At its marketing agency Live event on Tuesday, Oliver Heckmann, VP of engineering, shopping and travel at Google, announced the company’s latest efforts to consolidate and simplify travel planning. Known simply as Trips, it’s available on both desktop and mobile and allows users to explore sights and attractions as well as shop for flights, hotels and packages.
If you already have some travel booked, the “Trips” tab will display an automatically generated timeline based on confirmation emails from your Gmail inbox. The timeline features a weather forecast, reservations, flights and accommodations and gaps in the timeline are presented with suggestions such as locations from the user’s map or search history. In the next few weeks, users will get the ability to directly edit their trip timeline and manually add reservations. If you don’t have a trip booked (or aren’t logged in), this tab will show recommendations for potential trips and popular destinations.
The Explore tab presents photographs, articles, videos and other information about a location, including “Things to do,” “Suggested day plans,” and “When to visit.”
The “Flights,” “Hotels,” and “Packages” tabs let users compare prices but all transactions are still handled through other parties.
Why we should care
Trips can be used to view, research and save potential destinations and attractions. This information can be used to retarget visitors that have already expressed interest in your business or to target travelers who may be passing through your area.
The “Explore” tab has a section that features articles and videos, which may be a way to increase traffic to your travel content.
“Our aim here is to help users connect the dots, organize their trip information better and make trip planning easier. And that creates more leads and more opportunities for you to connect with those users in their moment of intent,” Heckmann explained at the Ads Innovation keynote. Trips’ equal emphasis on desktop and mobile users should make it a useful advertising tool whether that “moment of intent” happens to be weeks in advance or when travelers are right at your business’ doorstep.
More on the news
Once upon a time. Google first dipped its toes into the travel sector by acquiring ITA Software back in 2010. It launched its Flights and Hotel Search services shortly after that. Over the years, the company has added more features to those services and improved their mobile interfaces. In 2016, it launched the Trips mobile app, which is something of a predecessor to this latest offering.
In March of this year, Google expanded Hotel Search to include vacation rentals and now they’ve made another attempt to consolidate all of their travel services in one place. As a travel planning tool, the new Trips might make navigating the various stages of planning a bit more fluid for consumers, which can encourage them to book all their reservations in the same session or pick up where they left off, while brands are still fresh on their minds.