Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry has had little cause for celebration.
The first lockdowns, instituted in March 2020, instantly shut the doors of accommodation, restaurants and other facilities in this sector.
Deloitte, an audit, advisory and tax services company, aptly described the impact as “huge, and not yet predictable, on both revenue and supply chains. Decisions being taken to shut down hotels, restaurants, theme parks, cinemas, not to mention the entire disruptive effect of the travel ecosystem, all have a significant impact on worldwide tourism.”
Although Deloitte made this statement at the onset of the pandemic, it remains true as the world still battles to come to grips with and find solutions to address COVID-19.
A strategic report released a year before the coronavirus outbreak showed that the global hotel sector constitutes a $525bn industry and that 54% of these establishments form part of worldwide or regional brands or chains.
This report identified IHG, Marriot, Hilton, Wyndham and Accor as the top five hotel groups with a market share of 25%.
Despite the economic challenges of the pandemic, many of these facilities opened their doors as quarantine and makeshift hospital sites.
News reports detailed how the worldwide vaccination drives brought a glimmer of hope and how hospitality establishments, such as hotels, gradually started opening their doors again.
Trend analyses and the development of new variants, such as the Delta and most recent Omicron variants, determine that the hospitality industry remains on shaky ground as far as operations and revenue generation are concerned.
Google’s latest announcement on opening Google Posts for hotels therefore brings a welcome ray of hope for this industry.
Content marketing professionals describe this platform as a tool that allows businesses to post both text and visuals directly to Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business.
These professionals regard this as an important digital functionality as it potentially increases online user traffic to websites, which in turn offers companies the opportunity to connect with audiences and boost sales.
There are, however, conditions attached to the posts that hotels are allowed to make on Google Posts.
A 13th December 2021 report indicates that Google added a section for hotel posts on Google Posts, but these are limited to informative and not promotional posts.
Extracts from this policy update indicate that hotels can use Google Posts to provide relevant and timely information, such as updated COVID-19 rules and protocols, changes to amenities or renovations, and events taking place at physical locations.
According to this policy, hotels are not allowed to advertise special accommodation offers, discounts or other promotions.
Google said that this proviso prevents customer confusion regarding digital navigation on websites when specifically looking for organic information and prices.
Industry experts believe that although this inclusion seems very limited, hotels can still make use of Google Posts to reach out to potential customers through thoughtful content.
These marketing experts advise partnering with specialist content developers that have the knowledge and skills to highlight information while promoting your brand at the same time.