Visitor centres, you’ve got competition.
On September 19, Google launched its latest travel app, Google Trips. The app promises to “plan and organize your trip in just minutes,” ultimately de-stressing the travel planning process. Users can access customized itineraries on popular cities, suggestions on things to see and do, places to eat, transportation options, and more. Using algorithms and old-fashioned algebra, Google Trips stands apart from other travel apps because it maps out customized journeys and makes recommendations on the best use of your limited time for exploring any urban destination.
If you’re thinking that Google Trips functions somewhat like a virtual visitor centre, you’re right. In the demo video above, Google even suggests that visits to traditional visitor centres can be “overwhelming” experiences. If Google Trips is successful, this app could become an important touch point for visitors as they plan their trip, and perhaps even as they experience it. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) may also have limited control over which attractions are highlighted and will need to continue to find ways to spread visitation across their destination.
Google continues to disrupt destination marketing with a growing series of tools including Google Destinations that may replace services DMOs have traditionally provided on their own websites. This will be a trend to watch as DMOs plan their digital strategies.