You could almost feel the air being sucked out of the room as Oliver Heckmann of Google closed off Day 1 of Phocuswright Dublin with a talk on everything the world’s largest search engine was doing in travel. I sensed everyone was grappling with the massive implications everyone of its products would have on their individual businesses.
Starting off with a personal story on how technology has raised consumer intolerance – knowing something (in his case, Uber) is there and not being able to use it because of government regulations in Germany, he said, “What you used to accept for 12 years suddenly becomes intolerable.”
He then went on to share how the world was going mobile. Between last quarter 2015 and first quarter 2016, there’s been an almost 40% increase in mobile searches in travel, mobile’s share of visits to travel sites increased to 40%, there’s been a continual decrease in time per visit on travel mobile websites and there’s been a 10% increase in mobile conversion rates on travel mobile sites.
What this was doing was creating more micro-moments. He then went on to list everything Google was doing to capture every one of our micro-moments in travel – so that it can become our personal travel assistant.
Destinations on Google – he called it an upper funnel product which would allow you and me to snack on, and compare, destination content. He said Google had seen high engagement on visual and video content, and the propensity to click on other places to explore was high.
“We are optimising still but it’s been well received by partners, users and media.”
Planet Trip – this will allow us in real time to explore the real cost of getting somewhere and staying there. To do this, Google is calculating trillions of price updates in air and hotel. “It’s massive technology work.”