Boost Your Accommodation Business with Google My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for accommodation providers such as motels, hotels, short-term rentals, and campgrounds. One of the most effective tools to enhance visibility and attract guests is Google My Business (GMB). This article explores how leveraging GMB can benefit your business and provides a clear guide to get started.

Seekom google my business

Why Google My Business Matters:

  1. Enhanced Visibility: A well-optimised GMB profile ensures your accommodation appears prominently in local Google searches. This visibility is key to capturing the attention of travellers and locals searching for places to stay in your area.
  2. Improved Customer Engagement: GMB allows direct interaction with potential guests through reviews, questions, updates, and more. Engaging with customers on GMB builds trust and credibility, encouraging more bookings.
  3. Enhanced Local SEO: By optimising your GMB profile with accurate information, appealing photos, and regular updates, you can improve your local SEO rankings. This means more organic traffic and potential bookings for your accommodation business.

1. Sign Up for Google My Business:

You can now set up and schedule emails to be sent to guests during select time periods. This will be useful for those who want to send messages to guests at key times, perhaps to inform them of visitor rules during event weekends or remind them to keep noise down after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Sign Up for Google My Business
Seekom google sign in

2. Enter Your Business Details:

  • Provide your business name, address, phone number, and website URL.
  • Select the appropriate business category (e.g., motel, hotel, campground).

3. Verify Your Business:

  • Choose the verification method (usually by phone or mail to your business address).
  • Follow Google's instructions to complete the verification process.

4. Optimise Your GMB Profile:

  • Upload high-quality photos of your accommodations, amenities, and local attractions.
  • Craft a compelling business description using relevant keywords to attract potential guests.
  • Ensure accurate business hours, including any special hours during holidays or events.

5. Utilise GMB Features:

  • Regularly post updates, promotions, events, and special offers to keep your profile active and engaging.
  • Respond promptly to customer reviews and messages to demonstrate excellent customer service and foster positive relationships.
uploaded images to Google bussiness account
how to create GMB

6. Monitor Performance and Insights:

  • Use GMB's insights to track how customers find your business and which actions they take (e.g., website visits, calls).
  • Adjust your strategy based on these insights to continually optimise your GMB presence.

In conjunction with Google My Business profile you can integrate Google Hotel Booking links with your profile. This will help you get bookings directly from the Google Search page. For more information, please visit our fully managed plan option.

If you are confused about what products or services suit your needs better, get in touch with our support team and we will guide you through.

Conclusion: Google My Business is a powerful tool for NZ and AU accommodation businesses aiming to increase their online visibility and attract more guests. By utilising its features effectively—enhancing visibility, engaging customers, and optimising your profile—you can position your business for success in the competitive short term rental market.

Latest changes improve guest communications, save time and paper

American novelist Mark Twain is famously credited with saying “continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”.

We wouldn’t claim to be perfect at Seekom, but we do aim to roll out regular enhancements that make our leading property management software that little bit more powerful, easy to use and effective for people running accommodation businesses around the world.

The past few weeks have seen the introduction of three small enhancements to help you improve your guest communications and save staff time (and paper!).

Seekom latest improvements

Schedule guest notification emails during event weekends or holidays

You can now set up and schedule emails to be sent to guests during select time periods. This will be useful for those who want to send messages to guests at key times, perhaps to inform them of visitor rules during event weekends or remind them to keep noise down after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Scheduled emails can be set up in Seekom’s Email Scheduler.
Scheduled emails can be set up in Seekom’s Email Scheduler.
Seekom users can now navigate to the Arrivals & Departures screen and use the Arrivals tab to tick all vehicle registrations they want printed on a single page.
Seekom users can now navigate to the Arrivals & Departures screen and use the Arrivals tab to tick all vehicle registrations they want printed on a single page.
Multiple vehicle registrations can now be printed on one page, for those who want to save paper.
Multiple vehicle registrations can now be printed on one page, for those who want to save paper.

