Goodbye, Reserve With Google — Hello, Things To Do
Earlier this year, Google announced that it would be phasing out Reserve with Google (RwG) for tours, activities, and attractions. The booking service officially ended on August 1, 2021.
Reserve with Google was a feature that allowed users to book a tour or activity right from the search engine results page (SERP) through a “Buy Tickets” button on the operator’s Google My Business listing.
As of August 1, 2021, you can no longer see the “Buy Tickets” button on the SERP. But this doesn’t mean that Google is shying away from the tours and activities booking space. In fact, they’ll be leaning into it more with the launch of Google Things to do.
Google is piloting the introduction of ticket booking links on Google Search, so users can easily compare options for tours, activities, and attractions.
The ticket bookings links are free (not paid ads) and neither Google or FareHarbor will be compensated for outbound clicks. The ticket options shown in Google Things to do will be ranked algorithmically based on a variety of signals.
The information found in the ticket booking links will come from a mix of direct feeds from online travel agencies (OTAs), reservation technology (restech) partners — like FareHarbor — and other information from across the web. Users will be able to click through to the seller’s website to complete the transaction, if desired.
FareHarbor users will be able to get bookings from the Google SERP directly through the FareHarbor book form. You don’t have to work with any third-party OTAs or channel managers to take advantage of this feature. The integration will remain commission free, and the FareHarbor Connectivity team will set everything up for you!
Here’s what’s changing:
- Bookings made straight from the SERP will no longer be processed by Google. They will take place directly on your FareHarbor book form (just like a booking made on your website). This means you capture all the customer information from each online booking, such as hotel pick-up information and meal choices.
Your business will be listed as the “official site” for your tour or activity on Google.
- During the transition from Reserve with Google to Things to do, you may notice a dip in sales coming directly through the Google SERP. But don’t worry; this is only temporary. As Things to do is rolled out more widely, those sales should pick back up again.
During the transition from Reserve with Google to Things To Do, you may notice a dip in sales coming directly through the Google SERP. But don’t worry; as Things to do is rolled out more widely, those sales should pick back up again.
Wondering what you need to do to prepare for the change?
If you were previously using Reserve with Google…
You don’t need to do anything! FareHarbor has already automated this transition to make it as easy for you as possible. Any products that you were selling through Reserve with Google will be available on Google’s Things to do. If you want to change your current offerings on Google, contact our team and we’ll remove, update, or add tours and activities to your listing.
Please note that you don’t need to work with any third parties to list your offerings on Things To Do. As a FareHarbor user, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re not currently selling tours and activities through Google…
Listing your offerings on Google helps you capture more customers who are searching for experiences and attractions at your destination. Ready to begin taking advantage of this commission-free integration? Contact our team to get started.
How to Make the Most of Things to Do
While our team handles the integration, your business still needs to rank well in searches for tours and activities in your location for you to benefit from Google Things To Do. Like all things related to the SERP, there are many factors that determine rankings.
Which factors impact rankings in Google Things to do?
Google considers a variety of signals, including price, price quality, landing page quality, and user preferences. The algorithms are constantly evolving, so it’s important to adapt along with them. Make sure the price on your website, book form, and item description match. Providing consistent, up-to-date information about your tours will positively impact your rankings.
Do images impact rankings?
Images are a crucial element of Things To Do, so it’s important to follow Google’s guidelines for the best chance to rank. The images on your Thing To Do listings come from each item’s default image on the FareHarbor Dashboard. Make sure they follow these best practices:
- Aspect ratio: 1:1 (square)
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Use high-quality images that are in focus and help users understand your business, products, and brand.
- Use single images, not collages of multiple images.
- Don’t use blurry or skewed images.
- Don’t use excessive filters.
- Don’t overlay text, logos, or buttons on images.
- Images can’t be animated.
How are offerings in multiple languages handled?
If you offer tours and activities in multiple languages, Google will serve up the appropriate language for each user based on their search and browser settings. The languages on the book form are determined by the translations in your FareHarbor Dashboard.
Want to stay on top of SERP best practices, major algorithm updates, and more SEO tips? Check out our SEO guides.