Edward Lines of Google, who works closely with hotels to help them get more direct bookings, noted the inexorable rise of the smartphone – 71% of travellers used their smartphone for travel research in 2017, up from 56% in 2016. And with this upsurge, 86% also expect travel companies to have a fast site/booking experience. ‘Over half will leave your site if it’s slow, so make sure make sure you have a seamless and fast customer experience,’ he urged.
To this end, Google Travel aims to create more personalised and assistive experiences for users, from the dream phase of looking at possible destinations through planning, booking and the travel experience itself, and to help partners engage with travellers across devices and contexts.
He talked about the need to show as much info as possible in as user-friendly way as possible on screen so users can make informed travel decisions – ‘within 30 seconds they should be able to come away with user reviews, pricing of hotels, maps and destination info.’
Voice search and the use of machine learning to drive more seamless recommendations, knowledge and personalisation is also part of the near future for Google. So travellers can look forward to simply speaking their need to, say, book a trip to one of their regular destinations and the booking will be made automatically.
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