Google deepens its interest in the travel sector with the launch of new services Google Trips and Destinations On Google.
2016 is fast becoming the year that Google cements its interest in the travel industry. The search engine giant has long been in ‘partnership’ with travel companies in terms of promoting large brands through its trademark channels of keyword SEO and PPC advertising. However, it has recently announced its own interest in the travel industry with the introduction of two new services – Google Trips and Destinations on Google.
Trips is a brand new travel app which has been released to beta testers in Google’s Local Guides programme. The platform is an informative mix of a guide and a concierge service and is fully integrated with existing Google tools such as maps. Attractions, such as restaurants, bars and top sights, are easily available for users to click on.
From an admin point of view, Google Trips takes care of those all-important travel docs by pulling in email confirmations such as flight details, accommodation bookings and other tickets to form a scheduled itinerary for your visit. It is also easy to plot routes between key points on your trip and discover public transport timetables.
Destinations On Google
Mobile users who are browsing for travel inspiration will love the Destinations on Google service. By simply typing in a place idea such as ‘Paris destination’ into Google Search from a mobile device, you will be presented with a travel brochure style overview of the location which includes the main destination highlights.
If you’re interested in finding out more about visiting a place, then you can click on ‘Plan a trip’ to learn about accommodation options in the local area as well as flight details to get you there. You can also search for a particular type of holiday experience such as ‘Alps Skiing Destination’ or ‘Amazon Canoeing Destination’.
Whilst Google has previously launched travel add-ons such as Google Flight Search and Hotel Finder with limited impact, the recent offerings from the search engine are causing a more significant buzz. Perhaps this is due in part to the recent increase in smartphone usage and Google’s considerable understanding of how users are choosing to utilise their mobile devices for everyday search related activities.
A reported 40% increase of mobile searches in the travel category within the first three months of 2016 proves that mobile travel apps are worth focussing on, so it is no surprise that Google has demonstrated its commitment to providing for this interest.
Google is the most famous search engine in the world with a consistently dominant market share in the industry. Whilst travel apps such as TripIt also perform tasks such as pulling in travel confirmations and other user content, Google won’t have to work as hard as its competitors within the travel industry to get consumers to try out their services.
Very little investment will need to be plunged into brand awareness for their new products and services, which means that the search engine will be able to continue dipping its toe into the travel market for the foreseeable future. Watch this space to see how well Google’s latest products perform in 2016.
Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travel Insurance, who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.
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