Google Flight Explorer – Focussed On Inspiring Travellers; Travopia’s Recommendations
Google has been continuously moving the bar higher and higher in travel industry. Last week, Google launched Flight Explorer, a mildly refreshed version of Google Flights. Flight Explorer can be seen as a wrapper built around existing Google Flights. User will be able to search for flights and see the fare for three months in a bar chart. This is the core feature of Flights Explorer.
For the ‘To’ location that user enters, Google displays all possible airports in the destination along with a picture of the destination. Example, you search for a flight to Caribbean and you get flight search results for Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Jamaica etc.
Every destination displayed has a picture pulled from Google’s Panoramio (acquired earlier, now integrated).
Also, the lowest and highest fare is displayed for every destination.
Upon selecting a particular fare, user will be directed to the regular Google Flight search results page.
Overall, Google is bringing the ‘inspiration’ angle to flight search. With Google’s suite of products in travel industry, it makes all sense to inspire travellers at this stage.
Since we are vouching for Google on their move towards inspiring travellers to book flight tickets, we thought of doing our bit here. We created a mockup screen (built on top of existing Flight Explorer) in which we have recommended future enhancements to Flight Explorer. Refer mockup below (click to view in better clarity).
1. User will be able to search for flights by entering their ‘Purpose of travel’.
2. Right now, only one picture is displayed for a destination in search result. Instead, display a photo album with ‘Facebook Photos’ type of display. Clicking on ‘More Pictures’ will take the user to Google’s Panoramio website with all pictures and details about the place.
3. Google knows how many users are searching for the ‘From-To’ combo. So, display those statistics. In mockup above, notice the “958 Searches today” and “39,400 Searches this month”. This creates a sense of urgency in traveller mind.
4. Here is where we are taking advantage of traveller’s purpose to travel. If Google knows the purpose (say Adventure oriented vacation in Caribbean) of travel, then Google can recommend the number of Adventure related offers on a particular date. This can be achieved using Google Offers product. In mockup above, Google can display that there are “32 Adventure related offers available on Jan 19″, this is an add-on info to the traveller. On seeing info like these (which exactly matches to the purpose of travel), its more likely that user would want to know what those offers are. There by, Google sells its Offers product as well. Win-Win-Win? Upon clicking ‘More’, user will be directed to the respective Google Offers page.
5. Now, take advantage of another product – Google Hotels. While user is searching for flight, display at which date the hotel prices are lowest / cheapest. Again, Win-Win-Win? Upon clicking ‘More’, direct the user to the respective hotels page in Google Hotels. Hoteliers – If your hotel isn’t listed in Google Hotels, you better think twice. It’s highly likely that Google will integrate all its products soon.
6. Then comes the Google touch. Magic. Recommend the date that the user should book their flight ticket. The algorithm to this recommendation can get significantly complex. But, lets keep it simple by saying that at least the air fare, hotel price, deal / offer availability should be considered for this recommendation.
Note: If anyone from Google is reading this and would like to know or discuss more such enhancements, talk to us.
Author: Karthick Prabu