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The 20 Potential New Features of Google My Business

By Siobhan McMorran | October 15th, 2019

Google My Business

In April 2019 Google released a survey to a select number of business owners that had a Google My Business (GMB) listing. The survey highlighted Google’s intent to monetise elements of a GMB listing by giving those who had received the survey a list of features and asking how much they would be willing to pay for these features. Some of the features they are planning on monetising are very similar to existing, free features while others would be new additions to the platform.

To start with, Google will likely roll out most of these features on a complimentary basis so that everyone has access to them, which will allow Google to carry out any further testing they require. However, in the long term, in order to get access to these new features a business will have to take out a monthly subscription with Google. In the survey, there were various different bundles to choose from, ranging from $20 to $75. However, none of the bundles gave you access to all features.

In total there were 20 features outlined in the survey:

  1. Remove ads from your business profile
  2. “Book” button on your business profile
  3. Promote your “book” button
  4. Offers
  5. Call reports and recordings
  6. Instant quote
  7. Featured review
  8. Automated message responses
  9. Automated response for reviews
  10. Verified licenses
  11. Google search results placement
  12. Google customer support
  13. Verified reviews
  14. Video on your business profile
  15. Get leads from competitor profiles
  16. Google guarantee
  17. Background check
  18. Request a quote
  19. Verified bookings
  20. Promoted map pin

We’ll discuss all of these features and the potential implications of their introduction in more depth below.


1. Remove ads from your business profile

What Google say:

With this feature, “ads from other businesses will not appear on your Business Profile.”

What this means:

Google has been signalling that this was going to be rolled out across all types of listings for some time now and it’s very similar to what we’re already seeing for hotels in terms of metasearch.  What Google is effectively saying is – if you don’t pay for the space, we will let someone else pay, which will probably be your competitors.

This has already started rolling out, with quite a few occurrences of this change appearing for listings in the United States. An example of this is shown below, for a London-based beauty salon listing on Google Maps. The salon has been searched by name by the user and the listing has come up, however the listing is now showing with the addition of a Groupon Ad. Due to the prominence of this ad a lot of users will probably be persuaded to book through this channel as opposed to directly via the website.

GMB


2. “Book” button on your business profile

What Google say:

“Get an extra button on your business profile titled ‘Book’. Google shows customers your availability (synced with your calendar system if you have one). Customers can either confirm a booking or request a timeslot.”

What this means:

This is very similar to an existing feature for standard GMB listings, allowing you to add an ‘Appointment URL’ or (for restaurants) an Open Table link so that people can book straight from Google Maps. In a similar way to how other OTAs work Google will potentially take a commission from the overall booking value as part of having the button there.


3. Promote your “book” Button

What Google say:

“Get a ‘Book’ button on the Google.com search results, in addition to your Business Profile.”

What this means:

Google haven’t provided a lot of clarity about what this may be referring to, although it can be assumed that they would add a “Book” button within organic search results in addition to the booking button featured within your GMB listings.


4. Offers

What Google say:

“Promote a special offer or discount on your Business Profile.”

What this means:

This is another feature that sounds very similar to one already available to businesses, Google Posts. This could also have an effect on businesses that have created a ‘Google website’ via GMB, a ‘free’ feature that has been pushed by Google and is largely made up of a business’ Google Posts.


5. Call reports and recordings

What Google say:

“Get access to reports and recordings for all your calls from Google My Business. This lets you evaluate quality and volume.”

What this means:

A lot of larger businesses will already be doing something similar to this via call tracking and call monitoring companies but this will, hopefully, provide a more integrated approach and allow for easier performance analysis and reporting.


6. Instant quote

What Google say:

“Respond to customer quote requests with an automatic quote. You can customise the quote based on the details of the job. Save your attention for more serious customers.”

What this means:

More relevant to exclusive use venue businesses than hotels, Google has been trialling this as a free feature within Google My Business since July 2019 in the US. One downside of this feature is that it will be keeping people off your website. However, it could help to generate more leads for your business.


7. Featured Review

What Google say:

“Choose a review to display at the top of your Business Profile.”

What this means:

This would allow businesses to highlight their more positive reviews at the front of their GMB profile to give people discovering your brand a more positive picture. For example, if you have had a couple of bad reviews recently due to refurbishment work at your property, you’d be able to mask these slightly by being able to choose one of your more positive reviews to be featured first.


8. Automated message responses

What Google say:

“Answer some frequently asked questions (hours, services offered) so Google can respond automatically to customers on your behalf. This saves you time.”