Print multiple vehicle registrations on one page to save paper

Seekom includes a time saving feature that allows you to print the vehicle registrations provided by your guests, for display on their vehicle dashboards during check-in. This smooths the check-in process while also making it easy for you to keep track of which vehicles in your carpark belong to paying guests.

We’ve recently made a small enhancement to this feature to make it possible to print multiple vehicle registrations on a single piece of paper. You can still print registrations individually if you prefer, but this enhancement will be helpful for those who want to save paper by printing multiple vehicle registrations on a page before separating them using your cutting implement of choice to give to customers on arrival.

Multiple vehicle registrations can now be printed on one page, for those who want to save paper.
Multiple vehicle registrations can now be printed on one page, for those who want to save paper.

Plus a small time-saving change on the finance screen

A small change has been introduced on the finance screen to ensure the ‘Paid in by’ field is pre-populated with the name of the lead guest by default. This can still be changed as normal but pre-populating it with the lead guest will save some time in the majority of situations where the guest making the booking is also the person making the payment.

The ‘Paid in by’ field will now have the lead-guest pre-selected on Seekom’s finance screen, saving staff time when entering payments.
The ‘Paid in by’ field will now have the lead-guest pre-selected on Seekom’s finance screen, saving staff time when entering payments.

That’s all for now, but we will have some exciting further changes coming up in the months ahead. Stay tuned and we will be sure to let you know as further enhancements are rolled out.

Simplify your accounting with our Xero integration for Seekom

The start of a new financial year is the ideal time to streamline your accounting processes.

If you’re one of our Seekom users who also harnesses Xero accounting software, you can set yourself up for a smooth-sailing tax ride by using our time-saving Xero integration.

This integration can reduce double-handling of invoices at the end of the tax year and simplify accounting reconciliation processes.

Xero integration for Seekom

Match payments with invoices automatically

One of the beauties of our Xero integration is its ability to take the hassle out of matching payments with invoices.

With the click of a few buttons you can match all reconciled payments in Xero with the relevant invoices in Seekom iBex, giving you a clear idea about which invoices have outstanding fees associated with them.

This will give you full visibility of which invoices have been paid and reconciled in either system – less cross-referencing required.

Invoice and credit note consistency

Want to ensure all your invoices and credit notes display with the same key information in both Seekom and Xero?

When Seekom is synced with Xero you can rapidly create invoices and credit notes and link them to Xero from their Seekom invoice number, pulling across the invoice number, invoice date, due date and booking reference number from Seekom all in one go.

Financial hygiene: confirm your invoices and credit notes are linked

Our Xero integration includes an ‘Invoices report’ to help you ensure all your Seekom invoices have been replicated and linked in Xero. This report highlights the invoices that have not been linked to Xero, giving you a handy to-do list to follow up on.

Xero integration guide for Seekom users

Want to save time with our Xero integration? Find out how by reading our helpful guide on setting up our Xero integration in Seekom.

Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park

Northland holiday park snaps up awards helped by leading software system

Owner operators: Nick and Claire Blake

Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park is one of the jewels in the crown of the Northland accommodation scene, with a clutch of awards to shout about and a smooth operation supported by Seekom’s savvy software.

Owner operators Nick Blake and his wife Claire kicked off their hospitality careers at Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park in 2013, working their way up and buying Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park in 2016.

Nick says they changed the Whangārei holiday park’s property management platform to Seekom immediately because they liked how it worked, it was great for group bookings and had everything they wanted to manage the cabins, campsites and caravan sites at the park.

“We’ve used all the major booking and property management systems and we find Seekom suits our park the best.”

The Blakes rely on their silent software partner to quietly take care of business behind the scenes, letting them concentrate on their priorities: friendliness, cleanliness and winning awards!

Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park won the Top Guest Experience – Classic Park Award and was runner-up in the ReviewPro Cleanliness Award at this year’s TOP 10 Annual Awards. The recognition builds on its success in the same awards in 2022, where the park won the Top Guest Experience Award – Small Park Award.

