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TRAVEL WEEKLY BUSINESS ELECTION COUNTDOWN o Google, including its new head of travel Dr Bernd Fauser


It is vital that businesses invest in digital skills if they are to compete for the most valuable advertising positions in Google search results. The panel was asked to address cost inflation that many small firms complain is pricing them out of the market. Biren Kalaria, head of performance UK, said the Google AdWords auction determined costs, which have risen due to stagnating desktop volumes and firms investing in on-site optimisation. “Brands have spent the past 10 or 15

years optimising conversion on site,” he said. “The better they do, the more they can pay, and that changes the auction dynamics.” Kalaria said more precise retargeting on Google was now available, which allowed brands to increase their bids. Firms should constantly question if they are employing the right talent to take advantage of these opportunities, he added. “Who are the people running your search

campaigns? Do they have the skills around data management to help you take the value out of search?” Phil Miles, director of Google’s DoubleClick ad technology, said firms needed to employ data scientists. “People think technology is the key, but that’s not the case,” he said. “Technology is the enabler. It enables you to have a data strategy. “If you have a single view of your customer across channels and devices, and


Google data is indicating a higher conversion rate from customers who walk into a bricks-and-mortar store having previously engaged with a brand on a mobile device, than on desktop. Biren Kalaria, head of performance UK at the search giant, said Google was now doing a lot of work looking at the interplay of mobile and high street sales.

Phil Miles

“Businesses recognising that data is a competitive advantage are going to win”

the ability to interact with those people, that is a really exciting opportunity.” Miles said it was not far-fetched to

suggest that, in 10 years, all marketing would be digital. “That creates a massive opportunity

because billions and billions of digital signals are generated every day,” he said. “Very few businesses are listening to those signals, collecting the data and engaging both with existing and prospective customers in real time. “Those businesses recognising that data is a competitive advantage are the ones that are going to win.”

He said: “We are giving retailers the ability to track how many people go into store following a click on a desktop or mobile device. “Some of the stats I’ve seen coming through show a higher propensity for mobile users to convert in store – much higher than on a desktop.” However, Kalaria said there

was a continuing trend for customers to start their search on a mobile and then to convert via desktop.

But he said this was likely to change as the mobile experience improves and larger

By STEPHEN D’ALFONSO, head of public affairs, Abta


Most people may feel relief as election day looms – it’s been a long six weeks. The industry has got behind the #ValueTourism

campaign to engage with more than 500 candidates, many of whom will soon be entering or re-entering the Commons with knowledge of the importance of tourism fresh in their minds. The challenge for the industry will be to build on the groundwork the campaign has laid to ensure the effects of #ValueTourism are felt far beyond May 7. The polls remained incredibly close at the time of writing, suggesting we’re heading for a hung parliament. Plans are in place for Abta to hit the ground running to engage with MPs across the political spectrum. The next government’s travel and tourism in-

tray will be full, so it’s vital we continue to beat the drum for our industry. It’s clear that whoever wins the election will face tough decisions on spending. With all parties ruling out rises in many obvious taxes such as VAT and income tax, it’s important that travel and tourism fight its corner to ensure we don’t bear an increasing burden through stealth taxes such as APD and fuel duty. The business of influencing the next parliament is only just beginning. It’s not too late to highlight why you #ValueTourism to local candidates. Visit electionhub

mobile screen sizes, such as the six-inch iPhone 6, start to have an impact. This is already having a negative impact on conversions on tablet devices, he added. “On mobile, there are

two sources of traffic: search and through the various mobile publishers and apps. “The key thing is to deep link back into the

actual place to which you want the consumer to go. Until now,

there have been very limited options on a mobile device.”

7 May 2015 — • 71

“There is a higher

propensity for mobile users to convert in store”

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