Brits searching further afield for winter sun holiday destinations

Brits searching further afield for winter sun holiday destinations

Desperate to escape the cold UK weather, Britons are increasingly searching for winter sun holiday destinations according to Experian Hitwise, the leading online competitive intelligence service.

Destinations in India, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Egypt and Turkey were all among the fastest moving destinations last quarter (August - October 2010), having shown the greatest increase in market share of flight searches. These findings are published in Experian Hitwise’s latest UK quarterly travel report available today, providing an interesting insight into the online travel activities of UK consumers.

During August to October, Goa jumped 22 places, making it the fastest climbing destination in the Experian Hitwise Top 50 destinations list. Searches for flights to Goa accounted for 0.68% of all flight searches for the 12 weeks ending 30 October 2010, making Goa the 22nd most popular destination overall for the quarter.

Other winter sun destinations: Marrakech, Fuerteventura, Sharm el Sheikh and Gran Canaria were also among the fastest moving destinations for the quarter.

Marrakech fastest moving destination year-on-year

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Morocco’s “Red City” Marrakech was the fastest moving destination of the year. Since October 2009, Marrakech has jumped 29 places, showing the greatest year-on-year increase in market share of flight-related searches online of any destination.

Another winter sun destination that was popular this quarter included Egypt’s top coastal resort Sharm el Sheikh. Perennial favourites the Canary Islands had another strong quarter with Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria both featuring in the fast movers list. Winter sun holidaymakers also favoured fellow Canary Islands Tenerife and Lanzarote which were both in the top 10 most popular destinations.

Although not a winter sun destination, the Turkish capital Istanbul was another fast mover this quarter. Other Turkish resorts such as Dalaman and Bodrum both dropped in the rankings this quarter but Istanbul bucked the general Turkish trend, perhaps due to its status this year as European Capital of Culture.

New York top destination for second consecutive quarter

New York was ranked number one in the top 50 destinations list for the second consecutive quarter. Since last quarter New York also increased its market share of searches from 3.89% of the total flights searches to 4.64%, widening the gap between it and other top destinations such as Tenerife and Malaga. New York’s popularity is partly driven by the bargain hunting Christmas shoppers, but its popularity as a business destination is the main reason behind the seasonal growth.

Robin Goad, Experian Hitwise’s Director of Research commented: “At this time of year we’d usually expect to see spikes in searches for winter sun destinations and ski resorts, but this quarter’s fastest movers have been completely dominated by the winter sun destinations. UK travellers are clearly looking forward to sun rather than snow this winter. Having said that, both Prague and Berlin also featured in the top 10 fastest movers this quarter, both of which are famous for their Christmas markets, so not everyone is looking to escape to the warmer climes this year.”

“In the run up to Christmas, it is essential that marketers in the travel sector track fast-moving online trends and adapt their online content and sales promotions to generate sales. This is particularly important for multi-channel travel firms as our analysis reveals that online-only travel brands were the only ones that improved their market share of Internet visits. Brands that intelligently integrate digital channels will be the most effective, using tools like email marketing and social media to build and engage with their online audiences.”