Google+ Communities for Hotels

google-communities-for-hotelsGoogle’s response to Facebook and LinkedIn Groups (and to Quora, to a certain extent) is Google Communities—a forum-like experience where people interested in specific topics congregate to chat and share information, which they released last month. Communities are built on the Google+ platform and can be discovered from the now familiar left-hand sidebar, where Google stashes all of their many projects.

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Once there, search for any topic you wish and you’ll probably find a bunch of communities already. If you want to join a community, click the big red ‘join community’ button near the top of the page. This will push updates to your Gmail inbox (if you use Google mail), and you’ll also be notified of new posts with big red numbers that pop up at the top of the page in the Notifications section, when logged into a Google product.

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You can also create communities about any topic you wish. I’ll cover community creation in a future update; in the meantime, you can find some great step-by-step guides on Mashable and Social Media Examiner.

The Benefits of Google Communities for Hoteliers

With the slew of topical information available out there, it can be overwhelming and tiresome to join network after network to follow your favorite interests. My advice is to pick a network or platform that you already like, and just use that until it stops giving you the information you need.

For me, I enjoy Google products, and so I’m really excited about Google Communities. I’ll probably be more active on Google Communities than on LinkedIn or Facebook Groups because I’m almost always logged into my Google account to check email, and to update our Google+ business page.

The benefits for hoteliers are similar to Communities’ rival products—to engage with like-minded people in your industry; to learn from them and to share information, stories and experiences. For those who don’t already have a routine of checking RSS readers, Facebook or LinkedIn Groups, Quora, online message boards or forms, and so on, Google Communities may be a nice way to get accustomed to participating in online discussions.

Need a place to get started? I made a community about hotel marketing, which I’m committing myself to pruning and nurturing over time. I’ll be sure to keep out all the spammers and self-promoters. Stop on by, join the community, and share your own personal stories.

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About Brandon Dennis

Brandon M. Dennis is the Technical Marketing Manager at buuteeq, the digital marketing system for hotels. He manages buuteeq’s SEO, paid media channels, contributes content, and writes for the company blog. You can connect with him on Twitter @oxhorn.

6 Comments

  • I’ve read and researched and from what I can tell there are VERY few users actively using Google+. Businesses are obligated to have pages because they then get a bump in Google’s search results. So, does it make sense to expend energy and dollars on a social network with very little user involvement?

    • Not at all! However, this rule applies to every social network, not just Google+. Some people use Facebook Groups, others use LinkedIn Groups–some groups are dead, others aren’t. If you go to Google Communities, you’ll see the same thing: some groups are very active, others are dead. It comes down to luck (if you were the first person to make that group about that topic) and promotion (if you got your friends, family, employees and guests to participate).

  • Brandon:
    I am trying to make sense (consolidate) my Google+ Accounts (for each email)??
    I created a Business Page on Google+, however, it won’t let me verify???
    Thanks,
    Bob

    • Google will create a new Google+ account for each individual gmail address you have, or Google service account you have. For example, if you have a gmail account, that’s one unique Google account with a Google+ profile; if you have a YouTube account created with a different email address, that’s a second unique Google account with a different Google+ profile. Google made this very confusing and messy for us all–I empathize!

      To verify your Google+ business page (or personal profile) you need to install a verification code within the header of your website, and then link to your website from your Google+ page. Once done, click Verify, and you’re all set.

      There is another quick and dirty way to Verify, but it doesn’t always work. Simply create a link on your website to your Google+ page, then create a link on your Google+ page to your website. Then click Verify.

      • Thanks, Brandon
        I have asked Help at Buuteeq to help with the verify, because it won’t let me – 403 Error/Not authorized to verify????

        • Google will give you some code. Copy this code and paste it into an email you’ll send to your customer success representative. Ask that the code be placed into the header of your website using our code insertion tool. Then ask them to email you back when this is done. Once done, go back to Google and click the “Verify” button. You should be good to go. Note that Verification will fail if you do not have a link on your Google+ Business Page pointing to your website. To do this, click on the About tab on your Google+ business profile. Scroll down to the ‘Website” section and click the field. Now, paste in or type your website address, and save. THEN go back to Google and press the Verify button.

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