Published on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which travel companies are the most visible online?

Thomson has come up trumps in a study about the visibility of websites based on natural and paid search.

Greenlight's latest quarterly report, Holidays February 2011, looked at the search process throughout the month and rated each company's success in relation to natural search and paid search.

Natural search relates to listings in search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms.

Meanewhile, paid search relates to an internet advertising model used on websites, in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market

Thomson achieved a 64% share of natural choice and increased its visibility by 9% on November levels, with the site visible to over 2 million searches.

TravelSupermarket and ThomasCook followed with 57% and 43% share of visibility, respectively.

When it came to paid search, IceLolly was the most visible advertiser, achieving a 51% share.

Thomson followed with 39% and yet again increased its visibility by 21% on the previous quarter, ascending Greenlight’s paid search league table from position 12 to two.

Listed below is Greenlight’s top 10 of the 60 most visible holiday websites. The first percentage relates to natural search and the second to paid search.

1 64% 39%
2 16% 51%
3 40% 26%
4 37% 29%
5 57% 6%
6 43% 18%
7 41% 15%
8 36% 7%
9 35% 2%
10 10% 26%

TravelRepublic remained the most popular brand in Greenlight’s social media league table, attracting a combined following of over 51,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

It continued to encourage people to join its Facebook group by advertising that people who pressed the ‘like’ button could win ‘free flights and hotel stays’.

The Greenlight study also found that:

- 3.1 million holiday-related searches were conducted on Google in February compared to 1.2 million in the previous quarter

- the majority of holiday-related searches (61%) were non-destination specific

- generic holiday searches totalled 1.9 million in February, increasing a whopping 192% on November 2010 levels when 667,000 were performed

- search volumes for terms ‘cheap holidays’ and ‘holidays’ increased a massive 233% on the previous quarter, when each keyword was searched for 135,000 times

- other popular terms used to conduct holiday searches online included ‘direct holidays’, ‘last minute holidays’ and ‘package holidays’

- in terms of region, holidays to European destinations were most popular, accounting for 41% of geographic-related searches

- the search market for holidays in Europe increased by 10%, totalling 514,000 in February compared to 191,000 in November

- North America accounted for 18% (223,782), Africa 13% (161,281), Caribbean & South America 12% (146,990), Far East & Australasia 10% (127,633) and Middle East & South Asia 6% (74,029).

by Bev Fearis


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