Google Won’t Be Unseated As Travel’s Top Search Engine

Google search on a computer screen
  Google won’t be unseated as travel’s top search engine

Excerpt from PhocusWire

From AI to Google: 5 Truths for Travel Marketers in 2023

Generative AI is a friend – and a foe

The travel industry is awash in predictions on how tools like ChatGPT will or won’t change the way we do business. It’s probably not binary, and the truth is likely somewhere in between, depending on what your business is and how you use the tool.

Generative AI can and should be leveraged for tasks like generating website metadata, templated product descriptions and even email copy. But start using it for brand storytelling or drafting your company’s mission statement, and it will likely betray you. 

Obsessing over the next shiny object won’t serve marketers well either. 

Remember when many said augmented and virtual reality would upend the customer journey? Do you recall the last amazing AR/VR product you saw in travel?  

Yeah, me neither.

Don’t get me wrong, the OpenAI infrastructure is a once-in-a-generation product. Under-resourced teams, especially startups, should be thinking about creative ways to leverage generative AI to work more effectively and efficiently. 

But if there’s not an immediate and natural fit with your business and product, that’s OK too. Forced adoption of new technologies can backfire and drain more resources. During the pandemic, many brands rushed to figure out their Clubhouse strategy, only to see the platform fall out of favor a few months later. 

In this hyper-polarized world where consumers crave authenticity from brands, marketers would be wise to practice restraint with tools like generative AI, using it as a complement, not a replacement. 

Google won’t be unseated as travel’s top search engine  

There’s been consistent chatter around how platforms like TikTok and yes, ChatGPT, will soon overtake Google as the primary “search engine” powering the user’s buying journey. For sure, younger consumers are increasingly turning to TikTok as a discovery engine, preferring its bite-size clips to pages upon pages of search results. 

This is more about the verticalization of search versus one platform replacing another. 

TikTok for video. Instagram for images. Amazon for retail. 

The thing is, Google indexes (or tries to) all of this content. Last year, Google started including TikTok content in some search results because it realized certain cohorts prefer rich content results. 

Google execs also know their core products are being threatened and are taking steps to shore up functionality to ensure this doesn’t happen. Even Larry Page and Sergey Brin have been brought back to the Googleplex to help build their next gen AI-driven search engine. 

YouTube, a Google property, became a video advertising powerhouse of its own, fueled by pandemic growth.

That said, certain companies, like Tripscout, have made inroads into transforming social media platforms like Instagram into a bottom funnel channel for brands.

Still, travel is a considered purchase. We’ve all seen the stats — customers visit dozens of sites before making a purchase. For marketers, having a solid handle on their customer demographics and psychographics is a prerequisite to figuring out where to attribute budget across channels. 

It’s more likely that 2023 is the year marketers start to really understand their attribution models versus seeing Google vanish as a major driver of both traffic and revenue.

Click here to read complete article at PhocusWire.

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