Travel brands must grasp the power of video, says Google

By Travolution
By Travolution
February 26, 2014 02:41 PM GMT

You might expect Google, owner of YouTube, to declare that video is not just the preserve of the big boys and is changing the face of how people engage with brands online.

But according to Google Travel’s Mike Giannotti the enduring popularity of television, which along with the web continues to grow, means the type of content people seek is changing.

He told a 101Holidays members’ forum in London last night (Tuesday) that consumers were not just interested in text anymore, especially when planning a holiday.

He highlighted YouTube activity from holiday deals publisher Icelolly which saw a 100% brand search uplift, and which has had 2.5 million views and driven 266,000 website visits.

“This is all about creating demand for you brand. If users are not outright looking for you, how do you take market share?”

Giannotti said very few firms are currently doing a good job representing their brand on YouTube.

In the research phase of holiday booking, Giannotti said the scene is intensely competitive.

Google is currently trialling in beta a ‘trends for marketers’ service which shows what other search terms users input in the same session in which they search for their brand.

“We see people are associating these terms together,” he said. “If someone is searching for your brand, I want to counter a perception that they are your own customer, you still have a job to do to capture them.”

Giannotti said from personal experience the best travel websites answer three key questions when the user finds them:

  • Is it what is says it is, ie. an accurate representation of reality?
  • Is this right for me, ie. is it what I am looking for?
  • Am I getting the best value?

“All content should be aiming to answer those three questions. Rich content and video can do a good job of answering a user’s questions.

“You are starting to see a lot more rich ways of giving people an actual taste of what the holiday experience is.”

One other Google example of this is the indoor ‘Streetmap’ which hoteliers are exploiting to give a much more realistic view of their property.

Device proliferation means increasing numbers of people are cross-screening - 43% in 2012 and one in two UK consumers now say they use their smartphones while watching TV/

Companies were now starting to understand that a visit to a mobile site “really counts for something” even if it doesn’t result in a conversion, said Giannotti.

And he said there is increasingly no distinction between the online and offline customer with users that convert in either channel demonstrating very similar behaviour.

So digitising sources of information, like the traditional offline brochure, ought to be a priority for travel firms.

“Travel agents remain one of the best ways of giving a personalised answer to someone who is looking to go on a trip but that is still not being mastered yet in a digital environment,” Giannotti said.

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