Nick says recent Seekom software updates have added functionality that makes life easier for holiday park staff and customers. He’s pleased Seekom understands what its users need rather than adding functionality just for the sake of it.

“Some of the other booking systems have all these bells and whistles that aren’t functionally useful and can make systems complicated for guests to use - Seekom communicates really well with back-end and online booking systems.”

Another benefit of using Seekom is the embedded email and SMS (text) customer communication functionality that saves time and keeps customers updated with everything they need to know to make the most of their stay, he says.

“It’s got some really good automated functionality which sends out emails and texts to customers – it does everything you need.”

Nick says he’s been contacted by a lot of other holiday park managers from across New Zealand since he shifted Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park’s systems to Seekom. After explaining the cost, functionality and support benefits Seekom provides, many of them had made the move as well, he says.

“When we changed over to Seekom we brought over about 10 or 12 parks – I would definitely recommend Seekom.”

Seekom’s cloud-based software allows easy access on any browser-equipped device with internet access and handles the heavy lifting of updates, backups, and keeping data secure, giving accommodation providers more time to run their business and look after their customers.

In 2018 Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park was inducted into the prestigious 2018 TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, becoming a member of a select group of businesses that have succeeded in achieving TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Continuing its momentum of recognition, the holiday park was recognised as Winner of the Northland Business Excellence Awards in 2019.

Perhaps there’s something in the water in Whangārei, or maybe it’s in the cloud…

undraw_wireframing_nxyi (2) (1)

Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.

Summer rush blog banner image

Getting set for the summer rush at your accommodation

Make hay while the sun shines. It’s an old adage, but one that holds truer than ever today, particularly for the accommodation industry where the summer months are a time of plenty for most of us.

As many in New Zealand will be aware and as accommodation data shows, average occupancy rates for commercial accommodation peak in the warmest months – January and February – and drop off to below 50% in the June to August winter period. The situation is similar in the UK, where average occupancy peaks in June to August, during the northern hemisphere summer, and drops off in winter.

But while being busy is great for the bank account, it can be hard on the mind and body. The summer months can be stressful, particularly if you don’t have your systems in order or if you are short staffed. We’ve put together a list of some key steps you can take to work smarter in Seekom and help ease the pressure. All going well, you might even be able to enjoy a bit of time outside of the office in the sun yourself!

1. Offer guests express check-in

Take advantage of our Express Check In forms to speed up the check-in process and reduce the load on your team. These forms allow you to send a follow-up email to guests after they have booked at your accommodation, asking them for any information they may have missed at the time of booking, like the length of their camper van, when they expect to arrive, or their vehicle registration.

Seekom users can set the times and days to email Express Check In forms to guests and customise the information requested.

Instructions for updating your Express Check in Configuration in Seekom iBex can be found in our Seekom user help section.

Express Check In forms can be customised based on your property’s needs.
Express Check In forms can be customised based on your property’s needs.

2. Harness the power of scheduled emails

Scheduled emails are a powerful tool that all properties should be taking advantage of. This functionality has been enhanced recently to allow you to schedule guest emails for a particular time of day or to be sent only to guests staying in a particular room type. Some common ways to use scheduled emails include:

  • After a guest has made a booking (Thanks for booking. Please let us know when you expect to arrive and your vehicle registration if you wish to park with us)
  • Before a guests arrival (Your door code is XYZ, please come to reception upon arrival to check in and receive your welcome back)
  • Before a guest’s departure (Would you like a late check out?)
  • After a guest’s departure (We can’t wait to see you again, leave us a review!)

