2 Enrolling in ‘Things to do’
Enrolling in 'Things to do'
Enrolling in Things to do is simple. The process starts by making sure you’ve created a Google Business Profile. Your Business Profile is your company’s official home in Google’s ecosystem.
After creating your Business Profile, you can load your tours directly with Google using their Ticket Editor, or connect through one of their approved connectivity partners. In fact, the booking software you already use might be an approved partner, and can handle the process on your behalf.
If you’re unsure whether to connect directly or use a connectivity partner, don’t worry, we’ll guide you through what you need to know to make the right decision for your business. And you can always switch later.
Take a deep breath, there’s a lot in this module! Let’s get started…
1. Start by setting up a Google Business Profile.
To participate in ‘Things to do’, you’ll want to start by making sure your Google Business Profile is set up correctly.
Your Google Business Profile is your company’s official home in Google’s ecosystem. It’s how Google knows information about your business. If you’re not set up yet, simply visit google.com/business and click “Manage Now.”
On a desktop, if you search for your business name, your Business Profile will appear on the side of search results and look like this:
Some things to note:
- Your profile appears in search results when someone searches for either your business name or related categorical searches on desktop, mobile, and Maps, such as ‘walking tours in London’.
- It’s also where your company’s reviews are displayed, as well as a variety of information about your business, including opening hours, location, and more.
- Creating your profile requires you to complete a series of steps including verifying your address, and adding relevant business information and photos.
If you’re not yet enrolled, watch this short video for more information on how to create or claim your Business Profile:
2— Decide how to load your tours into ‘Things to do’.
Once you’ve set up your Business Profile, it’s time to make the choice of how you’ll add your tours to ‘Things to do’.
You have two choices.
Don’t stress about this decision, since you can always change your mind later. To display your tours on ‘Things to do’, you have two options:
- Use Google’s Tickets & Activities Editor, which gives you direct control over the process and only takes a few minutes. This process is manually done by you, right from your Business Profile dashboard.
- Use a third-party Approved Connectivity Partner. These partners take on the work of managing your ‘Things to do’ listings for you. Some partners charge a fee to manage your listings; other partners—such as booking software companies—may include this service at no additional cost to you. If you choose to work with a Connectivity Parter, we’ll cover questions to ask them in a separate module.
What is the Tickets & Activities Editor?
The Tickets & Activities Editor is the fast, easy, and direct way to load your tours into ‘Things to do’.
- You access the Editor from your Business Profile. It is automatically activated if your business is one of the approved categories (typically a business with the ‘tour operator’ designation).
- For experiences and tours, the editor will be labeled “Activities”.
- The Editor asks you a few simple questions about your tour, and then it’s loaded into ‘Things to do’.
Remember, you can always load your tours through the Tickets & Activities Editor, and switch later to a connectivity partner.
What is a Connectivity Partner?
Approved Connectivity Partners help handle the technical integration of tour products with Google’s ecosystem. There are three types of connectivity partners:
- Distributors, Resellers and Large Operators
These partners—such as Viator, GetYourGuide, and TUI— list their tour inventory through ‘Things to do’. As an operator, if your tours are also sold through these partners, then they may also appear on ‘Things to do’.
- Booking Software
These partners—such as Fareharbor and Rezdy—work with Google to help load operators’ direct bookings onto ‘Things to do’. They help operators get their products listed, optimized, and help unlock extra features accessed only through our integrated partners.
- Direct Integration Specialists
These companies—such as Magpie and Livn—are not booking software, but instead offer the paid service of ensuring your ‘Things to do’ listings are optimized. They will work with you to load your tours regardless of your booking software.
While all three of these Connectivity Partners work with Google, #2 & #3 above work with tour & activity operators to list their tours with ‘Things to do’.
What are the benefits of Direct vs. Connectivity Partner?
While our direct Tickets & Activities Editor is fast and easy, there are certain ‘Things to do’ features that are only available by working with a Connectivity Partner.
Below we’ve outlined some of the considerations for choosing one route over the other.
Using the Tickets & Activities Editor
- Load your tours yourself, directly with Google
- Only takes a few minutes per tour
- Easy to Use
- No cost
- Must load and edit your tours manually
- Manual pricing updates required for each tour
- Certain features, such as paid ads and certain search features (e.g. experiences, search activities, and tours carousel), cannot be accessed.
- Currently there is no access to referral data across ‘Things to do’ products
- Must manage any tour products removed by Google for policy violations on your own.
Using a Connectivity Partner
- Managed by a third party, such as your booking software or a direct integration specialist.
- Gives you greater exposure across Google’s surfaces.
- Great for operators who have dynamic tour pricing or availability
- Your booking software may already be a partner, so check with them if they are already publishing your products.
- Potential to keep your content accurate across multiple distribution channels
- Unlocks ‘Things to do’ Paid Ads and full suite of search offerings, creating more impression opportunities
- Can help ensure that your products meet Google minimum requirements and remain visible
- Onboarding may not be immediate, as you have to work with a partner instead of directly with Google
- Certain third-party providers may charge a fee, unless already included in your booking software provider’s offerings
- Not all third-party integrations work in the same way, requiring some follow-up with the partner.
- Some partners may not provide visibility over what products they are sending to Things to do.
As mentioned above, certain ‘Things to do’ features are ONLY available if you work with a Connectivity Partner. These include:
- ‘Things to do’ Paid Ads
- Appearance on Google Maps Points of Interest related to your tour stops, beyond your business location
- Appearance on ‘Things to do’ “Experiences” search (booking links on related Points of Interest or categorical searches (e.g. “jeep tours in Colorado”)
To access these features, you cannot use our Tickets & Activities Editor; you will need to contact your booking software or a direct integration specialist. These options may incur an extra cost.
How should I decide?
If you’re still undecided about how to proceed, it’s easy to begin with the Tickets & Activities Editor and then later switch to a Connectivity Partner. The following questions might help you begin to make the decision:
- Do you have complex and variable tour pricing and availability, or a large amount of tours?
If so, you may benefit from using a connectivity partner, which supports dynamic pricing and automatic pricing updates. The greater your company’s complexity, the more likely you’ll benefit from a Connectivity Partner’s expertise and automation potential.
- Which ‘Things to do’ features do you want to use? If you’re not interested in running paid ads or the other benefits mentioned above, start with the Tickets & Activities Editor and switch later to a partner, should you wish.
- Is your booking software already integrated with ‘Things to do’? Then you should have a conversation with your account manager about getting set up through their integration. This course’s next module gives you a set of questions to ask your current provider.
3. Load your tours into the Tickets & Activities Editor, or reach out to your Connectivity Partner.
If you’ve chosen to work with a Connectivity partner, contact them directly and ask about their integration. The next course module shares questions you should ask them, to ensure their integration meets your needs.
If you’ve chosen to get started using our Tickets & Activities Editor, then the video below runs you through the process of adding your tours. It takes less than 3 minutes to complete per tour.
As a reminder, you can always start with Google’s direct Ticket & Activities Editor and switch to a Connectivity Partner later. After switching, the tours from your Connectivity Partner will overwrite those previously created in the Ticket & Activities Editor.