Google just announced their latest app, Google Trips, "the personalised guide in your pocket". The app not only keeps reservations and prior hotel bookings in one place, it also recommends things to do, restaurants to try, and curates itineraries based on popular sights and attractions. And the best part? All this information can be downloaded and accessible offline.
So this is all great news for travellers wanting to streamline their planning, but what does this mean for tour and activity businesses, and the industry as a whole?
Here are 4 key takeaways for tourism professionals.
1. You need to get online
The app directs users to the websites of popular sights and attractions. If you run a tour or activity for that attraction, you need to get online and get a mobile-optimised website so that travellers who are interested can make a booking there and then.
2. Travel planning is more "last-minute" than ever
Travellers today prefer to spend more time exploring than planning. This is because much of the planning can be done online, on-the-go. Since 85% of leisure travellers are likely to plan their activities after they've arrived at your destination, the app's recommendation feature is merely a reflection of this trend.
3. Make sure Google knows you exist
Make sure that your business is listed on Google and that all your contact information is correct. Double or triple check that your business is also correctly located on Google Maps so that your customers can find you when they search for "things to do near me" on Google.
Head over now to make sure you've claimed your listing on Google.
4. Expect booking capabilities to follow
While Google hasn't mentioned anything about tours and activities, and whether they'll enable bookings via the app, you should be prepared for this possibility. Why? Because Google has done a lot of research into travel behaviour and has only published a fraction of it for the world to see.
Don't believe me? Check out their articles here.
While the world and all its travellers are gushing over this new app, make sure that you've covered your bases by claiming your listing on Google. As to whether Google Trips might be the new TripIt or TripAdvisor or whatever travel app you personally prefer, do bear in mind that Google has a sizeable graveyard of travel apps.
"Although this could be huge, don't get too excited just yet", Olan O'Sullivan, VP of Marketing at TrekkSoft.
Fun fact: Google used a 280-year old algorithm to help you plan your perfect day while on vacation. How cool is that? You can read about it here.
We've discovered a way to get your business listed on Google Trips, it's a simple trick that shouldn't take long. Simply change your Google business listing to one of these categories that travellers can visit: Theme Park, Tourist Attraction or Recreation.
Have you had a go on Google Trips? What did you think about the app? Let us know in the comments below!
Interested in building a beautiful mobile-optimised site for your business? Give us a call.
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.