Google Updates Travel Features

Google wants to be the first and last place you go for Labor Day travel planning—and for every day travel planning. The search giant previously said goodbye to the Google Trips app and moved travel booking to Google Travel. Now, Google has announced more features for its Travel product, adding to the depth of capabilities and likelihood to increase app engagement. Here’s a quick overview of Google’s updates.

Guaranteed pricing predictions

Google Flights has gained more detailed fare tracking capabilities beyond whether a flight route’s current price is high, medium or typical compared to average costs. Travelers can now see those cost assessments against the actual itinerary being considered for booking. According to Google, for “some flights,” the app will show how the cost has changed over recent months and notify the user if the algorithm suggests the price is about to increase or if it’s at rock bottom.

We’ve seen other fare predictors gone wrong before, but Google is guaranteeing pricing accuracy today through September 2 to earn user confidence. Here’s how it works:  If Google predicts the fare won’t decrease for select itineraries originating in the U.S. and booked between those dates, but it does drop, they’ll notify the user and refund the difference. Just use your Gmail to receive your flight confirmation, and the upcoming trip will flow into the app and can be seen at

Google Travel pricing insight

Consolidated and expanded features

The new functionality includes Google Maps’ Your Places with destination guides; recommendations and booking for hotels, restaurants and entertainment; reservation tracking across travel providers; and combined itineraries. Of course, you’ll stick with Maps in order to navigate when you reach your destination. The beta feature, Live View, uses augmented reality, or AR, on supported devices to overlay arrows, directional signage and instructions onto the actual view in front of the user as they walk.

Google Travel AR map

Want to be a travel influencer? The Google Timeline update lets you search your location history and share your list of visited destinations including shops, restaurants and other places. These businesses can then be part of your own city guide to share with your contacts. Make the guide public on Google Maps’ Explore for anyone to use.

Advertising opportunities

Google is right to drive users—and subsequently, advertisers—to its Travel products. Right now, travel is the sixth largest U.S. industry for ad spending, according to newly released eMarketer data. Rapid increase in travel, and competition by travel providers, results in increased advertising as a means of gaining market share. And, search advertising is practically a requirement for competing locally or nationally for travel spend. In fact, it makes up almost 11 percent of all search advertising investments across measured industries. Display and video are also gaining. Video spend for travel-related ads is anticipated to jump about 27 percent this year alone, although much of this is driven by social media, especially Instagram and Facebook.

Want to learn more about advertising with Google? Contact Mindstream Media Group to find out how our search marketing solutions can amplify your brand’s presence.

The Latest from Google: June 2017

Top Announcements from the Google Marketing Next Event and Posts on Google My Business

Google is consistently looking for ways to deliver relevant and seamless experiences. This is partly because people expect it. More and more people look to digital to have everything they need at any given moment. At last month’s Google Marketing Next event, Google focused on the need for innovation, staying one step ahead of consumers’ needs and the technology to make it happen. Through data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, Google believes it can truly deliver what people want before they even know it. In partnership with advertisers like you, Google wants to enhance workflows, so that you can better understand consumers and act on these learnings to drive better experiences and in turn higher quality leads.

AMP and Google Search

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is expanding. AMP is all about using speed to provide faster experiences, and recently Google introduced two new ways they are utilizing it for advertising. The first one is a new AdWords beta that uses AMP to deliver fast-loading landing pages for search ads. The new AdWords will be available to all advertisers by the end of the year.

The second is through the Google Display Network, increasing the speed of how ads are served. Google says they have found these ads to load up to five seconds faster than regular ads. Not only are searchers seeing a seamless experience, but according to Google, this feature ensures display ads are seen by your intended audience.

In-market audiences for Search

This feature was first launched in 2013 focusing on targeting ready-to-buy consumers through intent signals like search queries and browsing activity. Google currently offers this targeting on their Display Network and YouTube campaigns, but now it’s coming to Search. According to Google, advertisers have begun using in-market audiences and are seeing a 10 percent increase in conversion rates. There are more than a dozen audiences available to choose from, including autos and vehicles, financial services, real estate and apparel. As a result, advertisers will be able to bid more effectively for higher-qualified leads.

Google Attribution

Google Attribution is designed to answer “Is my marketing working?” A question that has proven to be extremely challenging for marketers across the board. With this new tool, Google hopes to measure various interactions across devices and channels and help make that data actionable. Google explains that by integrating with AdWords, Analytics and DoubleClick Search, you are able to have all this data in one place with a complete view of performance. This alone ramps up the speed of optimizations like updating bids and budget allocation across channels.

Another key feature is the ability to switch to data-driven attribution, which uses machine learning to automatically determine how much to attribute to each step in the path to purchase. The machine analyzes conversion patterns so you can accurately see what’s working.

Unique Reach comes to AdWords Display and DoubleClick

Earlier this year, Google launched Unique Reach for YouTube in AdWords, and now they are expanding this feature to Display campaigns in AdWords and DoubleClick for all video and display ads. Unique Reach measures the number of unique users and average impressions-per-user. Google de-dupes these across devices, campaigns, inventory and formats so you can accurately know your reach. As a result, you can identify how to best utilize your budget.

New AdWords integration: Google Optimize and Google Surveys 360

Google takes A/B testing to another level with Optimize. Without any coding, marketers can create landing page versions for any combination of AdWords campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Optimize can automatically identify which pages are performing and get more value from campaigns.

The Surveys 360 tool allows for survey creation and specific audience sampling. Through the integration with AdWords, advertisers can target surveys to consumers in remarketing audiences. Brands can ask specific questions about experiences with their ads and landing pages to understand impact and guide optimizations.

Google My Business adds posts

Google My Business now has the ability to display posts on listings. For multi-location brands, this new addition provides local business yet another way to connect with consumers, share information about their products and services and stand out from the competition. Posts can be created using the Google My Business Android and iOS apps or website.

Google explains the following new ways businesses can engage with consumers through posts:

  • Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.
  • Promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.
  • Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.
  • Choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.

Related: 5 steps to optimize your brand’s presence for local searches on Google

As we learn more about these announcements and new features, we will continue to be your resource for the latest and what you need to know. In the meantime, reach out if you have any questions. As a Google Premier Partner, we are ready to help you maximize your advertising efforts.