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Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in Digital Industry News | 0 comments

Well That’s an Interesting Area!

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If you’re like many of us here at MDS, travel is a big part of your life. One of the most interesting aspects of travel is what happens outside of the hotel. How do the locals experience the city? In July 2016 Google rolled out a little-known update, Areas of Interest, which aims to help you “Discover the action around you.” You’ve likely already seen this update in action when using Google Maps. In the example below, you’ll notice that certain areas are shaded orange. This indicates that the area has a high concentration of bars, restaurants and retail establishments. When coupled with Google Reviews, a traveler can easily pick a destination frequented by the native crowd.

Google Areas of Interest(Image Source: Google Blog)

On a recent trip to Chicago, I decided to give the tool a test. I’m familiar with the city and wanted to know if any of my favorite restaurants made the “Areas of Interest” cut. Just steps from my hotel in all directions are several orange shaded areas. All I have to do is tap on and area of interest, and then zoom in to find potential destinations for dinner. Sure enough, one of my must-visits The Purple Pig is included as an area of interest. I can then easily click on the restaurant’s flag marker to read recent reviews and see a live estimation of wait times for a table.

Google Areas of Interest on Mobile(Image Source: Starla Middlebrooks)

As a hotelier, this is important because you often offer more than a great night’s stay. Your bar, spa, restaurant or golf course might be favorites among the locals, but businesses without an online presence appear to have a distinct disadvantage within Google’s Areas of Interest. Without a strong online presence, your outlets won’t be very visible to map users.

To ensure that your outlets are considered for inclusion in Google Areas of Interest you’ll want to claim and optimize your Google My Business Listing. This helps potential guests easily obtain contact details, hours of operations, images and reviews. In addition, you’ll want to engage with your online community and respond to all negative reviews. You may also consider personally thanking those who leave very positive feedback. You want to make it as easy as possible for a guest to find you. You can learn more about Google My Business Listings on their dedicated website. Visit Search Engine Watch to learn more about Google Areas of Interest.

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