Google search is becoming the latest channel for tours, activities and attractions to leverage and compete for traveller attention.
For operators, it is now one of the most direct ways to reach and acquire customers. But it was not always like this, and the latest Google ‘Things to do’ program significantly differs from its predecessor.
In this post, we will explore ‘Things to do’ and how and why Points of Interest (POIs) are relevant for tours, activities, and attraction operators.
Then Vs Now: Why ‘Things to do’?
Google’s previous Reserve with Google (RwG) platform meant travellers would book from search results through an Online Travel Agency (OTA), which took the distribution, branding and pricing power away from operators. It also meant an increase in commission for every sale.
But as Google replaced RwG with 'Things to do', this is no longer the case. Gone are the days when operators used expensive ad campaigns or PPC to appear in Google search results. Now, operators are listed as the official site for booking next to the link to add credibility and direct traffic for your travel business.
Google’s latest iteration sees tours, activities and attraction operators available in Google search around Points of Interest (POIs).
A Guide to Points of Interest for Tours, Activities & Attractions
83% of mobile bookings happen after researching on Google, which means optimising ‘Things to do’ with Points of Interest gives operators the chance to be where their audience is. But, not only this, it streamlines the traveller booking experience to build loyalty and increase the chances of more sales.
So, what are Points of Interests (POIs)?
When a tourist or traveller searches for something on Google, they usually search for major tourist destinations, like a zoo, museum or monument, rather than a specific operator or provider. Google categorizes these locations as 'Points of Interest', which can be anything travellers find popular, from beaches and botanical gardens to landmarks and marketplaces.
How do POIs impact tours, attractions and activities operators?
Tours, activities and attractions operators who provide meaningful experiences of these POIs can appear in Google search results alongside the POI to receive high search traffic from qualified users. For example, if you offer a walking tour that includes admission to a local landmark, Livn can help you place your products in context next to Google POIs.
What are the rules surrounding POIs?
To appear next to the POI in search results, your product must include admission into the POI. But if the POI is free, for example, parks, landmarks or museums, then your tour or activity must stop at or pass through the POI to qualify.
For example, what would not qualify for a POI are products that only view the POI, like a helicopter tour that views a landmark from up high but does not actually visit it.
What does the POI product listing look like?
Livn helps you to publish your products against Points of Interest, allowing them to become more discoverable in Google Search results, and they will display like this:
When a traveller clicks on your product, a pop-up shows more information about your branding, product inclusions or exclusions. And you have complete control to link it to the most appropriate landing page of your choice for a direct booking to your website.
Can you be listed on multiple POIs?
Yes, so long as you meet the criteria listed on the POI (e.g., admission or experience mentioned above), you can be listed on as many relevant POIs to your product. In this example, we have published the information on TopView Sightseeing, which has been included under three POIs.
How can you start leveraging POIs?
Look at your current products and see how you can incorporate POIs into them. For example, if you have a walking tour near the Dubai Fountain, include stopping to enjoy the light show that occurs every 30 minutes. Your tour will be eligible to appear in the search results for the Dubai Fountain for maximum exposure.
How Can Your Business Be Part of Google ‘Things to do’?
Tours, activities and attractions operators can regain control of the customer journey from search to booking. The program allows you to stay competitive, control distribution in the world’s largest search engine, and improve profit margins with fewer commissions.
Livn is Google's official global connectivity partner for the 'Things to do' program. We are not an OTA or reseller, which means we do not take a commission or charge pay-per-click or transaction fees. Instead, we facilitate the 'Official Site' button for an affordable fixed monthly data publishing fee.
If you want to regain control of your distribution, drive more direct traffic to your business, and increase your profit margin, get in touch to become part of the ‘Things to do’ program here: https://go.livn.world/register