May's launch of the Google Travel website desktop version is another step toward a one-stop travel shop experience. Consumers can now plan and book their travel end to end – from flights to hotels to vacation packages – all on one page.
Google has been working to simplify travel through Google Travel, which helps travelers make nearly complete travel arrangements and manage them through the centralized Google Trips app and desktop version. The Google Travel website now provides travelers a central location to plan and book and entire trip while storing searches and other information along the way.
The consolidation of planning an itinerary complements platforms like Kigo that provide a customized and personalized traveler experience.
How to use Google Trips
Through Google Travel, Trips builds a detailed travel timeline (it even has weather updates) with its integration with Google Search, Google Maps and Gmail.
Google Vice President, Product Management, Travel, Richard Holden wrote in a recent post that the company is simplifying trip planning for travelers through Google Travel Planner and the Google Travel App.
“You can either go to google.com/travel or search for something like ‘hotels in Tokyo’ or ‘Vancouver’ to find travel information from a variety of sources in one place,” he wrote. “Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device.”
Google’s desktop version trumps improvements made last year for navigating travel and hotel bookings on smart phones, which requires moving to multiple screens. The new version provides a much more seamless experience.
Simplifying the vacation rental booking process
A unique feature is that the platform builds a research library as travelers search to book their trip. This allows users to quickly look at results from previous searches, instead of backtracking, which simplifies the booking process.
Recent searches, saved places and flights that are being tracked are added automatically to the user’s Trip account when signed into Google. Travelers can also see articles relating to chosen destinations and find out more about events, nearby restaurants and other attractions.
And more is on the way. Holden said in a short time, Google will add "viewed things to do" and "saved and viewed hotels" to Trips.
“In the next few months, your trips – including reservations for things like hotels and restaurants – will be accessible in Google Maps, too,” he said.
At least for now, Google isn’t getting involved in transactions but continues with its meta search engine model that refers users to advertisers to book trips on a single page. Users still need to book directly with an airline, hotel or online travel agency – Google is just assembling the pieces in one nice, neat package. The only things missing are car rentals, ride shares and cruise booking capability.
Hotels and vacation rental property managers can work with Google directly, which is good news. Personalization continues to be a growing trend and Google, which has become a trusted source with travelers, does it better than any other travel search engine with its vast data and resources.
- VRBO listings are prevalent on Google Travel. Because of this, we recommend fully optimizing VRBO profiles and making them an important part of your channel management strategy.
- At this time users, can’t book through Google Travel. They research and select a listing on Google Travel, then are directed to listing on the OTA site. Kigo Channel Manager is extremely important because it distributes property data to OTA’s, syncing the user’s channel manager dashboard with their calendar and external listings.
- OTA’s and Google Travel are still very dependent on each other, as OTA listings feed into Google Travel and OTA ad spend is significant.
- Google is under heavy pressure from top players in the travel industry to keep Google Travel separate from Google Search results. What this means for Kigo clients is that Direct and OTA bookings are likely the primary revenue source through Google Travel for the immediate future.
- To increase direct bookings from Google search, it’s important to take advantage of mobile-friendly website design and leverage SEO.
For Kigo customers, this means that travelers will shop with confidence and, based on Google’s recommendation with its advertisers, book and pay directly. Also, the personal travel experience will be re-enforced through Kigo’s vacation rental platform, which is designed to allow travelers to customize nearly every aspect of their trip from the start. Learn more!