Google says travel brands ‘must act quickly to take advantage of trends’

Travel brands must be prepared to act quickly and respond to emerging trends if they’re to take advantage of the rebound after the pandemic.

Google’s agency development manager, Jad Khalil, told a Travel Perspective session at World Travel Market that strategies need to be honed for different audiences and a fast-moving market.

He said some of the current trends will be temporary while others are here to stay and brands must constantly monitor the data to determine which are which.

“Keep monitoring and respond to the fast-moving trends that are happening,” he said. “Always differentiate between what’s here to stay and what is here as a temporary measure for Covid.

“We need to apply our strategies for different audiences, for emerging audiences and domestic audiences. Always focus on automating things. It’s a dynamic world because things are changing every day.”

Khalil said interest in travel has seen a significant improvement in recent months, in some cases to above pre-pandemic levels.

But he said people are researching and planning more and leaving it later to book. Google data shows 24% of people are spending more time researching while 60% of domestic searches on OTA Expedia are for travel with 0 to 21 days’ time.

Steve Hyde, chief executive of Push Group, a strategic partner of Google’s, agreed that speed to market and being the first to open-up new channels is vital to push down acquisition costs.

He said the move to digital is speeding up with 70 pence in every pound spent on marketing in the UK now going online.

“It’s so important to try to test new things quickly,” he said. “It’s so important being the first to implement new tactics and strategies.

“Just taking Google alone, they have 300 beta tests a year they are rolling out. It’s important to try these things quickly.

“It’s in everyone’s interests to look at other channels. Those brands that take the time to nurture and grow consumer relationships up and down the funnel see 50% more sales at 33% less cost.

“You have to mix and blend your activities. It’s so important to take a multi-channel approach.”

Hyde said businesses have not migrated as quickly as consumers to digital and that digital channels remain good value compared to traditional media.

The pandemic did see a reduction in costs at the start because advertisers cut their budgets and left certain platforms, but Hyde said there are tools available for firms of all sizes.

“We have clients spending less than $1,000 a month and others up to half a million dollars a month,” he said.

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