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Google Is Removing Chat from Your [Hotel] Business Profile

Some say this move is due to the EU’s Digital Market Act rules, but we are not so sure. What is evident is that Google is systematically eliminating features that are not bringing them substantial benefits, a strategy they’ve employed before. Think about the awesome Google Keyword Tool or Google Plus, just to name a few. Did anyone notice that they also got rid of Google Podcasts? I probably was the only one using it!

If you relied on these tools, here is what you can do.

Changes Coming to Google Business Profile Chat and Call History

According to the official announcement by Google, starting July 31, 2024, Google will no longer support chat and call history features in Google Business Profiles. This change implies that businesses will lose the ability to view, manage, or respond to messages and calls directly through their Google Business Profile.

What's Disappearing for your accommodation?

  • Chat Feature: Hotels and hosts will no longer be able to engage in direct text communication with guests through the chat feature. This feature has been instrumental for many in handling inquiries, providing customer support, and managing bookings in real-time.
  • Call History: The call history feature that logs incoming and outgoing calls made through the Google Business Profile will also be removed. This feature currently helps businesses track call performance, follow up on missed calls, and analyze call data for better guest service.

How Does Google Chat Actually Look Like?

We must admit that we tried to search for a hotel using Google Chat / Messages, but we couldn’t find one! Not among our BookBetterDirect members, nor with major brands like the Dorchester Hotel in London or the Raffles in Singapore. Therefore, we are borrowing a picture from Google / SproutSocial to give you an idea of what Google Chat looks like.

Google Is Removing Chat from Your [Hotel] Business Profile

What Remains for Google Search Users?

  • Basic Contact Information: Guests will still be able to see the hotel or host’s phone number, address, and other basic contact details listed on the Google Business Profile.
  • Google Maps Integration: Guests can still find and contact accommodations via Google Maps, which provides directions and contact information.
  • Website Links: Links to the accommodation’s website will remain, allowing users to visit the site for more information or to use alternative contact methods provided there.

What Can You Do If You Relied on These Features?

Here are a few steps to take if you relied on Google Business Profile’s chat and call history features:

  1. Export Your Data: Before July 31, ensure you export any necessary chat and call history data from your Google Business Profile.
  2. Transition to Other Communication Tools: Consider integrating other messaging and call management tools into your business operations. Options like WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, or dedicated CRM systems can fill the gap.
  3. Update Your Contact Information: Make sure your business profile on Google and other platforms clearly states the best ways for guests to contact you.

Solutions from GoSite

GoSite has highlighted some practical solutions in their blog post on this topic. According to GoSite’s blog:

  • Utilize Integrated Communication Tools: GoSite recommends using tools that integrate seamlessly with your existing business systems. This includes platforms that offer messaging, call tracking, and customer relationship management in one place.
  • Automate Customer Interactions: By using automated systems, you can ensure that no customer message or call goes unanswered, even if you’re not able to respond immediately.
  • Leverage Customer Data: Make use of customer interaction data to improve service and tailor your marketing strategies.

These strategies can help maintain communication channels with your guests, even without the direct support of Google’s chat and call history features.

How BookBetterDirect Helps

At BookBetterDirect, we offer a comprehensive toolset to ensure your accommodation remains present and contactable on all platforms, driving more direct bookings. One of our standout features is our SEO and AI-optimized website, which enhances your online visibility and search rankings. Additionally, our revolutionary browser extension counters the dominance of OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), guiding potential guests directly to your booking platform.

Discontinued Google Services: A Long List

Over the years, Google has discontinued many services and products, often because they no longer fit into the company’s strategic goals or failed to gain sufficient traction. Here is a detailed list of notable services Google has shut down:

  1. Google Cloud Print (2020) – A cloud-based printing service.
  2. Google Play Music (2020) – A music streaming service.
  3. Google Hangouts (2020) – A messaging and video conferencing service.
  4. Google Plus (2019) – A social networking platform.
  5. Google Allo (2019) – A messaging app.
  6. Google Inbox (2019) – An email app designed to improve email organization.
  7. Google URL Shortener (2018) – A URL shortening service.
  8. Google Spaces (2017) – A group discussion and messaging service.
  9. Google Map Maker (2017) – Allowed users to edit Google Maps directly.
  10. Google Hands-Free (2017) – A mobile payment system using Bluetooth.
  11. Picasa (2016) – A photo organizing and editing application.
  12. Google Now (2016) – An intelligent personal assistant.
  13. Google Compare (2016) – Compared financial products like credit cards and mortgages.
  14. Google Code (2015) – A code hosting service for developers.
  15. Google Glass (2015) – An augmented reality wearable device.
  16. Google Reader (2013) – An RSS feed reader.
  17. Google Checkout (2013) – An online payment processing service.
  18. Google TV (2014) – A smart TV platform.
  19. Google Notebook (2011) – An online note-taking service.
  20. Google Gears (2011) – A browser extension for offline web applications.
  21. Google Labs (2011) – A platform for experimental projects.
  22. Google Buzz (2011) – A social networking and microblogging service.

More Technical Tools and Services Discontinued

  1. Google Keyword Tool – Replaced by Keyword Planner in 2013.
  2. Google Ad Planner – Discontinued in 2011.
  3. Google Site Search – Discontinued in 2018.
  4. Google Web Accelerator – Discontinued in 2008.
  5. Google Fusion Tables – Discontinued in 2019.
  6. Google Public Data Explorer – Reduced updates and support over time.
  7. Google Correlate – Discontinued in 2018.
  8. Google Answers – Officially shut down all operations in 2013.

Conclusion

Google’s pattern of discontinuing services that don’t align with their strategic priorities or fail to achieve substantial user adoption continues with the upcoming removal of chat and call history from Google Business Profiles. While this may be inconvenient for some businesses, it also opens opportunities to explore new tools and platforms that can enhance customer interactions and streamline operations.

At BookBetterDirect, we ensure your hotel business remains agile and adaptable to these changes, providing tools that support direct bookings and enhance online visibility. Our solutions ensure you stay connected with your customers, drive more direct bookings, and reduce reliance on intermediaries.

Stay informed, stay adaptable, and let BookBetterDirect help you navigate these changes for a more direct and efficient booking experience. Sign up today!

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