Google: Filipinos eye domestic travel to rural areas amid the pandemic


Photo by Andrea 

Amid stay-at-home orders, more Filipinos are googling farm and beach destinations within the country, the search engine giant found.

Google Philippines learned that Filipinos are gaining confidence to book out-of-town staycations with 30 percent and 40 percent increase respectively, in Google Search queries from August to September. Beach attractions in Palawan, Boracay, and Batangas and natural attractions like Chocolate Hills in Bohol are among those being searched more often, the report added.

“This is most likely due to the fact that these places have bigger spaces to implement physical distancing and the positive impact of nature to a person’s well-being after being in home quarantine,” Google Philippines said.

While it may look like netizens are wanting to get out of Metro Manila, major cities Manila, Makati, Pasay, and Quezon City remain as top domestic destinations mainly fueled by essential travel relating to business, medical needs, and visiting family. 

Google Philippines believes their internal data offer insights for travel marketers who may be at a loss on how to bounce back from the pandemic. It added that Google’s recent surveys concluded that one in two people in the Asia-Pacific region are interested to travel, showing optimism for the future, and looking for information on where they could fly to while still keeping safety in mind.

To help travel agencies and marketers in the hospitality industry, Google Philippines shares a three-step recovery plan so they can better tailor-fit their offers and keep up with the changing consumer sentiment.

First, Google suggests that marketers should already be visible and engage travelers in their planning stage. Google’s survey highlights that consumers are turning to online travel agents (OTAs) when making travel plans. The search engine proposes driving engagement through innovative online marketing activations like live streams to keep their brand top-of-mind.

“Companies should consider relaying safety and travel information across channels, as well as offering flexible bookings and price guarantees for travelers who are keen to book flights and hotel reservations early,” Google said.

Second, Google suggests that marketers take note of travelers’ top preferences when making booking choices. Google said that cleanliness and hygiene are now one of the top factors consumers look for online. This is followed by consideration on competitive prices and promotions, flexible policies, travel brand reputation, and loyalty programs. 

“By understanding these data, travel companies can better tailor-fit their offers and keep up with the changing consumer sentiment,” the search engine company said.

Finally, Google encourages travel marketers to come up with ways to reignite the demand for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) activities and travel in hotels. “Constant assurance of safety by communicating a commitment to cleanliness as part of brand messaging goes a long way to help revive the tourism industry,” said Google.

As international travels remain risky, Google Philippines forecasts that there will be an uptick in safe domestic travels.