Down the road from our Asia Pacific headquarters, one of the world’s most connected travel hubs—Singapore Changi Airport—is unusually quiet. It’s been this way for months, with global air passenger numbers falling by almost 90 per cent in 2020.
This has been a devastating year for the tourism industry and the $9 trillion global travel economy—but there are signs of promise, with domestic flights increasing in some countries in Asia Pacific, encouraging news on vaccines, and governments exploring ways of opening up safe international travel. We also know there’s pent-up demand in the region, with one in two people eager or very eager to travel now, and search interest in travel back up to about 50 percent of its pre-COVID level.
While Asia Pacific is still in the early stages of a potential re-opening, and governments are being as careful as possible, we want to do everything we can to help the travel and tourism industry get ready for what’s next. Today, we’re launching Travel Insights with Google: a website the industry in our region — and ultimately, the rest of the world — can use to understand travel demand and make better-informed decisions. It’s built around three new tools.
One of the key things travel businesses, governments and tourism boards are looking for is information about the destinations travellers are searching for in different places around the world—and domestically.
The Destination Insights tool will give them a clear picture of the top sources of demand for a destination, and the destinations within their countries that travellers are most interested in visiting—helping them map out a possible resumption of travel on specific routes and make choices about where to communicate with potential future travelers.
There are still millions of Google searches for hotels every day, which allows us to generate extensive insights about demand for hotel bookings. We’re now making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to understand where demand for their property may be coming from by providing them with these insights directly. Hotel Insights is designed to help hotels of all sizes—but especially small and independent hotels—understand how to target their marketing as they plan their recovery.
Travel Analytics Center
The Travel Analytics Center—available to Google’s commercial partners in the travel sector—will enable organizations to combine their own Google account data with broader Google demand data and insights, giving them a clearer picture of how to manage their operations and find opportunities to reach potential visitors.
The message from tourism organizations is that they want as much information as possible to move quickly when restrictions ease and people begin booking travel. His Excellency Wishnutama Kusubandio, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, says that “when it comes to tourism recovery, I believe that digital technologies can be part of the solution,” while Singapore’s Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee, says he hopes the Google tools will provide valuable insights into people’s travel aspirations… as we work together to welcome the world to our shores again.”
We’re encouraged by the positive initial response to Travel Insights with Google, and we’re looking forward to helping meet the growing need for data and insights across the region.
In addition to the three new tools, the site will be a one-stop location for other industry resources, including skills training through Grow with Google, Digital Garage and Google for Small Business, and resources from the UNWTO. And we’ll keep expanding the site with new resources in months ahead.
Since the pandemic first hit, we’ve been focused on helping businesses and sharing information so people feel safe when they travel. Now, as we head into 2021, we hope to work even more closely with the industry as borders begin to open up, domestic travel increases, and international travel becomes possible again. No matter how quickly or slowly that recovery takes place, we’re committed to supporting global travel and tourism and the many people and businesses that depend on it.