Google+ for personal use is now in beta with invites only (I can invite, if anyone would like to poke around in it (suggested) so they can at least learn how to navigate around in the interface.
Sadly I think innkeepers will have to pay attention to this “new” social network even if they don’t use the personal side of it, the business side I suspect will be important.
Unlike some of Google’s other forays into social media, I have a gut feeling this one is here to stay.
And I believe it will be important as well to have at least a minimal presence on Google+ for Business, especially considering that there is a very high probability level of Google+ for Business being integrated with Businesses Google Local/Places account.
This is not verified of course, a recent article on July 7th references a “concept” design that Google “could” come up with http://www.socialmedialogue.com/google-plus-for-business-pages-to-launch-later-this-year/654/
But if Google+ for personal is any indication, integrating the Google+ account with a current Google Personal profile, I think it’s highly likely that Google will go in a similar direction.
Google+ for personal has more then a passing resemblance to Facebook personal and again (on a gut feeling) I suspect Google+ for business will also be along the same lines as Facebook Fan Pages.
I think the couple of things that Lodging can do to a get a jump on being ready to create a Google+ Business Profile when it comes out are the following:
1. Any photos that are on your Facebook Fan page account (that you don’t have saved already offline) start downloading into albums. Unfortunately there is no longer any way to download the whole albums, it has to be done one picture at a time. So if you have a lot of online photos related to your business, I suggest getting on that as soon as possible. While this may not seem like a big thing, as I am finding out personally, taking photos off Facebook to ready for Google+ is time consuming!
2. Based on the probability of Google integrating their services, Lodging needs to beef up and optimize their Google Local/Places listing as much as they can in advance. If they have not claimed their listing they should do it anyway!
From Google: tips for Places:
I would value your input on what you think will happen down the road with Facebook Fan pages and Google+ for Business. http://www.facebook.com/forfengdesigns?sk=questions