Travel firms that were guided by data insights and agile were the ones that set themselves up for a successful exit from the COVID pandemic, according to search giant Google.

Speaking at last week’s Phocuswright conference in Phoenix, Arizona, last week the search giant’s managing director of travel Nelson Boyce said partners are looking for more automation.

He said this, alongside being data driven, helped its clients find “pockets of demand in disruptive times” as well as higher value customers.

“Throughout the pandemic the mentality hasn’t changed in terms of the companies being successful in these times were insights led and data driven and agile.

“They maintained that through the pandemic and that put them in the best position to really set themselves up for recovery.”

Hotel giants Wyndham and Marriott made us of both first and third party data during the pandemic to engage with customers and accelerate their recovery, said Boyce.

Celebrity Cruises was also cited for how it came back stronger from the pandemic by changing their advertising creative to focus on a younger audience.

Research shows that while 81% of people are concerned about how their data is used, three in four also want more personalisation in the messages they are receiving.

“I do not think those two things are necessarily in conflict with one another,” said Boyce. “It’s incumbent on travel marketers to be transparent in terms of how that data is being used.

“Personalisation will always be important which emphasises the importance of curation and the utilisation of first party data,” said Boyce, who added customers should be given more control.

Google will continue to evolve both its social and visual search capabilities as internet users evolve and younger generations raised on other platforms become more commercially important.

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