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Since its launch at the Destinations International Annual Convention in 2017, the Google DMO Partnership Program has received significant industry attention. An initiative that seeks to engage destinations around the world, the program offers opportunities for destinations to learn more about ways to enhance their consumer-facing content across Google’s range of products. One such opportunity is to capture and share Street View 360 imagery of destinations.
The decision-making process for travelers choosing a destination can take months and involve thousands of different digital touchpoints. While maps used to be seen as just a wayfinding tool, they are increasingly being used by travelers for gaining a better understanding of a destination before making the decision to visit. The ability for potential travelers to virtually immerse themselves in a destination before they book can be incredibly powerful, and there’s no better tool to help that process than Google’s Street View platform.
Over the last couple of years, Google has been quickly evolving both search and its travel related platforms. These enhancements have created challenges and opportunities for the travel industry. Google notes this evolution is in response to changing travel behavior and technology shifts. In addition, new technologies and the power of artificial intelligence has spurred the growth of voice search, intelligent assistants, smart speakers are more. This is a trend that is beginning to change how we conduct and interact with travel related searches.
In this blog, we highlight some of these changes and what this means for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and tourism businesses of all types.
Google has just expanded Posts on Google for destinations (cities, regions, states and countries) to post events, news and updates for free on their destinations. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can apply for an official account to post as the lead agency on behalf of their city or destination. On May 23rd, we held an introductory webinar with Aditya Mahesh, Product Manager for Posts on Google and Patrick Rodgers, Content Director at Miles. They introduced DMOs to the new platform and shared examples of how dozens of cities from the around the world are now using the platform.
Last year, based on hearing from so many DMOs that organic search traffic to their websites was struggling year over year, Miles conducted a review of 26 destinations’ website traffic data. Though a limited sample size, the results indicated that there has been a downward trend in growth of organic website traffic since 2014.
Since then, we continue to hear a mix of success stories and concerns surrounding organic search traffic. Since we love a good mystery, we expanded last year’s review to include 36 destinations and added full data from 2016 and the first six months of 2017.
While I wish that the results provided an “ah-ha” moment to share with you – a clear trend or a solid answer – the data came out like this...