Google ups the ante in mobile travel booking
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Want to plan a vacation in one setting? Try Google. The tech company recently launched a new travel tool to help plan and book a vacation, evolving the influence of mobile technology in travel even further.
Destinations on Google allows consumers to look up destinations, plan a trip based on a specific activity you want to do, compare pricing options for both flights and hotels, see pricing trends during various combinations of dates and budget plans, and ultimately book your travel. Similar to what you can do on other travel sites such as TripAdvisor, Priceline and Kayak, Destinations on Google is specifically tailored to mobile.
Google has been slowly catering their platform toward travel in recent years through the creation of Google Flights and the improving capabilities of hotels to post information about their establishment through search and allowing consumers to book rooms through the Google search engine.
"According to our internal data for Google.com, we saw a whopping 50 percent increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones," Google's Engineering Director, Travel, Radhika Malpani announced in a recent blog post.
Google's new travel platform shows the growing strength that mobile plays when it comes to facilitating travel. In the fourth quarter of 2015, performance marketing company Criteo reported 52 percent of travelers' online browsing took place exclusively on mobile browsers. Approximately 54 percent of mobile travel transactions came through an app.
"It is just going to get more and more comfortable, and travel companies are making it easier for people to book on mobile," said Cathy Schetzina Walsh, Phocuswright senior research analyst.
Many other travel platforms have also gone in the same direction as Google when it comes to expanding the mobile travel experience. Booking.com recently rolled out a redesigned of its mobile platforms to allow consumers to find travel destinations to fit the activities they want to do during their vacation and allows them to also discover entirely new locations as well.
"We are creating an experience on Booking.com that allows people to search for destinations by passion," said Leslie Cafferty, vice president and head of global communications at the Priceline Group, owner of Booking.com. "You can discover amazing places tied to your passions, and book the destination all in one place."
While some booking platforms create new experiences for travel, one particular booking platform wants to use mobile as a strengthening tool to improve communication between hoteliers and guests. Expedia has created Expedia Partner Central Conversations to allow guests to interact with hotel staff if they have questions or to request special accommodations when booking.
"EPC Conversations, together with real-time feedback and guest reviews, provide our partners with a platform for improving guest engagement and experience from their mobile device," said Katie Long, director of product marketing at Expedia.
eMarketer predicts that the combination of mobile and tablet transactions in the U.S. will hit 51.8 percent in 2016.
"Hotels, airlines and online travel sites are better optimizing their websites for mobile bookings," said Oscar Orozco, eMarketer forecasting analyst. "As a result, people are finding a simpler and easier path to purchase and booking their trips right on their devices. This bodes well for the industry as a whole."
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