As a whole, the travel industry is extremely seasonal, with peaks in the summer months and over winter vacation. Our recent Travel Trends Report found that most industries within travel see their peak traffic in July, and that most traffic in the industry comes from Direct.
Search traffic, however, is a vital and growing traffic source for travel and booking websites, and the share of search traffic has been growing year-over-year. In March 2015, search brought 21.3% of the industry’s desktop traffic, a figure which increased to 25.4% by March 2016.
In the charts below we took a look at 5 OTA travel websites and 5 US state tourism sites to discover who has been killing it on search ahead of the key summer months.
Among booking sites, momondo.com, an OTA site for cars, hotels, and flights, increased their search traffic by 88% when comparing January to June 2016. In June, organic search was responsible for 25% of momondo’s US desktop traffic and if we look at their top keywords we can discover the data behind their recent marketing strategy.
On June 1st, momondo posted a video on YouTube in which they brought in individuals from around the globe to discover more about their DNA and background. Many of the participants were shocked, some even moved to tears, but the result was momondo branding the phrase “let’s open our world.”
As a result, combined searches for “let’s open our world”, “letsopenourworld”, and “lets open our world” represent 20% of the site’s organic search traffic in June! Furthermore, the search terms “momondo dna” and “momondo dna journey” are responsible for another 5.5% of the site’s US June search traffic.
Of momondo’s June US search traffic, 82% came from organic search, with paid search representing just a small part of the site’s digital strategy. This is not the case with the hotel booking site reservation-desk.com who have used a strategy of paid search to boost traffic ahead of the summer months.
In June, 77% of ReservationDesk’s search traffic came from paid search and with SimilarWeb data we can discover which hotel searches the site is competing over. “Golden Nugget” represents the top US search term in June, followed by “Chateau Elan” and “Stonebridge Village Coa”. Looking back at May, only Chateau Elan ranked among the top 3, showing how the site is shifting its strategy in June to focus on places such as Las Vegas and Missouri.
Looking past large booking states, smaller State tourism sites have also been ramping up their search strategies ahead of the summer travel months. The visitconnecticut.com state tourism site increased its search visits from 14,300 in January 2016 to 36,300 visits in June 2016. In June, the site’s top keywords were “Connecticut Festivals” and “Connecticut Beaches”, keywords that brought the site over 3,000 US desktop visits alone.
Another example of a successful State tourism search strategy is travelwyoming.com, a site that only launched in early 2016. Impressively, by June 2016, the site already received 30,000 US desktop search visits, 65% of which were from paid search. During June, the top keyword search that brought traffic to the site was “Yellowstone”, a search term that was responsible for 18% of overall search traffic.