Worldwide destinations accounted for 56% of over 763,000 car hire-related searches conducted on Google by UK consumers in October 2010, according to the latest quarterly research by leading independent search marketing specialist and technology firm, Greenlight. It predicts a spike in searches for car hire services in specific European city destinations in the weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, as consumers will look to make arrangements for “early bird” getaways.
“Having insight into the most popular, and best converting, search terms consumers use to find and book car hire is hugely beneficial to players in this sector,” says Simon Hollingsworth, lead researcher at Greenlight. “That way, they can prepare their online marketing strategies in advance and work towards having a presence in the search rankings.”
Greenlight’s latest report ‘Car Hire October 2010’, reveals European destination-based terms were the most searched for in October, consisting of over a third (37%) of all UK consumer searches.
The term ‘car hire’ totalled 49,500 searches, which accounted for 6% of all car hire-related searches.
The UK was the most searched for individual location, with the terms ‘car hire UK’ and ‘car rental UK’ cumulatively accounting for 4% of all searches.
Spain proved the most popular destination. The term ‘car hire Spain’ was searched for 14,800 times, accounting for 2% of all searches for car hire. In fact, of the top nine worldwide car hire keywords, five, including ‘Malaga car hire’ and ‘car hire Alicante’, related to Spain. This indicates the considerable online search market for car hire in Spain and the importance of ranking high on Google for such terms.
However overall, there was a notable decrease in car hire-related searches when compared to August 2010 when car hire-related search volume totaled 1.7 million. This is down to Google’s new AdWords keyword tool which it rolled out in September 2010. It now calculates searches purely on Google.co.uk searches alone. Previously, Google released UK volumes for searches on its .co.uk search engine and its search partner engines. As Google presented data across a number of search engines, search volumes for many keywords were greater than they appeared in September and October.
Most Visible Sites
In natural search, CarRentals achieved 53% visibility through ranking at position one for 540 keywords analysed, relegating TravelSupermarket to second place (41%) in Greenlight’s league table charting the 60 most visible websites. Europcar ranked third with 23% share of visibility.
The picture was different for integrated search. Although it lost 7% visibility in natural search, TravelSupermarket led the roost ranking in first place in part assisted by its having increased its share of voice in paid search by 12% since Greenlight’s previous report. It was followed by CarHire3000 and HolidayAutos.
Overall, with the exception of CarRentals, the top car hire brands achieved greater visibility in the paid search space than in natural search, which according to Greenlight suggests that many brands utilised targeted paid search strategies in order to ‘buy’ their way to visibility in the market.
In social media ArgusCarHire was by far the most interactive brand, producing nearly 1,600 ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’. Content included promotions and discounts as well as links to other travel-related websites for consumers to browse and book trips through.