Travel queries through Google increase
Search giant Google stated that there had been an increase in travel-related queries in the last year. For example, searches for “cheapest countries to visit” increased by 7000% between February 22 and April 22 this year compared to the same period in 2021.
Between December 28, 2021, and February 25, 2022, searches for “entry requirements” increased by 600%, and searches for “book a flight” increased by 70% compared to last year.
In last week’s Q2 earnings report from parent company Alphabet, Google senior vice president and chief business officer Philipp Schindler said searches for places to visit in the summer increased 2X globally in Q2 compared to a year earlier, and searches for last-minute hotel deals were up 50%.
For partners such as airlines and hotels, the increase in search activity is a positive sign but still requires a strategy to determine how to convert that consumer interest into bookings.
Some data tools Google offers its partners include Google Trends, Destination Insights with Google, Flight Demand Explores, and Mobility Reports.
For Google, increased search activity translates into revenue, which rose 14% in the second quarter to $40.7 billion, “driven by both travel and retail,” according to Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat.
Meanwhile, Susie Vowinkel, Google’s general manager of global travel, said that “what we’ve learned over the last two years is that it’s been really hard to predict where people are going to travel, how many people are going to travel, and what constraints might prevent or enhance it.”
“What we’re really trying to do is help our partners be able to be able to capture that demand without having to know exactly what those things are that they need to anticipate and just be prepared to capture it naturally as it comes back,” he added.
He said travel partners successfully captured post-pandemic demand using strategies with three common characteristics: knowledge-driven, data-driven, and agile.
Looking ahead, Vowinkel maintains that Google will continue to develop travel tools to assist partners and help consumers make travel decisions. One of the updates just launched is Things to Do. Following the addition of booking links last fall to the “Things to Do” platform, the system is now integrated into Maps, so consumers can compare and access booking links for tours, activities, and attractions directly in the Maps app (currently only on iOS).
He said Google is also very interested in sentiment related to business travel and will be releasing custom research on global trends later this year.