- Google released a new mobile travel app called Google Trips, which is designed to provide “a personalized tour guide in your pocket,” as Trips' Product Manager Stefan Frank described in a blog post. Frank's post referenced a GoodThink study that found 74% of travelers report the most stressful aspect of travel is figuring out the details.
- As opposed to splitting features like hotel reservations, restaurant and drink suggestions and day planning into individual apps, Trips curates everything in one space. Reservations are automatically pulled from Gmail and organized in a separate in-app tab; sightseeing information is additionally crowd-sourced based on user data, and integrates maps to account for nearby activities and places to see.
- Google Trips' roll out coincides with news that Airbnb recently acquired Barcelona-based travel activities marketplace trip4real, a move that similarly elevates Airbnb beyond just a booking service.
Google Trips' launch and the Airbnb developments happening in tandem illustrates just how quickly mobile apps are shifting the way consumers plan travel by completely integrating user experience and purchases into one space. The centralization of these services into just a handful of apps poses interesting question for marketers as it further builds up the "walled garden" scenario that has come to dominate digital marketing discussion in recent years.
For its part, Google appears to be doing all it can to keep marketers happy within its own walled garden: Trips' possible synergy with Google Maps follows on the heels of Maps' acquisition of Urban Engines and its "urban OS," a software that uses location analytics to optimize traffic flow for marketers.
Just last week, Google also upgraded its Universal App Campaigns to allow advertisers to better track and account for users' in-app actions. The revamped system was tested by the hotel booking service Trivago, which is now, interestingly enough, one of Trips' potential competitors.
Digital continues to disrupt the travel space, with major technology companies such as Google, online travel agents such as Expedia and hotel chains all vying for a bigger role throughout the travel experience, from discovery through booking and trip planning.