Some two years after the outbreak of the pandemic consumer travel continues to gain momentum with flights, road trips and overall travel queries on the rise and hotel companies need to position themselves to take full advantage, particularly when it comes to leveraging the latest technology.
This was the message delivered by Nelson Boyce, managing director, travel, Google, who spoke at the recent Hunter Conference in Atlanta during a presentation entitled “Google Travel Insights.”
Boyce pointed to some reasons for optimism for the lodging industry as a whole.
“Pent-up demand is a very real thing and we are seeing strong indicators that people are emerging and starting to plan those major life moments that were put on hold. We know that over half of Americans surveyed are likely to participate in a life moment over the next two years and amongst this group travel plays an incredible role,” he said, adding life moments could be anything from getting married, moving or changing jobs.
Meanwhile, Boyce maintained “the upsides of digital transformation are undeniable” as he touted Google’s Route To Ready initiative designed to help companies embark on a customizable step-by-step journey toward the next phases of technology.
“At Google we don’t think transformation should be a grand overhaul nor should it look like the same thing at every single company. It should be a process that breaks down silos, brings together talent and expertise from across your organization. It relies on shorter, more agile planning to meet a world that changes day by day and, in many cases, hour by hour,” he explained.
Boyce further added, “Route To Ready helps brands breakdown the process of digital transformation into smaller more manageable pieces.”
Boyce acknowledged that the company has partnered with at least a couple of major brand companies, such as Hyatt Hotels and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, to work toward enhancing the customer experience.
“Hyatt is starting to do this by connecting their first-party data to create consistent consumer experiences. They sat down with us earlier last year and spoke about how their digital transformation is fueled by their data. Hyatt unified their leadership across organizations like marketing, engineering and product and then integrated their data platforms. They then used the data to deliver consistent brand experiences reaching 13 times more customers than they had the year prior,” said Boyce.
He went on to explain Wyndham’s perspective as well.
“They expressed how their digital transformation reflects who they are as a company, people first. Everything they do is rooted in a strong culture of awareness and acceptance, which is championed from the top down,” he said.
Boyce insisted there are also plenty of opportunities for companies when it comes to the messaging around diversity as well.
“We’ve outlined various ways brands can make impactful changes to their media and create messaging that will resonates with travelers of color. But also note that change starts from within as we rebuild and transform our businesses we need to focus on perspective and building out diverse teams and organizations,” he noted.
Finally, Boyce stressed the importance of sustainability for consumers going forward.
“Travelers are becoming more aware of their impact on the planet, making more conscious decisions, including when they travel and adopting new behaviors. As such, travel will be more sustainable. Environmental considerations are important to potential travelers. In fact, over 50% of travelers surveyed in markets around the globe said that environmental and sustainable considerations like carbon emissions and offsets are core to how they think about considering potential travel,” he concluded.