking directly with Google, users are directed to a landing page of the respective partner’s website. Here, businesses can display package options and other services users may be interested in based on their query.
- More marketing and upselling opportunities
Since Google Things To Do connects users directly to business websites for booking, operators can capitalize on the increased traffic in various ways that we’ll dive into below.
- Greater dependence on ads
Google Things To Do also offers paid advertising options to participating businesses. As you can imagine, relevant search queries will trigger these ads to appear at the top of the SERP. This will be vital because adding a booking link to the listings is free, which creates a need to stand out from the crowd.
How do tours and activities providers benefit from GTTD?
- More visibility
Google Things To Do opens up more avenues for businesses to be discovered through the Things To Do search bar within the Google Travel App and the Things To Do section near the top of the SERP.
Additionally, because companies can now offer package options for standalone products, you can optimize the booking link of a single package to appear in multiple search results.
- Increased website traffic
With Things To Do, Google makes it possible for your business to appear in more searches and directs users straight to your website or landing page via the booking button. It goes without saying that companies can leverage the increase in traffic in multiple ways.
First, you can optimize your booking links for upselling by creating packages that can appear when triggered by relevant search queries.
Second, more users visiting your website means more foot traffic in your digital store. You can try asking them for their contact information so that you can add them to your mailing list.
Third, a larger traffic volume gives you more detailed data on audience demographics and profiles. Are your booking links attracting more men than women? More seniors than students? More users based out of Asia rather than Europe? Thanks to this information, you can improve your marketing strategy even further.
Last, along with marketing strategy, capturing user data helps create remarketing lists with the intent of boosting ad campaigns.
- Higher revenue potential
Assuming you’ve defined a viable marketing strategy, greater visibility and website traffic will definitely lead to revenue growth, increased average transaction values, and improved ROI.
As we have seen, Google Things To Do empowers you to optimize your content to capitalize on meeting customer needs through targeted upselling opportunities.
Furthermore, increased traffic allows better data collection and analysis so that you can make the most of your marketing and ads budget.
What does the shift to Google Things To Do mean for the travel and leisure industry?
The changes mentioned above carry direct implications for professionals within the travel and leisure industry.
- Updating and maintaining relevant content is crucial
With GTTD, it’s even more critical for tours and activity operators to follow SEO best practices. However, keeping a close watch on the market will be equally, if not more crucial. You should ensure your Google My Business page is up to date to rank well.
Since Google will only include a limited number of booking links, businesses must determine when it’s best to feature booking links related to single-activity products instead of packages. This leads to our next point.
- Package offerings and pricing strategies are key
Google shifting the booking process directly to business websites means that keeping up with current market trends and making data-based decisions is paramount.
Each booking link leads to a more detailed product or package page typically featuring other related services/products that customers may be interested in. Thus, monitoring products/packages, traffic, SEO, and conversion rates will be critical to success.
- Booking systems need to be user friendly
Users click on a booking link. They like what they see on the landing page. Now they’re ready to make a reservation. What could possibly go wrong? An over-complicated booking process.
Tour operators must ensure that their online booking system is fast, easy to use, and reliable. Otherwise, all marketing efforts will lie in ruins among a landscape of abandoned carts and page bounces.
- Tour operators will be more dependent on Restech providers
Tour and activity operators will have to devote an extraordinary amount of time to creating, monitoring, and managing listings and bookings. For this reason, they’ll need more sophisticated solutions for content management, SEO/data analysis, and a top-notch online booking system.
This change has made life difficult for tour and activities companies that don’t have proper restech software, which is more in demand than ever.
How do you connect with Google Things To Do?
Because registering with Google Things to do requires a complex integration process, Google highly recommends partnering with a sponsored restech provider to assist with the large data transfer and other technical configurations. As mentioned above, Regiondo is one of the official connectivity partners that can help you join Google Things To Do.
In 2023, Google has launched a new booking module designed to give more visibility to your product offers. The new module allows you to display your products directly on your Google Business Profile. This means you will have direct booking links integrated into Google’s products (search & maps). The update is designed to drive conversions and requires less maintenance, as your Regiondo offers are updated on Google automatically.
The new module makes it easy for travelers to find your products and book directly from you when they search for your business. This is a great opportunity for you to display your products on Google, get more conversions and grow your revenue.
How to participate?
- Create a Google Business Profile if you don’t already have one.
- Check if you have the right business category (see here how to set it up). You need to have one of those categories:
- Tour operator
- Travel agency
- Tour agency
3. Make sure that the ‘Products’ feature is deactivated in your Google Business Profile.
- Make sure your supplier information matches your Google Business Profile details
- Categorize your offer
- Activate Things to do channel.
We have prepared a detailed guide on how to connect Regiondo and Google Things to Do to drive more bookings for you. You are also encouraged to talk to one of our product experts to learn more about this exciting opportunity.
Important: Operator’s business must be findable on Google Maps. Operators should register a Google Business Profile for their business in the case the business is not already findable on Google Maps. The new Google module currently works on mobiles only, the desktop version will be supported soon.
Google’s move from Reserve to Things to do is one of the most significant developments within the travel and leisure industry over the last few years. Here are the most noteworthy changes tour and activity businesses need to adapt to.
- Companies, rather than Google, now handle all bookings via direct links to their business websites.
- Expanded search visibility means increased competition and, therefore, a greater need for paid ads.
- Integration with the new system requires a complex configuration which Google recommends be handled by restech providers.
Regiondo makes it easy to generate leads and increase bookings with Google Things To Do
We’re proud to team up with Google Things to do as an official connectivity partner. We are beyond pleased with the results our customers already see with the new interface; let us help your business experience the same success. Book a free demo to see how easy it is.
Update 02 June 2023: The article has been updated for clarity and to announce a new Google Things To Do update.