Studies have shown that travelers visit upwards of 38 sites when planning a trip, and Destinations on Google will help cut down the research tremendously. Will you be so impulsive as to research and book a trip—on your phone—in one sitting? We think it’s a stretch. But it’s not impossible, and this tool certainly makes it more plausible.
Even if consumer patterns keep shifting towards mobile, we did find a few other limitations. When searching for Caribbean Destinations, for example, we only got four hits—and they weren’t sortable by interest. It’s the only region that didn’t turn up spot-on results, but it’s a big missed opportunity—not only is that part of the world a popular choice for American travelers, but its destinations can be difficult to differentiate from one another. It’s one of several examples that prove the limitations of data-based computing: Google is all about data, but data will never make it a true travel expert.
Much to that point, the itineraries and activity suggestions are also based on search volume—that means you’re getting the most obvious choices in each city (the Acropolis in Athens, the Empire State Building in New York City, and so on). For an overview, it’s great, but for savvy travelers, it’s expected. And forget about booking excursions via this platform—Google’s intent is to keep you within their ecosystem as much as possible, and the company doesn’t have a platform for selling activities... yet. So for that, you’ll have to head elsewhere.
Our last complaint: the budget filter, one of the most useful features of the tool, is overwhelmingly rigid. It’s impossible to change the length of trip from the standard one-week option, which makes it impossible to use it to plan impulsive weekend getaways—something you’d more readily tackle on a smartphone screen.
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