Google has always been dubbed as a company with a forward-thinking philosophy; triggering a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond its core search-engine service. Having always had a foothold in travel with the Google Maps navigation system, proclaimed the world’s most popular smartphone app in 2013, Google has now introduced “Google Trips”, a culmination of more than two years’ work on improving its current travel offerings.
Google Trips represents the collective of Google’s travel offerings and more. Having become frontrunners in travel search engines with Google Flights, a flight planner which boasts a host of features powered by the same technology both KAYAK and Orbitz rely on, Google has now introduced the ability to seamlessly plan an entire trip – right down from the destination to exactly where you should eat lunch.
“See more, plan less” is the mantra for Google Trips, aimed at the modern travellers who are more ambitious than ever, but simply don’t have the time to map out all the finer details of a holiday. A flexible and on-demand solution to combat the bugbear of planning a trip requires an arsenal of features and functionalities that are revolutionary to an age-old industry, and that’s just how Google has achieved greatness and market share with its products.
“We really need to help consumers when they’re actually at their destination,” says Richard Holden, Vice President of Product Management at Google. To cater to a truly insistent audience, who has been influenced by this proclaimed “rise of modern mobile travelers”, accessibility is key. The ability to access information anytime, anywhere without the need for costly mobile add-ons is key to pleasing modern consumers. Google hasn’t missed this trick with the development of Googe Trips, which allows for offline browsing and downloadable content to be stored and cached for offline access.
Google may not have any authority in the country the traveller is visiting, but being able to provide guides and recommendations offline really does work in favour of Google Trips being a “personalised tour guide in your pocket.” Relying on the sheer amount of data Google has access to may mean the experience provided isn’t as authentic as that of Airbnb, for example, who reach out to locals to provide first-hand knowledge to visitors, but what Google Trips hones in on is practicality, accessibility and ease of access – a must for modern day consumers.
Historically, travel apps specialise in offering one particular feature. This could be providing flights, listing accommodation options or advertising activities and tourist attractions. Offering the ability to articulate day-to-day schedules for a holiday, pulling in external data and reviews from other Google products, allows users to completely customise and be in control of their trip.
Unlike traditional travel agents who may offer a “one size fits all” approach to providing holiday experiences, Google Trips profits on offering the ability for users to build their day around places they are genuinely interested in. A multitude of considerations and filters advances these functionality even further, with Google Trips allowing users to put in time constraints for consideration and other external factors that may play a role in influencing the day.
In a mobile-first world, a number of services are readily available to be downloaded from app stores – from online banking, to news outlets. Whilst phone apps offer convenience, they are also at risk of cluttering smartphone home-screens and storage data. Less is certainly more, and the ultimate USP of Google Trips is the centralised travel experience as a whole. Whether it’s organising a flight, hotel stay or rental car information, Google Trips offers all elements of planning a holiday, as well as providing useful “Need To Know” information such as local currency and emergency numbers and contacts.
By offering everything from flight information (pulled from your Google Mail account), right down to essential information, travel guides and recommendations, Google Trips eliminates the need for multiple apps and focuses on providing a singular, seamless app that incorporates each element of planning a holiday. The ease of the app not only appeals to modern travellers who seek streamline services, but to any demographic who is looking for a simpler and centralised travel experience.
With Google leading the way in revolutionising the travel experience, making it instantly more accessible and understandable for the breadth of consumers, it would require a drastic expansion of offerings from the likes of SkyScanner and Airbnb to follow suit offering the full 360° experience.
Still in its infancy, Google Trips has the potential to establish itself as the travel app, with each new update offering a new and unique service to the app. Google’s history of establishing beneficial partnerships and relationships with other companies may help make the trip experience richer, and revolutionise the entire travel experience as we know it.
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