With many vaccinated and bitten by the travel bug, Americans are eager to hit up travel destinations this summer. Using insights from Research Intelligence, we’ll look at four trends that are shaping the travel industry – and where consumers are planning to spend their time and money during the warmer months.
1. National Parks parked at top: NPS.gov wins the most traffic share
Even with the vaccine rollout, travelers prefer wide-open spaces over more densely populated cities.
National parks make up four out of the top five trending search terms, and seven of the top 20. The National Park Service (nps.gov) gets the most traffic share for all park-related destinations, in descending order below:
- Glacier National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Acadia National Park
- Arches National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
Ranking third, Acadia, in Maine, is the only trending national park not in the western U.S. Last year, the term did not make the top 20, due to the pandemic ravaging the east coast. Now, consumers are eager to make east coast travel plans.
2. Leaving for Las Vegas
In April, the Governor of Nevada announced that the entire state will be at 100% capacity by June, prompting many to start planning their trip to the sin city. Unlike last year, when zero Las Vegas-related searches made the top 20 during spring, four of the top 20 spots in 2021 go to Vegas-related hotel brands, particularly Caesars.com
- Flamingo Las Vegas (caesars.com)
- Mandalay Bay (mgmresorts.com)
- Paris Las Vegas (caesars.com)
- Planet Hollywood Las Vegas (caesars.com)
Caesars and MGM Resorts loyalty programs are likely contributing to the high organic search volume for their related brands. Caesar Rewards is “the most rewarding casino loyalty club with over 50 destinations,” according to its website. MGM offers MLife Rewards. Both programs offer discounted bookings, free hotel nights, points for playing, and more. Travelers are eager to use existing rewards or rack up more on their next trip to the city of sin (for more on MGM, check out its success story).
3. Travelers are hot for Hawaii and hotels win
Again, we suspect this is due to existing relationships or extended rewards programs from these brands. Marriott extended its reward programs (e.g. an annual free night for credit card holders) due to the pandemic. Hyatt, also emphasizes “members save more” in its messaging and offers 60,000 bonus points to sign up for its credit card.
Those that stayed home all year, accumulated both points, free nights, and other rewards which they are eager to use toward summer trips.
4. Tripadvisor is a triple threat: Travel, traffic, and ‘things to do’
Tripadvisor shows its strength in the travel space by winning for all popular “things to do in… “ long-tail searches for activities in metro areas. Since hotel and transportation-related searches for these areas aren’t trending, we suspect that the majority of searches come from local residents who want to find adventures nearby. Top queries for cities where travelers are searching for things to do include:
- Things to do in Chicago
- Things to do in Seattle
- Things to do in San Francisco
- Things to do in New Orleans
Tripadvisor has been increasing investment in paid ads to generate traffic for some of these phrases. In April, paid search ads grew 25%, and “things to do New Orleans” ranked third among newly discovered, trending paid search terms. “Things to do in Miami” ranked fifth.
Ready to discover all the top travel destinations to kick off summer?
We used Similarweb’s Research Intelligence platform to put together our Memorial Day travel rankings. After creating a list of the newly discovered, trending terms for the Travel and Tourism industry (March to April 2021) we filtered them by destination.
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