What this means:

A further feature that is very similar to one that is already available as part of the current Google My Business set up, the Q&A section:

GMB

The main difference between the current free version and the updated paid version is that Google would be providing some kind of automated messages or Chatbot service within your GMB listing.


9. Automated responses for reviews

What Google say:

“Create messages so Google can automatically respond on your behalf to customers who leave a review.”

What this means:

It will be interesting to see how this one will work, but it sounds like it will be similar to what Facebook already does by allowing businesses to turn on automated responses. This would also help the visibility of a Google My Business as the more active a listing appears the better the visibility tends to be.


10. Verified licenses

What Google say:

“Google verifies your trade licenses and displays your verified licenses on your Business Profile.”

What this means:

Google trialled a feature similar to this previously for tradesmen where a listing would display specific licenses or qualifications. This could be beneficial if rolled out successfully by building confidence between a user and a business, although it remains to be seen how it would be adapted for use within hospitality.


11. Google search results placement

What Google say:

“Show up in a section near the top of the list on the Google.com search results.”

What this means:

Effectively this sounds like another version of Google Ads where a business needs to pay for placement at the top of the search results within Google.


12. Google customer support

What Google say:

“Google’s customer support team helps you troubleshoot and get the most from your ads and Business Profile.”

What this means:

At the moment Google’s customer support is available to everybody free of charge so that you can get in touch with their support team easily whenever an issues arises. The suggestion that this would be a paid for feature could potentially mean that access would be removed from free, standard listings. This could cause problems for those without support as there are a number of issues that can only be resolved with Google’s input.


13. Verified reviews

What this means:

This proposed feature is very similar to Google’s existing ‘verified customer reviews’ that’s available to businesses with an online store signed up to Google’s merchant centre. When booking online via a business’s website, a customer will be able to leave a review on a Google My Business listing with the addition of a badge to say it’s a verified review.


14. Video on your business profile

What Google say:

“Show a video of your choice on your Business Profile to help customers learn more about your business.”

What this means:

This feature is already available in some respects on GMB as you can currently add a video in under the ‘Photos’ section of a GMB listing. At the moment you can only upload a video under 30 seconds and less than 100MB. Google will likely either monetise the existing feature or add a ‘new and improved’ paid version.


15. Get leads from competitor profiles

GMBWhat Google say:

“When a customer messages a business that offers the same services as you, Google will show your business to the customer so they can message you too. This will help you get more leads from Google.”

What this means:

Google has been trialling this for a while in the US and we have recently begun to see this become more frequent in the UK and Europe as well. Effectively, Google will display an ad for another business underneath a listing’s ‘book’ button. See this example for a property in the UK that has an OTA’s ad appearing below the ‘book’ (Buy Tickets) button:


16. Google guarantee

What Google say:

“Get a badge of trust on your business profile. If a customer isn’t satisfied, Google will give them their money back.”

What this means:

Already available in the US and Canada for local service providers, the Google Guarantee covers claims up to a certain amount ($2,000 in the US) for customers that are dissatisfied with the service they have paid for.

“If one of your customers submits a claim, we’ll contact you to learn more. You’ll have an opportunity to make things right with your customer. After investigating the claim, Google will decide on a resolution.”


17. Background check

What Google say:

“Google performs a background check on your business, and shows this to customers to build trust in your business.”

What this means:

Similar to Google’s proposed ‘Verified Licenses’ feature, this feature will likely be paired with the above ‘Google Guarantee’ feature to ensure that Google has confidence in a business before offering a guarantee. This would also help to develop more confidence in your brand from potential customers.


18. Request a quote

What Google say:

“Get a ‘Request a quote’ button on your Business Profile. Customers will enter details about their job. Requests come to you as messages in the Google My Business app.”

What this means:

This feature is very similar in principal to another that Google has mentioned as one of their potential paid features, ‘Instant Quote’. This would suggest that Google is leaning towards the idea of removing any free ‘booking’ or ‘quote’ style features from GMB.


19. Verified bookings

What Google say:

“Google automatically tracks the bookings you’ve received from Google calls and messages, and shows this number to customers. This helps them trust your business.”

What this means:

One downside to this feature is that it would keep customers off of your website, meaning that the entire booking journey would be completed without the customer ever having to visit your website. However, if customers can see how many other people have booked then it may encourage them to book as well.


20. Promoted map pin

What Google say:

“Show up prominently on Google Maps when a customer is looking at a map where your business is located.”

What this means:

These branded pins will help business to be more visible to users who are in close proximity to your business or would be travelling near your business. This increased visibility could help drive more property/store visits and get more people to engage with listings.


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