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Adding your holiday rental to Google Places

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Have you noticed the recent change in Google local search results? Google recently launch ‘Place Search’ which shows local businesses more predominantly if Google predicts you’re looking for local information. For example, searching for ‘cottage in ambleside’ will show holiday letting agencies and holiday cottages located in Ambleside that have registered with Google Places. There is a good overview here.

It’s now more important than ever to have a strong Google Places profile – but can holiday rental and vacation rental owners list their properties?

Here is what Google Places quality guidelines states…

Rental properties, such as vacation homes or vacant apartments, are not eligible for a listing on Google Places. Create a listing for the central office that processes the rentals, rather than the individual rental properties. If you’d like, you can then add your real estate properties to Google Maps so that they are available on our Real Estate layer.

If the holiday letting agency or property owner lives in the same area where the property is located, that’s fine. They have a good chance that their Place listing will show for local searches. The issue for the individual holiday let owner is that their holiday rental is likely to be in a different location to where they live (process the booking). They could live in Manchester but their holiday cottage is in Cornwall.

If this is the case, then their Google Places listing should be their home address (the central office that processes the rentals) not the address of the cottage in Cornwall. The issue here is that when someone searches for a ‘cottage in cornwall’ their local Google Places listing isn’t likely to show as the registered address isn’t Cornwall, it’s Manchester where they process bookings.

I should imagine there are also security concerns from owners who don’t want to show the exact location of their home.

Work around?
From what I have seen, some holiday rental owners (who reside in the same country where their holiday lets are) are listing their holiday rental address in Google Places and using their mobile as a way of verification – instead of ‘the central office that processes the rentals’.

Risky?
This is clearly against Googles quality guidelines (see above) and could have consequences.

Disclaimer: Google reserves the right to suspend access to Google Places or other Google Services to individuals or businesses that violate these guidelines, and may work with law enforcement in the event that the violation is unlawful.

What should you do?
I expect Google will (and is) ‘filter out’ those who try to game the system. The holiday let and vacation rental market is huge. There is no-doubt Google’s is focusing on local, and I hope that a future development will see holiday rentals get more exposure on Google maps/local. Either fed from one of the portals of by owner verification.

As things stand you could either register the address where you process the bookings or do nothing. Currently, there doesn’t appear to be a way for a holiday lets Google Places listing to show for local searches when the owner lives and takes bookings in a different location to the rental. If you live in the same area where your holiday let (or agency) is, then you have an advantage – promote your Google Place listing.

2 Comments

  • Martin Winlow |

    I ran into this a while back trying to do a friend a favour by putting his holiday cottages ‘on the map’. It is a complete puzzle to me why Google should be adverse to this idea – they are effectively extensions of a business premises. It wouldn’t be so bad if Google explained its rationale behind this system – assuming there is one.

    It seems like a win-win-win-win (landlord-customer-Google-local economy) by simply arranging for a new classification title for such properties. And it’s not just of assistance for customers finding the cottage in the first place, it wold be invaluable for finding it, physically, when they first arrive.

  • Martin Winlow |

    Further to my last comment… wouldn’t the ‘in person contact’ requirement include a hand-over with a representative of the letting company/landlord?

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