Travel companies could be in for a shock if Google's moves with Field Trip become a play for holiday spending money.
According to Thomas Cook digital expert John Straw, the search giant has been 'very stealthily' adding relevant and local content to its Field Trip application with the progression of everything available on Android becoming available on Google Glass.
Straw reckons Google is discovering a 'brand spanking new market opportunity.'
"The average money taken by a UK holidaymaker to spend is £400 per person. No one is accessing particularly deeply that markets so imagine if, as well as water parks, historical and geographical information, Google started to overlay advertising. The rest of the industry will get shocked by it and then all get involved and hopefully make some money."
During a Travel Technology Initiative conference earlier this month, Straw also talked about Thomas Cook's transformation and needing to find a better way to 'configure' retail within the business.
One way, he says, is to have options dropped into a wishlist and then emailed to customers tapping into the increasing traffic (a 'massive chunk' apparently) coming from iPads, and enabling holiday planning to be shared at home.
"All of a sudden the way travel is sold changed so we decided we needed to be in the home so invented the DreamCapture product where what they specify in store is emailed to the customer. I can't tell you what the response is but it has massively changed our attitude to our retail operation."
Straw adds that the company has drawn a lot of inspiration from Apple recently and particularly the Genius Bar within Apple Stores which is bridging the online offline gap.
"The integration between the web and in-store is brilliant and we're going to be using that moving forward."
He says he rarely leaves an Apple Store without buying something and that travel agencies need to change to become places of inspiration.
Thomas Cook is putting some technology in shops to recognise whether customers are male or female and will start to play holiday video clips accordingly.
During the session, Straw also touched on the importance of online content in building trust and how the company had drawn inspiration from South Korean search engine Naver.
A recent piece from Tnooz node Alex Bainbridge with his views on Google's grip of the travel industry is worth reading with some interesting conclusions and comments from the wider industry.