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Monday, 09-11-2020

Google presentation at WTM - key points for Tour and Experience operators

Fascinating presentation by Google UK at London’s World Travel Market this morning. Here are my key takeaways:
Change is now a constant, so we must learn to react and react quickly to take advantage of the pent up demand as and when restrictions are lifted.
Consumer search terms of transport types has changed from public (train, flight, bus) to local and 4 wheels. “Car hire near me” searches at it’s highest level in over 15 years.
Health & safety (is my experience safe), travel bans (getting stuck, or quarantining) and getting refunds from providers are consumer’s main barriers to travel right now.
There are 3 key steps operators need to take
1 – Take Action early
2 – Monitor leading indicators
3 – Accelerate Digital Transformation
Take Action early, Google cited pivoting to virtual, which we all know, but also cited companies how have reacted quickly in terms of their messaging around refunds and safety. Three key things to think about under the bracket of “Take Action Early" are
a)Get the right marketing objectives in place
b)Are you positioning yourself properly for when demand returns?
c)Ensure your go to market message resonates with consumers as their demand and expectations change.
Monitor leading indicators
Google cited that they have been monitoring the Stringency Index against their search data and have seen huge vertical spikes in searches for areas that are removed from restrictions. They advocate ensuring you have hedged your budget wisely so when restrictions are lifted you can react quickly with ads.
Accelerate Digital Transformation
Google has invested heavily in it’s machine learning capability. As such they promote Auto – Targeting, Auto-bidding and Auto-creative. Essentially this is an ad service which enables google to show consumers an ad that does not have the key words in but has key words in your website which links to the user search term. It’s called dynamic search ads.
Auto-bidding knows what the users personal likelihood is to actually click through to an ad and in real time conducts an auction among advertisers to see which ad they will show to the consumer.
Another very interesting development is with Google’s “commission for stay” product. If a customer clicks through you only pay the commission to google if they actually stay. It’s for hotels now, but I can see it working for Tours and Experiences.
Auto creatives creates personalisation for an individual user. Responsive search ads enables google to personalise an ad for the individual user, meaning they are more likely to click through.
Their summary was:
Use Google’s insights (and other industry insights and data) to stay agile and enable you to react quickly.
Be aware of the three key behavioural shifts already happening:
1 – Destination (people looking for different destinations)
2 – Transport (travelling by different means)
3 – Expectations (have different standards around service and quality)
Don’t wait to take positive marketing steps.
1 – Take Action early
2 – Monitor leading indicators
3 – Accelerate Digital Transformation


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