How Google Has Changed the Travel & Tourism Industry

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Marketing and communication

Topics: Markets, Travel
Home 9 Marketing and communication 9 How Google Has Changed the Travel & Tourism Industry

Google’s goal is to provide answers to users. Nowadays the search engine allows us to immediately find and view all the information we are looking for, to book directly and to get unsolicited but interesting advice. This has recently led to major upheavals in the tourism and travel industry that have involved several players: airlines, hotels, restaurants, publishers.

Many other channels have grown, such as social media (Instagram above all), OTAs and online booking platforms (Booking, Expedia, Airbnb), airline websites (especially low cost). Despite this, Google remains the most important online traffic channel and the reference point for those who are looking for accurate information. Updates and changes to the search engine have therefore revolutionized the travel and tourism industry. Let’s see how.

Travel tips and tourist information

For many years, bloggers and tourist information sites have written SEO articles to intercept users’ questions on the search engine; today, with Google Travel , everything changes. Let’s try to search for “What to see in Turin”. Before, advice articles appeared, today we find a featured snippet that shows us the most important monuments and museums in the city. By clicking we find ourselves in a tab that gives us all the interesting tourist information: museums, monuments, points of interest, food and typical products, neighborhoods and even recommended itineraries. The information is mainly obtained from Wikipedia and Google Maps, but also from websites crawled by the search engine.

Is it all over for bloggers and news sites? Absolutely not. We just need to change the focus and focus more on the quality and originality of the content. Google’s algorithm is like the ace catcher, collecting and aggregating the information it can process. However, a computer is not able to live personal experiences and give original interpretations. This is where the human factor comes into play, the real added value of the travel blogger.

The same goes for associations and tourism promotion bodies. On the one hand, they should focus on original routes and visits to be communicated directly or indirectly through bloggers, journalists and influencers. On the other hand, they should make sure that the points of interest in the area are enhanced by Google, curating the listings on Google My Business and providing relevant information to the search engine.

Booking of scheduled and low-cost flights

Google Flight allows you to search for the cheapest flights for certain routes and then redirects you directly to the operator’s page to complete the operation. To activate this feature , simply ask Google via voice or written search for a flight from destination A to destination B. In some cases, it may suggest the alternative of train travel.

The most used channel, however, are specialized flight booking sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner , which work just like Google Flights and collect data from a series of external sites and group them to show the most convenient offers.

The third channel is that of airline websites, especially for low-cost flights. Many travellers go directly to search on Ryanair or easyJet websites. Unlike searching for information, Google faces fierce competition from large offer aggregators and the airlines themselves for flight bookings.

Hotel & Vacation Rental Booking

A similar argument applies to bookings for accommodation facilities, hotels, residences, campsites and holiday homes. Also in this case there are large booking portals, for example Booking or Airbnb, but the same Expedia that sells complete flight, hotel and car rental packages. These platforms have achieved such popularity and credibility that travelers look directly there for the best deal.

But there are establishments that still use the website wisely to receive bookings. It is a parallel tool to OTAs (online travel agencies) that can be the point of arrival for SEO and advertising activities. A customer earned in this way has a higher value because you don’t have to leave commissions to OTAs, but it is also more difficult to obtain and for this reason a more accurate strategy is needed.

Google therefore faces competition from OTAs, but its value is undisputed in the field of local search. It has developed the integration of a booking system within Google Maps and has even gone so far as to aggregate the offers of different OTAs to compare the most convenient.

Reservation of restaurants and local services

After booking, let’s now see the phase of staying at the place of destination. Here Google returns to play a more leading role. As far as restaurant booking goes, it splits the cake with Tripadvisor, but also with apps like TheFork that point to deals. The highlight is definitely Google Maps, which quickly offers a number of nearby solutions and immediately shows photos and reviews. It also allows you to call directly to book. Managing your My Business listing and having a well-indexed website can increase bookings considerably.

As for other services such as museums, entertainment, shops and the sale of basic necessities sought after by tourists, the Google My Business tab is once again the tool to get more customers. To this must be added integrated into an integrated strategy that improves local positioning.

Google for Travel: Pros and Cons

We have seen that the stages in which Google flexes its muscles and is indispensable are those of searching for information about a destination and searching for restaurants and on-site services. In these cases, a strategy that includes at least positioning on Google Maps and a well-indexed website is essential.

When booking flights, hotels or vacation rentals, Google has to go up against other web giants. In this case, a positioning of the listing on Google My Business, together with a website created from an SEO perspective, can help to outperform competitors in visibility by increasing bookings through all other channels.

In summary, Google is a great ally for those who deal with the proposal of the territory, for those who provide tourist information and for hotels, restaurants and local services that want to increase bookings and customers. Write to me to find out what you can do in your specific case.

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).

Keep in touch

Would you like to add value to your digital marketing activities?

Keep in touch now! You can find me on LinkedIn, or you can write filling the following form.

I hope to hear from you soon.

1 + 1 =

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).