Updated October 2023 – Did you know? Google drives more than 4 billion connections for businesses every month, including website clicks, phone calls, directions, and reservations through local search.

Plus – Searches for “unique things to do near me” have grown globally by over 100% YOY.

Most tour operators like yourselves already know how important Google is, and many of you have been optimizing your SEO for years to rank higher on Google.

However, recently you may have heard about or seen Google’s new product, Google Things to do, which may have caused a little confusion due to its continuous updates and release of new features.

In this article, we’ll go in-depth into Google Things to do. What is it, why tour operators like yourselves should care and how you can get connected.

Why Google launched Google Things to do:

Google’s mission is to be the trusted place where travelers go for the most useful information to make fast, effortless decisions.

Google created Google Things to do to help:

  • Connect travelers with the right experiences and businesses by serving up the most relevant and useful information
  • Help travelers compare and evaluate the best experiences
  • Make it as easy as possible for the traveler to book the experience

The key takeaway is that Google wants to make it as easy as possible for travelers to book your tours, activities and experiences.

How Google Things to do benefits tour operators:

Of course, the most important benefit is that Google Things to do drives more direct bookings to your business. They do this by:

  • Increasing your organic site traffic and Google ranking
  • Helping you stand out from the crowd with an Official Site Badge
  • Making your products more discoverable on Google Search and Maps

Plus – the majority of Google Things to do is free for tour operators.

If you usually run paid advertising campaigns for your business, you can also opt into Google Things to do’s advertising products. This will allow you to run more targeted and conversion-optimized ads.

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But what is Google Things to do?

Replacing the older ‘Google tours & activities’ operator’s tool, Google Things to do is a new search experience for tours, activities, and attractions that enables direct bookings through a supplier’s website and other booking channels. It helps users discover new experiences and sights by simplifying the travel research and booking process. For travel businesses, this presents a valuable opportunity to promote their tours and attractions with increased visibility and engage with consumers.

With Google Travel Things to do, partners can display their individual travel products and services in a digestible format that appeals to searchers. As the Google search engine results page highlights these products and services for relevant searchers, Google Things to do actively increases travel business’ online reach and helps drive direct bookings in the process.

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So how does Google Things to do work?

It works around points of interest (POIs). Points of interest can range from national icons like the Sydney Opera House & the Statue of Liberty to local attractions like the Big Banana, parks and town squares. It could also include paid attractions like zoos, theme parks, museums, etc.

When users look for specific points of interest, in addition to the ability to purchase tickets, Google will also showcase experiences, tours or activities that are close by or relevant to the point of interest.

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Here’s an example:

Maria is traveling to New York in the summer, so she uses Google to search for the Statue of Liberty. At the top of her results page, a ‘tickets’ tab will appear. She can then click on this tab to be shown a list of ticket options for the Statue of Liberty. Each option is linked directly to the ticket supplier’s checkout page, ensuring a quick and simple payment process.

If she scrolls down further, she will also see all the tours & activities close by or relevant to the Statue of Liberty, which again, is linked directly to the supplier’s checkout page.

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How will my products appear on Google Thing’s to do:

There are currently 4 Google Things to do surfaces or modules. The surface or module your products can appear on depends on the nature of your business.

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Google Things to do for tour operators:

The Operator Booking Module is an additional tab on your Google My Business Profile. It showcases your tours & activities, as well as all the different ways someone can book your tours and activities (whether directly or through resellers).

The good news – you may claim an “Official Site Badge” to help you stand out.

Accessible through: Connectivity Provider or Google Business Profile.

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Google Things to do for attractions:

This module appears when users look up specific attractions and is mainly used for products like tickets and admissions. For example, museums and zoos. The module lists all the different sources and prices for users to purchase tickets.

Claiming the “Official Site Badge” to help you stand out.

Accessible through: Connectivity Provider or Google Business Profile.

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Google Things to do for experiences:

Users who search for a particular attraction or points of interest will find the Experiences Booking Module by scrolling down on their search results page, where they’ll be able to compare and book all relevant experiences.

For example, if you search “Pergamon Museum”, you’ll find the module showcasing various relevant experiences such as guided tours. Once you select a tour, you’ll be taken to the operator’s final booking page.

Accessible through: Connectivity Provider only.

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Google Things to do ads:

Suppliers can now participate in Google Things to do ads, which showcase your tour, experience, or attraction at the top of the search engine results page. GTTD advertising also allows you to showcase your tour or activity rating.

Like the other Google Things to do features, clicking on the tour or activity will bring the guest to your final checkout page.

Note: Google Things to do ads require paid spend.

Accessible through: Connectivity Provider or Google Business Profile.

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How Google things to do drives bookings:

As mentioned briefly above, there are a few key ways Google Things to do drives direct bookings.

Build trust with an official site badge on your listing

The official site badge that comes with having an experience listing with Google Things to do helps you stand out from your competitors. This is especially when your listings are placed side by side. Considering that consumer preferences have shifted towards direct bookings over reseller bookings, the official site badge may directly increase your direct bookings. In fact, a recent study by GlobalData also found that 39% of consumers prefer to book directly, rather than through resellers. It’s likely that this number will continue to grow with each passing year. 



Increase site traffic and rankings by appearing on Google knowledge panels

Although not specifically mentioned by Google, it is likely that setting up a Things to do listing will have positive SEO implications on your website, similar to Google Business Profiles. Your listing will provide you with a referral link from Google, which is always a positive sign for SEO. Additionally, by driving more direct traffic, you are signaling to Google’s algorithm that your website is useful, which is extremely valuable when boosting your SEO.  

Boost marketing ROI with a free-to-use digital channel

While Google has just released a new ad format for Things to Do to drive further traffic, you can still access Things to do without using this paid option. This means that reaching more customers and increasing website engagement doesn’t have to come at the expense of a hefty price tag.

Run targeted ads

Google tours and activities

Google has also introduced a new ad format for Things to do. Using this ad format, your listings will appear as advertisements above the search results. These ads will show more in-depth details including photos, prices, your company’s name, and a booking link for the activity. It’s worth noting that this new ad format is very similar to Google Shopping Ads – which now win 85.3% of all clicks across US online retail according to Adthena Search Advertising Report.

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How to use Things to do

Excited to start using Google Things to do? Follow these simple steps to get your listings up and running.

Connect to Google Things to do

First thing first: connect your tour booking software to Google Things to do. With Rezdy, this step is as easy as clicking on the ‘Add Agent’ button in your software.

Update your Google Business Profile

An up-to-date Google Business Profile ensures that your business has an official presence on Google, which will help later down the track.

Optimize product listings with relevant and helpful information

Within your Rezdy booking software, you can easily update your product descriptions, images, and prices to ensure that your listing will capture the attention of Google users.

Create optimized landing pages for products

Match your listings and meta information to relevant landing pages that will provide users with further booking details. 

Run targeted ads

If you decide to advertise is Things to do, you can now set up your campaign. With Things to do campaigns, you can set a budget, select a bidding strategy, and customize the audience that your ads will be displayed to.

Manage your products

Monitor traffic and keep an eye out for issues or opportunities to optimize your listings.

Connect with Google Things to do via Rezdy

Rezdy makes it easy for travel businesses and activity operators to capitalize on the numerous benefits of listing your products and services on Google things to do. With Rezdy, you can optimize your product descriptions for Google, ensure consistent pricing across various channels, and monitor your booking data through a single, easy-to-navigate platform that accommodates third-party integrations.

Sign up for a free 21-day trial today and experience for yourself how Rezdy empowers travel businesses to drive direct bookings through Things to do.

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