Google mistakes Hervey Bay Airport for supermarket

Cathy Sheaff, manager of Hervey Bay’s Airport IGA, is frustrated by the number of calls the store receives because of a Google error.
Cathy Sheaff, manager of Hervey Bay’s Airport IGA, is frustrated by the number of calls the store receives because of a Google error. Brendan Bufi

SHE runs a supermarket but thanks to a Google search error, Hervey Bay Airport IGA's Cathy Sheaff spends half her time convincing callers she's in the business of groceries, not planes.

Since the supermarket opened at the industrial estate more than three years ago, Google Maps has listed the phone number for the business as the contact for the Hervey Bay Airport.

When the Chronicle recently dialled the number expecting to be greeted by airport staff, Ms Sheaff politely explained she was the owner/manager of the IGA, Google had it wrong and she was happy to provide the correct number.

With an average of 10 calls per-day for the airport, it's a script she has perfected but one which she grew tired of repeating long ago.

Mindful of the need to maintain a positive image for people wanting to visit the region and her business, Ms Sheaff says she tries her best to be as patient as possible when fielding requests about flight times, airline prices and hotel transfers.

She trains staff to deal with callers and keeps the correct number for the airport at hand.

When Cyclone Marcia was headed for the region recently, staff at the supermarket gave up answering the phone all together after growing sick of disgruntled callers.

"We try to be so polite but people get really angry," Ms Sheaff said

"It's the most annoying thing as we are forever apologising and people don't understand it's not out fault."

The Chronicle understands at least two Hervey Bay restaurants have been battling to have their numbers corrected for the past year after they were incorrectly listed on an online directory.

Ms Sheaff said while she had forwarded many a complaint to Google regarding the error, she had been informed that it was the council which needed to pursue the correction as it was the listing for the airport which was wrong.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council had contacted Google in the past and received no response but after meeting with Ms Sheaff this week, had decided to try again.

Google could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

What to do when Google gets it wrong

  • Open Google Maps
  • Zoom in and click where you see the problem or search for the place you want to update
  • Click report a problem in the bottom right corner of the map
  • Follow the instructions to report your issue or click add a missing place to add a new place
  • Click submit.

Topics:  editors picks google hervey bay hervey bay airport iga urangan

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