In early August 2016, Google launched a new feature that will affect pubs, restaurants, hotels and B&B’s. Now, when you search for the best places to eat and drink using your Google app, you will be presented with the top reviews from critics and the “best of” lists from reputable publishers. This has just launched in the US and no doubt it will shortly make its way to Ireland.
Is It The Same As Tripadvisor?
In essence, it is similar to the services offered by the Tripadvisor app where you can read reviews of restaurants and pubs and you can filter the results based on star rating and price etc. While the Google app does not offer the “price” filter option it does include the length of time people usually stay at the establishment, a feature not offered by Tripadvisor. This feature is highlighted in the image below for Mellett’s Emporium, a popular pub in Co Mayo (Number 2 in image).
Based on Google’s press release, the one major difference between the two apps is that Tripadvisor reviews are from “genuine” customers and the reviews on Google are from critics and from reputable publishers. In my experience, many business owners feel that some reviews on Tripadvisor can be disingenuous and perhaps they are. However, I believe that if an establishment has a lot of reviews, you can easily identify the genuine reviews from the fake ones.
Importantly, in addition to reviews by critics, Google will continue to use customers’ reviews from across the Internet and the quality of these can impact upon your listing within the Google search engine. For example, the common terms used by people when reviewing Mellett’s Emporium are clearly displayed within the app as highlighted in the previous image (Number 1).
When Will This Be Available In Ireland?
In Google’s press release it was stated that the service is available now in the US, however, a date for roll out across the world was not given. Over the past few months, I have noticed changes to the Google map listing of businesses I work with and I believe that Google have been testing some of the new features on “Google.ie” already. The image map below resulted from a recent search for “pubs in Swinford” and as you can see, it includes the new filter option and when you click on the business, you can also view the new “time spent” feature as described above.
The Importance Of Reviews
Google have one mission and that is to provide the best information possible to answer customers’ questions and solve their problems. This recent move by Google highlights that customer reviews, blog reviews and critic reviews are becoming increasingly important such that Google are placing added value on reputable sources and real people for trustworthy and quality reviews of pubs, restaurants, hotels and B&B’s.
It is essential that businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector, manage their online reputation and put a policy or system in place to deal with all reviews, good and bad. Customer reviews are an opportunity to identify what you are doing well and what needs to be improved. Of course, there may be times that you feel a review is overly harsh and or disingenuous but a review that is out of line with all other reviews will stand out like a sore thumb and today’s consumers are much wiser than to fall for that!
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com / Unsplash
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