WTM: Google travel searches rise despite recession

The number of travel searches carried out on Google has continued to grow despite the recession.
Speaking at travel trade show World Travel Market yesterday, Google head of travel Europe, Middle East and Africa Andrew Pozniak said in the more mature markets,  such as the UK and and Germany,  percentage growth of travel searches for 2008/09 matched the growth in 2007/08.
“Activity rates have increased solidly, but conversion rates have been tougher. This shows the appetite (for travel) has not been dimmed by the recession ,” said Pozniak.
“The challenge is conversion. The battle has been won by the low cost airlines but when it comes to more complex itineraries there is a long way to go in terms of streamlining the experience.”
Tackling the mobile sector will be a “huge focus” for Google in the coming years, added Pozniak.   The company is expecting a swing towards consumers accessing the internet through mobile devices rather than a computer.
He said Google has demonstrated its commitment to mobile phone technology through the acquision of AdMod.  Google bought the leading mobile advertising provider for $750 million on November 9, signalling that the company is back on the aquisition trail. 
Pozniak added that the online search giant had previously concentrated on search advertising but predicted a move towards display advertising. “In the next four or five years display advertising is going to rear its head,” he said.
Google will also be working on providing metrics and measurements for advertisers, so they can guage how well a campaign is working, he added.

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