As Google ‘Things to do’ rolls out, we are consolidating the Frequently Asked Questions about the program and how your business can benefit from it today.
What is the difference between Reserve with Google (RwG) and Google 'Things to do'?
Since August of 2021, Google has been piloting their new ‘Things to do’ (GTTD) travel platform where end users can easily compare options for buying tickets and are then able to click through to your website to complete the transaction. Before GTTD, Google ran a different model called ‘Reserve with Google’ which excluded all but the largest players.
This now redundant Google model produced a “Buy Tickets” button creating a buying flow where customers never leave the search engine. On the back end, customers would complete their booking through the world's larger Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). If a company like yours wanted their product to appear in Google, you were limited to distributing them through an OTA, obviously ceding all control to the OTA, as well as being locked into high commission payments with the OTA for the privilege of their opening the Google channel to you.
GTTD turns the table on this restrictive and costly model and offers all operators the direct opportunity to list their products and services freely. Google does not process any bookings itself but instead passes users directly to your website. There are some differences between the way GTTD lists attractions versus tours and experiences.
What is the difference between GTTD for Attractions Vs Tour and Experiences?
GTTD allows attractions and ticket-based businesses to list their ticket options as the ‘Official Site’ alongside other reseller listings, avoiding commission and booking through a third party. Users will clearly identify your site with an 'Official Site' badge added next to your link for authority.
You will also be able to display more than one ticket type and pricing to users. The 'Official Site' tag can only be claimed by the attraction themselves via Livn. You cannot do it through your 'Google My Business' or by email.
Here is an Example
Tours & Experiences
In the case of tour and activity operators, GTTD levels the playing field for operators of all sizes, allowing you for the first time to publish your products into Google, without the reliance of Online Travel Agencies.
GTTD for tour and activity providers is centered around Points of Interests (POIs), representing important locations, such as museums, monuments, bridges, zoos, national parks, etc. If your products provide meaningful experiences around relevant POIs, you may have an opportunity to publish your products to these POIs so that they appear in more search results.
Can an Online Travel Agency or other resellers claim the “Official Site” listing for my Attraction business?
No. Only the business owner can claim the “Official Site” button.
If I choose not to claim the “Official Site” button, will my Attraction tickets still be listed?
Yes. Your product listing will highly likely come from the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) you work with. Your reseller's OTAs will not be able to claim the “official site” label however, your products can be listed and booked.
I am an Attraction owner and I want to remove all re-sellers offering my tickets under my Attraction business listing.
Livn does not control or have any influence on this. We advise that you try to contact the re-sellers directly and request removal as they are the only ones that can do this. Google will not be able to remove these listings for you.
Can an Online Travel Agency’s or other resellers also list my tour and activity products?
Yes, if that re-seller has a direct integration into GTTD and has access to your product/s they may list your product and direct the user to complete the transaction on their site. You will have no control over this. As a result, you will have to pay a commission. Therefore, it is important that you take control and list your product/s via Livn so that you can send customers directly to your digital assets to complete the transaction with you.
How can Livn help me to be part of Google 'Things to do'?
Via Livn’s integration with Google, we are the pipe that can get your inventory activated into Google environment and send customers directly to your website. Livn will provide you with our market-first GTTD product publishing tool ensuring that you have full control of the products you wish to publish including images, tittle’s, descriptions, landing pages, pricing, and the ability to easily attribute your products to Google high search traffic Points of Interest (POI’s). We ensure that your product listing will meet all of Google’s data structure requirements.
What are the minimum requirements to list with Google 'Things to do'?
You must provide a landing page that goes directly to the product details of the specific experience.
The product the user clicked on Google should be easy to identify when the user lands on your site. As such, it must be prominently displayed on the landing page.
The price of the product should be easy to identify, and it should match the price provided to Google in Livn’s inventory feed. If a landing page has multiple prices, the advertised product's price must be the most prominent.
A user should land on a page that is straightforward to navigate to book the selected product. Google requires that you maintain a consistent presentation of the product and pricing the user selected and a clear path to booking the product found on Google.
On request products where an inquiry form must be submitted will not be accepted.
Which product types will not be accepted on GTTD?
Overnight activities where the lodgings are not the focus are ok, such as a multi-day wine tour.
Overnight hotel stays and multi-day cruises are not eligible.
Must adhere to Google’s dangerous products or services guidelines. For example, some activities involving explosives, guns, weapons, recreational drugs, and tobacco are not permitted.
Transit-specific businesses (such as airport pickups, car services, and rental cars) are not permitted. Tours that include transport can be offered, such as a bus tour or boat tour.
Virtual experiences are not supported at this time. Inventory must take place in a physical location.
Restaurant coupons and reservations are not permitted.
How much does it cost?
With Livn, there is no commission, no transaction fee, and no cost per click; we are simply charging an affordable fixed monthly data publishing fee to publish your products onto Google 'Things to do'.
How many products can I list?
It is up to you. We offer you the flexibility to publish as little or as many products as you wish. There is an affordable plan to suit your needs.
What if I have timed entry and other complex booking options that Online Travel Agencies do not currently support?
This is not a challenge for us. Livn will ensure that we present the right lead in data on Google. We will send the user directly to your website booking page. The customer will then proceed through your booking flow controlled by you on your website.
Who takes the booking for a product?
You take the booking via your own website. This means that you collect payment directly from the customer (no waiting for money to be sent from Online Travel Agencies). Most importantly, you own all the data and “The Customer.”
Is Livn a reservation system like Fareharbor, Bokun, Rezdy and others?
No. Livn is a connectivity hub connecting Google to the world’s leading reservation systems, so they do not have to create single integrations. We can activate your inventory into the Google Things to do program regardless of whether you are on a reservation system or not, ensuring you do not miss out.
Is Livn an Online Travel Agency?
No. It means you do not pay us a commission; we are the pipe that can get your inventory activated into Google and send customers to your website, where they can complete the booking directly with you.
I heard that Google is still testing the 'Things to do' program and that it is in a beta phase. Why do I need to worry about it now?
The program is now coming out of beta which means GTTD is now open for all to participate via Livn. It will mean you get a first-mover advantage over your competition. However, please be prepared for things to change as Google has indicated the program will evolve.