If you like our scheduled emails, keep an eye out for our upcoming SMS upgrade. This will allow you to add automated and scheduled text messaging, making it simple to reach guests through more than one channel and while they are on the road during their travels. We all know some people avoid opening emails while on holiday and the stats show SMS messages have a higher open rate than emails (perhaps due to the vibration settings most of us still have set up on out phones for text messages), so the upcoming upgrade will take customer communications to the next level

Conclusion:

Implementing a robust SEO strategy, focusing on meta titles, meta description tags, and H1 tags, can transform the online visibility of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rental properties. By optimising for search engines and user experience, businesses in the hospitality sector can attract more guests, enhance their online reputation, and ultimately achieve long-term success in a competitive market.

3. Ensure minimum stays and peak season rates are up to date

Have you got your peak season minimum stays and rates set up? This is common practice in many countries and can reduce your team’s administrative load if staff do not have to deal with quite so many short-stay guests and the associated need to re-stock and re-prepare rooms, for each and every one of them. Setting peak rates can help to generate more revenue during a time of the year when your staffing costs often increase due to an influx of visitors and the need to pay staff for working on statutory holidays over the holiday period.

Read instructions for changing minimum stays and rates in Seekom iBex on our website.

4. Train new staff and ensure they have appropriate permissions

Don’t wait until things get busy to train up new staff on how to use and make the most of Seekom – make sure to think ahead.

The lead-up to summer is the ideal time to ensure new staff are comfortable using the system, and to make sure they have the correct permissions in place for the areas of Seekom they might need to use when guests start coming through the doors.

We have a range of guides and videos that can help you and your team make the most of Seekom features, from how to make a booking through to housekeeping and even payments and invoicing.

If you want to engage with other users or propose new features, make sure to log into the Seekom Community to share your ideas.

5. Promote any pet friendly options you offer

For many people, a summer holiday means leaving their pets at home. If you offer pet friendly accommodation at your place, make sure to promote it widely.

Seekom users in New Zealand can use our new Pet Friendly Stays website to promote their offerings. The site allows you to pick and choose which room types are displayed on the website, set rules for guests staying with pets, and generally showcase your pet friendly accommodation offerings. All bookings made via Pet Friendly Stays go straight into your Seekom account so all your information is in one place.

Of course, if you’re elsewhere in the world, you don’t have to miss out on this segment of the market. There are a variety of other websites where you can promote your pet friendly accommodation to the world.

Pet Friendly Stays allows Seekom users in New Zealand to promote pet friendly accommodation.

6. Use vehicle registration printing to help identify authorised guests

When things get busy, every minute counts. Seekom’s Vehicle Label printing feature allows you to easily print off the registration number of guests’ vehicles during the check in process, for display on their windscreen. This makes it simple to identify which vehicles belong on the premises.

To enable this feature in your Seekom iBex account, email our support team and they will get things set up.

Once enabled, you will be able to print vehicle registrations by visiting the ‘Arrivals and Departures’ page in Seekom iBex, finding the guest you are checking in on the list and then selecting the small ‘Print Vehicle Label’ option on the right hand side.

Once printed, the label displays:

  • the guest’s departure date
  • the unit, or site or room they are in their vehicle registration number.
Seekom printed vehicle label for blog

7. Manage days when your property is closed to check-ins or departures

Sometimes you may want to close your property to new check-ins or departures on specific days of the year. If you want to do this at your place to ease the pressure on staff - perhaps on Christmas Day – then Seekom makes it easy.

You can manage any days when your property is closed to check-ins and check-outs from the Manage Property screen of your Seekom iBex system.

This feature still allows guests to stay during the period you set, but it will block people from either arriving or departing on the dates you choose, based on what you set.

Some managers use this for periods like Christmas Day, when their property is bound to be full of guests already and they want to reduce the foot traffic coming through reception so staff can enjoy the day as well.

Read the instructions for setting a property closure in our help section for more information.

Read the instructions for setting a property closure in our help section for more information.

It’s your time to shine!

With summer on the horizon for many of you, now is the ideal time to swing into action. You may not tick off absolutely everything on this list, but by tackling at least a few of these, you can reduce those stress levels when the summer guest rush arrives.

undraw_wireframing_nxyi (2) (1)

Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.