Summit: Experiment with your site more, says Google UK boss

Google’s UK  managing director Matt Brittin has told delegates at the Travolution Summit that they should “take every opportunity to experiment” with their web presence, design and pricing.

He used an example from GooglePlex: “ We tried out 40 different shades of blue for the natural search result listings to see if any particular tone generated more or less clicks. We discovered that some shades did have a different click-through rate.”

For travel companies he said that experimentation could be done in real-time, using a range of free and paid-for Google tools. “You can get real-time insights into what your customers are doing, as well as your competitors.”

He also advised travel companies to become more adept at multi-channel retailing by putting as much emphasis on their web site as their shops. He quoted an example of a CEO of a big retail store who could identify problems with his shop in an instant, “though we found out that at the same time 750 customers a minute were abandoning an online purchase because a web site flaw.”

Britten fended off questions about Google becoming further up the value chain for travel, getting closer to the actual purchase. “We’re never going to be a tour operator,” he said.

When asked directly about whether Google planned to get into the travel metasearch space, he said: “We will continue to experiment on improving the search results for customers. If we can get one or two additional pieces of information from the consumer and give a better result, we will do that.”

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