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Google Exec On How Technology Is Changing Travel

Technology, and the way people use it, is changing the way we research a destination or book an option when we travel. We're excited to have Google's Michelle Vincent speaking at Bisnow's Lodging and Innovation Series on April 28 at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles.


We caught up with Michelle (here in the lobby of her office in NYC) to talk about technology and innovation.

Michelle knows tech trends. As head of industry and travel for Google, her job is to stay on top of what travel suppliers need and industry trends that demand new solutions. Here are her top 5 trends:

1) Research

Research is taking place earlier, and across more devices as people figure out flights, book hotel rooms or explore vacation rental options, Michelle tells us. With the sharing economy adding another element to how people travel (and adding more choices), this step becomes even more important. Different devices suit different types of research. Before digging in on a laptop, consumers are looking for "snackable insights" on their mobile phones, she tells us.

Below is Michelle on a work trip to India.


2) Mobile

Consumer behavior is shifting when it comes to mobile, particularly in how it plays a role in the way people research their travel plans, Michelle tells us. Those snackable pieces of content are the bits of information people seek out when they're on the go, in between errands or waiting for someone. (Michelle says she's heard cellphones likened to the modern cigarette—what you pull out when you don't have anything to do for a few minutes). People seek out nuggets of information they can squeeze into these "micro-moments" that they can use to further their travel decisions.

3) Video

Video has grown a tremendous amount in how it is used to connect with consumers and help them make better decisions about travel plans, she says. People are seeking out videos on specific websites or going straight to different resources, such as Google's YouTube, to look at the "arsenal of videos a brand might have," Michelle tells us.

Below is Michelle while visiting Versailles.


4) Virtual Reality

The next step from video experiences will be virtual reality, Michelle predicts. It's already playing a role in how some suppliers are innovating, such as hotels experimenting with bringing a virtual reality experience to travelers to show them what a vacation might be like there, she says.

5) Innovation

Other innovation is yet to come, but Michelle tells us it's vital. Her role, and that of her team, is to have conversations with corporate clients about what their companies stand for, the value they create for customers and how to convey that message in a way that sticks. "Some tactics from the past are not going to be what wins in the future," she says. "The need for innovation is clear."

Michelle has an inside perspective on working for an innovative company from her job at Google, which she says is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. In her nine years on the job, Michelle says every day of this year looks completely different from the year before. It's exciting being with a "company that is constantly innovating and evolving itself to become better," she tells us.

To hear more from Michelle and our other expert speakers, join us at Bisnow's Lodging and Innovation Series event on April 28 at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles. Sign up here!