Are You Open? Accurate Online Listings Key to Reopening Post-Covid-19

By: David Turner, VP of business listings management solutions for Neustar, a global information services and technology company and leader in identity resolution

If we didn’t know it before the COVID-19 pandemic, we do now. Going out for dinner is a cherished ritual that’s been dearly missed. Loyal patrons have been doing all they can to support their favorite local eateries during the lock-down, but a new set of challenges has been served up to restaurateurs. As owners plan their much-anticipated reopening day, it’s critically important that they ensure their online listings reflect accurate hours of operation, capacity information, and safety protocols.

During the COVID-19 reopening phase, people understand that restaurants are operating under extraordinary circumstances and won’t be at their usual capacity or their usual hours. But all this uncertainty is unnerving to customers, who value consistency and transparency now more than ever.
Accurate, up-to-date online business listing data will be key to maintaining customer trust and loyalty.

How can restaurants update their online listings?
According to Open Table, 90% of diners research a restaurant online before deciding where to eat, so it’s vital to keep Google, Apple Maps and Yelp information up-to-date with the latest information on operating hours and location openings or closings.

There are three main ways for restaurant owners to update their business listings:

  • Passively wait for third-party data to populate the listings
  • Manually update each through online portals offered by the major services (Apple, Google, Yelp)
  • Work with a business listings management partner

Search engines passively collect third party data and update listings organically, but that data is often slow to appear or is incorrect. There are more than 100 search engines that pull data independently and may deliver inconsistent results depending on which platform the customer searches.

Business listings can be manually updated one at a time through the online portal offered through each major online map listing platform like Google, Apple and Yelp. This can be a time-consuming process and maintaining consistent information across platforms is challenging..

This is where business listing management tools come in. Business listing management tools are the most effective way to help businesses mitigate the disruptions from COVID-19. In fact, many companies are offering listings management toolsets for free in light of the pandemic.

A listings management partner can ensure accuracy and streamline the process by using one tool to update all listings for a restaurant at once. By using broad data publishing approaches, even the smallest search platforms receive correct business information.

These companies offer services to update individual restaurant location listings in a fraction of the time and re-verify business listing details to keep them from becoming outdated or compromising customer transparency.

The importance of maintaining customer trust.
According to BrightLocal, 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online. Such inaccurate listings can result in frustrated customers and lost business.

With mandated closures, and limits on large gatherings, the restaurant industry has arguably been hit the hardest by the pandemic. But the good news is that people want to resume being your customers.
With accurate information, they’ll be booking a table in no time.