The latest analysis from Hitwise reveals that travel companies are potentially missing out on significant opportunities by not reacting fast enough to popular offline events.
Hitwise analysis of two key football events (the Champions League and FA Cup finals) provides an insight into the timing of consumers’ online searches - and ultimately, reveals how travel companies are failing to optimise to, or bid on, relevant terms in a timely enough manner.
For example, searches on “flights to Istanbul” ahead of the Champions League final were seen to peak in the week ending 7th May, two and a half weeks before the actual final. This was the week in which Liverpool beat Chelsea in the semi-final, when Liverpool fans would have then gone online to search on flights. This also explains why “flights to Istanbul from Manchester” had a 100% success rate (i.e 100% of searches resulted in a visit to a Travel website).
Further evidence of the importance of timing in search marketing can be seen with the FA Cup final in Cardiff. Searches on “hotels in cardiff” peaked in the week of 21st May, the same week as the FA Cup final - indicating that Arsenal and Manchester United fans left it until the week of the final itself to find accommodation. Interestingly, websites who benefited from this last minute surge in activity were not dominated by the leading hotel chains but instead local websites such as www.cardiff.world-stay.com and www.walesdirectory.com who were quick off the mark. This indicates that the leading hotel chains were slow to optimize to or bid on this particular search term.
“Travel companies need to be in-tune with offline events affecting the popularity of destinations” said Heather Hopkins, senior research analyst at Hitwise. “The recent football events are one example of offline events driving popularity of destinations. Searches for flights to Rome surged in the days leading to the Pope’s death, searches for theme parks peak around bank holidays, and flights and hotels in Edinburgh continue to be popular as the G8 Summit draws nearer.”
By monitoring more people, more websites, more often, Hitwise provides marketers with timely and actionable marketing insights on how their online presence compares to competitive websites. Companies use this information to maximize the return on their online investment, in efforts such as search marketing, affiliate programs, online advertising, visitor segmentation, content development and lead generation.