It is “a guide to let the tourism industry reach travellers, wherever they are”, as it reads in the home page of the project that Google has just launched globally to help tourism marketing professionals get more information about what consumers are looking for. Let’s talk about Travel Insights, a platform with several free tools that allows you to make more informed decisions based on search data for destinations and hotels.

What is Travel Insights with Google

Travel Insights with Google is the new suite of free tools aimed at businesses, governments and citizens, which in the intentions of Mountain View will help the rebirth of world tourism, thanks to customized training materials specifically for target organizations and hospitality marketing professionals, which provide in-depth information on the real-time travel demand based on global Google Search data.

As Gianni Marostica (Managing Director for Travel Partnerships) writes on the company’s official blog, the project was launched in preview last December in the Asia Pacific region, and is now available in its full version in the United States (in collaboration with Destinations International and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International), but also in Italy and other parts of Europe.

A support to the travel sector

After very complicated months, in which tourism has suffered the backlash of the Covid impact paying perhaps the highest price, in recent months the travel industry is starting to show promising signs of recovery, especially because various parts of the world reopen borders and vaccinations continue.

La home di Travel Insights in inglese

From Google searches, Marostica explains, it also emerges that “people want to travel, provided they feel safe in doing so”: global searches for “where to travel”, “I can travel” and “covid travel restrictions” are close to historic highs, and Google is working to listen to customer feedback and ensure travel companies and tourism officials have the information they need to continue the recovery.

As part of Google’s continued global expansion, the platform is currently available with localized versions in Asia and Europe countries, including Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Croatia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Real time insights on travel demand

In order to provide travel companies and tourism officials with the information they need to recover from the pandemic, Google has created a series of tools that allow you to investigate the demand for travel in real time and then intercept it in a more conscious way.

In its full version, Travel Insights with Google includes three tools:

  • Destination Insights
  • Hotel Insights
  • Travel Analytics Center, for the exclusive use of travel business partners

How Destination Insights works

The first tool is called Destination Insights, anticipated for several months now also in Italy, and serves to view information and insights on destinations on a national and regional level, so as to discover how tourism demand is changing and what are the trends of the moment compared to demand in previous years.

This tool provides a clear picture of the main sources of demand by destination: for example, it allows you to enter a country of origin, a country of destination and a range of dates to display travel demand data for that specific destination.

In concrete terms, therefore, it offers travel companies, governments and tourism agencies a clear picture of demand trends, which can help users to understand where potential travellers might come from and to adapt marketing campaigns accordingly.

Two useful tools: focusing facts and demand sizing

Destination Insights also offers a featured mirror – called Focusing Facts – that shows a number of quick information such as “Fastest Growing Destination in the World“, “Country with Most Incoming Interest” and “Most Popular Cities Nationwide“. Focusing Facts are based on data from the previous 84 days and provide an all-round perspective.

Focusing Facts in Destination Insights

At the moment, for example, Italy is the destination with the highest growth in demand, Germany the country that has the most interest in incoming, and Rome the most popular city.

La schermata di Demand Sizing

Within Destination Insights there is also the Demand Sizing tool – sizing the demand for flights and accommodation – which allows you to apply separate filters to compare incoming and outgoing interest between a major country and up to ten comparison countries. This is the example of the current tourist demand for Italy.

How Hotel Insights works

Hotel Insights is designed to support the hospitality industry and hotel facilities, because it allows us to analyze trends in incoming booking research so as to help tourism marketing professionals identify the origin of the interest and intercept new guests by creating a stronger digital presence, highlighting its online business with targeted strategies in those markets.

This tool also collects and uses Google data on hotel search to provide useful information about travelers who are looking for accommodation in the area where their property is located, along with suggestions, assistance and tools that can help online activities.

In this way, it is possible to carry out campaigns targeted by region or country, study solutions and offers created “tailored” for a given user, analyze data and research trends to make more effective marketing initiatives and communication, but above all to know “what potential travellers of tomorrow are looking for, how to reach them and what to do to increase future bookings and the visibility of the activity”.

La ricerca di Hotel Insights per la Campania

In order to start using Hotel Insights simply enter a destination in the box and launch the analysis, which shows an overview of recent research trends, based on the last 12 weeks. For example, by including Campania as a target, we can discover the annual variation in the search intent for accommodation in the area, the variation in search of accommodation in the area (to help better manage periods with greater or lesser employment) and an analysis of the origin of visitors (comparison of national and international research for accommodation to focus communications and reach more potential guests).

Schermata di Hotel Insights per la Campania

Interesting are also the advice that Google offers to improve the functionality of the site: for example, if the analysis shows a strong feedback with a foreign country, the tool suggests to verify that the site is accessible and understandable, with pages properly translated, or to consider the possibility of inserting translations into the language of the country concerned. Furthermore, the Resources contain guidance to optimize the marketing strategy using Google products and not, from Google My Business (to create an online presence for the hotel) the SEO of the site, from digital marketing to encouraging the use of reviews up to paid advertising with Google Ads and Google Hotel Ads.

How Travel Analytics Center works

The last tool is called Travel Analytics Center and is available exclusively to Google’s trading partners operating in the travel industry: it allows you to have a clearer and broader picture on the topic thanks to useful performance and metrics of demand, so as to facilitate the actors in the hospitality sector in managing facilities, improving operations, enhancing strategic decision-making and finding opportunities to reach potential visitors and travellers.

A support to the tourism industry

Empowering the tourism industry will require ingenuity and commitment across the industry, says Marostica, and Google is actively working to “support travel and tourism professionals with the tools and information they need to get in touch with people looking for travel”and will continue to find new ways to assist the global travel and tourism industry by sharing data and insights that can accompany the recovery.

The first results of the Travel Insights tools are positive: since the trial started last year, “government tourism officials in places such as Singapore and Indonesia have had support in answering critical questions as they make decisions on reopening borders”.

The usefulness of Google Travel Insights for tourism marketing

The Travel Insights with Google suite can truly be a valuable support tool for demand analysis, especially if the information obtained is cross-referenced with Google Analytics data and all other internal data of the accommodation. In this way, you can put together a combination of information from multiple sources that allows you to interpret the demand in the best possible way, even in periods of strong instability like the current one.

The three tools seem to have some criticalities and limits: for example, the information of Destination Insights can be interesting for a single hotelier, but they are perhaps too “high level” for practical use, since measured on large destinations, and therefore is better suited to those who work in the definition of policies and strategies of destination management in a wider sense, to generate sustainable tourist flows and adapted to the needs of the territory itself in its entirety.

There is also some perplexity about Hotel Insights, which doesn’t seem (yet) able to provide fundamental data to create a solid strategy – so much so that Google’s advice refers rather to the need to have a strong and proactive online presence using the Mybusiness tab and implementing targeted campaigns through Google Ads.

In any case, it is always useful to be able to count on as many data as possible, cross-referencing information from private channels with those coming from Google products or other specialized tourism platforms, as Tripadvisor, to establish in the optimal way the strategy of reception, without forgetting to verify the actual search intent actual of the question.