Hospitality and travel marketers will be excited to hear that Google has taken strides to improve the mobile search experience within the travel industry. These improvements are exclusive to mobile, which comes at a critical time considering 42% of all travel-related website traffic was mobile in Q1 2016. That figure is up 30% year over year.

As travel customers become more mobile, they will demand a more seamless user experience and path to purchase from the brands they choose to engage with online. Especially when they’re researching a vacation on their smartphone.

Our Mobile Researching Habits

The majority of us have all been there. We reach for our smartphone to find the best deal when we’re thinking about taking a trip. We conduct a little research during our lunch break, on our commute, or even while we’re lounging at home. Our smartphones are always within reach and, while their accessibility makes them extremely convenient, the small screens can be a hinderance to our research. If the user experience isn’t mobile optimized then it’s most likely a poor one, and we’re likely to abandon the search or website for something better.

Google’s new search updates move the hospitality and travel industry in the right direction; they’ve given mobile consumers a quick and easy user experience.

What Improvements Were Made?

Hotels, resorts, and cruise lines can now be searched for more easily directly within the mobile SERP. Google added these advanced features for consumers:

  1. Smart Filters: Narrow down your hotel results based on multiple booking preferences, such as price and rating, all with a single finger tap.
  2. Complex Search: Drill down to specific needs. For instance, if you own a dog and you’re on a budget, then you can search for pet-friendly hotels in your desired city under a very specific price point.
  3. Deal Labels: Easily spot deals and low prices. Gain tips to help you acquire a lower price, such as making small date adjustments, and receive price alerts for when flights you’re tracking substantially drop.

Google Travel Search

Seamless Smartphone Travel Research

We’ve already surpassed the mobile tipping point. More and more consumers are shopping on their smartphones, which makes Google’s updates extremely critical.

Being able to quickly search for a hotel or a flight based on your booking preferences with one single tap makes the mobile experience that much more seamless. And the real-time search and pricing alerts helps alleviate a major pain point facing leisure travelers: 69% worry about finding the best price because they don’t want to make the wrong purchase decision.

These Google updates are driving even more mobile traffic to your website. But what happens once a smartphone user gets there? They convert differently than on a desktop. Not only can they convert online, but they can also convert offline by making a phone call. As a digital marketer, it’s important you understand the role call conversions play as more and more users search for travel on their mobile devices.

How Do These Enhancements Impact the Voice Channel?

It’s simple. Consumers want to call at every single stage of the customer journey, especially when it comes to making a travel purchase. Nearly 70% want to call when booking a hotel while 55% want to call when making a flight reservation.

Google Travel Data

Here’s Why Travelers Call

For starters, a large percentage of leisure travelers are concerned about the decisions they have to make when booking travel. Consumers have questions they need answered. And there’s no easier way to get those answers than by making a phone call from your smartphone.

Not to mention the fact that smartphones have smaller screens, which adds limitations to the user experience. Especially when someone is having trouble finding specific information on a mobile website. It’s just easier to call. As Google’s travel search updates drive more mobile traffic to your website, you can expect to receive even more customer calls.

Can You Track Call Conversions?

You can track your call conversions with call attribution technology. It helps hotel, resorts, and cruise marketers gain a true understanding of the impact of customer calls on their bottom line. If you can attribute phone call conversions to the appropriate digital channels and landing pages driving these calls then you can make better optimization decisions.

Let’s say 50% of your online traffic is driven by Google search, yet only 20% make an immediate booking. Without proper attribution, you might think the other 30% abandoned the shopping process. In reality, 15% actually called and completed their reservation over the phone. Without proper attribution you might invest too much of your budget on digital retargeting programs because you have a large blind spot in your conversion data. Without call attribution you risk misrepresenting your CPL and CPA.

Interested in learning mobile advertising strategies to help you drive more calls and bookings? Watch our on-demand webinar: Travel Marketing in a Click-To Call World today.