This article was reviewed by Jack Dunn and his team over at Tiqets(opens in a new tab), the first partner to launch the Reserve with Google service in 2018. They’ve added some extremely valuable insights, and we’re grateful for their assistance!
Our previous post introduced Reserve with Google(opens in a new tab), a supplement to your online presence that you can access through your Google My Business profile. As we discussed earlier, this allows your potential clients to reserve tours or activities directly on Google after finding you through an online search. After we published this article, we received so many questions about the specifics of this software that we decided to write a follow-up to answer those questions — because surely, others are wondering the same as you!
1. How do I join?
There are two systems you need in place before you get started with Reserve with Google: your Google My Business profile and a booking software with your activities or tours already loaded. If you don’t have a Google My Business profile yet, get started here(opens in a new tab) and allow the site to lead you through the process. If you don’t have a booking software yet, it’s time to start looking at booking softwares and figuring out which one is best for you! Many booking softwares have a great team of customer service representatives that are more than happy to give you a call and tell you more about their services. You can find a complete list of the partners that have Reserve integrations available here(opens in a new tab). We’re excited to see some of our favorites on this list — including Peek Pro, Fareharbor, and Rezdy — and they are adding new partners all the time.
In order to turn on bookings, follow these simple steps(opens in a new tab):
- Sign in to Google My Business. If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage. (Important to note here that if your activity is based within another company like a hotel that also has Reserve with Google, you may end up with some confusion. Keep an out for that!)
- From the menu, click Bookings.
Note: If you don’t see this tab, then bookings isn’t available for your business category or region.
- Choose the provider of your choice and sign up with them.
- Within one week (though it may depend on your scheduling provider), your scheduling account will be automatically linked to your Google My Business account. After you link your accounts, you can receive bookings through Google.
Note that below this list, Google states: “If you already use a scheduling provider, you’re automatically eligible to receive bookings. You’ll see your booking history with that provider for bookings made in Reserve with Google in your Google My Business account on the bookings tab. […] Your scheduling provider may apply fees for booking through Google. Check with your provider for more details.”
If you already have a scheduling provider (that is, booking software), then it should be as easy as navigating to the Bookings tab and turning on your bookings. If you’re unsure and need some help, check out Reserve with Google’s FAQs(opens in a new tab) or get in touch with them directly(opens in a new tab).
2. Is Reserve with Google available in my country?
Reserve does not appear to be available in every country. Here is a list of countries that it is available in (updated March 2019)(opens in a new tab):
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
If you don’t see your country on this list, you’re not able to get Reserve yet. But keep checking back! Google may get your country added soon.
3. How much will Reserve cost me?
NOTHING! (Although again, note that this may depend on your scheduling provider — we recommend that you check with them beforehand.) According to Paresh Dave’s article in Reuters(opens in a new tab), “Google does not charge users or businesses for Reserve.” Though beware… he goes on to state that Google “has not told schedule partners how it would make money on the service […] Google could eventually charge businesses transaction fees.” We recommend utilizing this service for free while you can and see if you notice a difference over the coming months.
4. What if my tours are more complex? Can I still use Reserve?
To be completely transparent, we’re not exactly sure how this works yet. The software is still new, so it’s not clear what its capacity is at this point. However, when looking at the overview provided by Google, it notes that the following services are supported:
- Basic ticketing
- General admission day tours
- Consults and evaluations
- Signups and trials
While the following services are not provided:
- Services that are membership-based, subscription-based, or have recurring billing.
- Services that require insurance, or have unique legal requirements, such as dentists, healthcare, childcare, or adult entertainment.
- Services that are “on demand”, “mobile-based”, or “in-home” such as mobile haircuts, cleaners, or locksmiths.
- Services that require additional steps in the booking flow, such as filling out a waiver.
- Services that require custom fields related to the user. This includes any fields beyond first name, last name, email address, and phone number. (Note that Google is currently working on improving this at the moment, so stay tuned!)
One example they give is location-agnostic multi-day tours (that is, tours that may depart from or visit a variety of locations). Given the specifics of unsupported services, it seems that Reserve is quite cut and dry at this point and does not allow for a lot of customization (e.g., specifying pick-up point, distributing waivers, etc.). That being said, if your tours do involve a lot of customization, you could try using Reserve for leads and following up with an automated email to collect more information — this could be either a list of questions that you ask directly in the email body or a Google form that syncs with a Google spreadsheet. That way, no matter how specialized your business is, you still have a chance to get creative and take advantage of this service. We hope to see something in the near future that does allow for specialized instructions or questions.
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