How Google changed the travel and tourism industry

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Marketing and communication

Topics: Markets, Travel
Home 9 Marketing and communication 9 How Google changed the travel and tourism industry

Google’s goal is to provide answers to users. By now the search engine allows us to immediately find 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 involving different players: airlines, hotels, restaurants, publishers.

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

Travel advice and tourist information

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

Is it all over for bloggers and news sites? Absolutely not. You just have to change the shot and focus more on the quality and originality of the content. Google’s algorithm is like the ace that takes everything, that collects and aggregates the information it can process. A computer, however, fails to live personal experiences and to give original interpretations. Here is where the human factor comes in, the real added value of the travel blogger.

The same applies to associations and institutions for tourism promotion. 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 ensure that the points of interest of the territory are enhanced by Google, curating the tabs on Google My Business and providing relevant information to the search engine.

Booking scheduled and low-cost flights

Google Flight allows you to search for the most convenient flights for certain routes and then goes directly to the operator’s page to complete the operation. To enable this feature, simply ask Google via voice search or typing about 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 flight booking sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner that work just like Google Flights and collect data from a number of external sites and group them together to show the most affordable deals.

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

Hotels and holiday homes booking

A similar argument applies to bookings of accommodation, hotels, residences, campings and holiday homes. Again there are large booking portals, such as Booking or Airbnb,but the same Expedia that sells full flight packages, hotels and car rental. These platforms have achieved such popularity and credibility that travelers seek the best deal there.

But there are facilities that still expertly use the website to receive bookings. This is a parallel tool to the Ota (online travel agency) that can be the point of arrival of Seo activity and advertising. A customer earned in this way has a higher value because you do not have to leave commissions at Ota, but it is also more difficult to obtain and for this reason you need a more accurate strategy.

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

Booking restaurants and local services

After booking, we now see the stage of the stay in the destination place. Here Google returns to play a more starring role. As for booking the restaurant,it split the cake with Tripadvisor, but also with apps like TheFork that point to the offers. The highlight is definitely Google Maps which quickly offers a number of solutions nearby and instantly shows photos and reviews. It also allows you to call directly to book. Managing the My Business tab and a well-indexed website can significantly increase bookings.

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

Google for travel: pros and cons

We have seen that the stages in which Google shows muscles and is indispensable are to search for information about a destination and search for restaurants and services on site. In these cases, a strategy that at least involves ranking on Google Maps and a well-indexed website is critical.

In the phase of booking flights, hotels or vacation homes,Google has to clash with other web giants. In this case, a placement of the card on Google My Business, along with obviously a website made from Seo perspective, can help you outperform competitors in visibility by increasing bookings through all other channels.

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

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

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

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Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

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