An agreement between Tourism Vancouver Island and the Google Destination Marketing Organization has resulted a plan to verify businesses and provide 360 degree photography. (Citizen file)

Google headed back to Cowichan Valley in partnership with Tourism Cowichan

Agreement puts local merchants on the international map

Have you ever gone on Google Maps and looked at the street view photo of your house only to find out it’s still yellow and you painted it green two years ago?

On July 10 a team from Google is slated to return to the Cowichan Valley — and to other Vancouver Island locations — to update their shots, though homeowners are out of luck this time.

This time it’s all about the businesses.

Tourism Cowichan reports a new agreement between Tourism Vancouver Island and the Google Destination Marketing Organization has resulted in a new plan to verify businesses, optimize existing listings, and provide 360 degree photography — and it’s all at no cost to merchants.

“Increasing the visibility of our stakeholders and providing this information to visitors is paramount to the work we do to support tourism businesses and market Vancouver Island as a world-class destination, and for that reason, Tourism Vancouver Island will be providing these services for free to our stakeholders,” said a press release.

But business owners do need to put in a little bit of work, too.

“The data in many of Google’s online properties, including maps, local search, and reviews, is supplemented through a business’s Google My Business profile. Business owners can claim their Google My Business listing but are required to complete a verification process. While this typically requires businesses to wait for a postcard with a verification code, the new DMO Partnership Program empowers Tourism Vancouver Island to verify businesses on location,” said the release.

For the shops that already have their Google My Business listing, the verification team will provide optimization services including new photographs.

It’s worth the effort, said Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island’s president and CEO.

“This ease of access between the tourism stakeholders and Google is a big step towards providing more accurate travel information to travellers,” he said. “Increasing the visibility of our stakeholders and providing this information to visitors is paramount to the work we do to support tourism businesses and market Vancouver Island as a world-class destination.”

Interested business owners are encouraged to contact verifymylisting@tourismvi.ca to claim or optimize their profiles.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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