Greenlight used industry data to classify 356 of the most popular global destinations that UK consumers travel to, profiling which search terms were used to find car hire companies in each location, how popular each keyword was and which supplier of car hire services were most visible.
Most popular search terms and destinations
‘Car hire’ was the most popular search term, accounting for 14% of all searches in January. It was used 110,000 times, a notable increase compared with October, when the term totalled just 49,500 searches. ‘Car rental’ was the next most popular, accounting for 5% (40,500 searches)
The UK was the most searched for destination, with the terms ‘car hire UK’ and ‘car rental UK’ accounting for 5% of the total search volume.
Searches for car hire in Europe remained the most popular, representing almost half (47%) of all geographically-based keyword searches. Four out of the top five most popular terms were for car hire in Spain, which emulates the considerable size of the UK consumer market for such services.
Most visible websites
Greenlight determined the best positioned and hence most visible sites based on the volumes for each keyword and their respective ranking for those terms on page one of Google in natural, paid and integrated search.
For non-specific destination car hire-related searches, Europcar was the most visible website in natural search. It attained 71% share of visibility, a 3% increase on the previous quarter. Europcar ranked at position one for the two most searched for generic search terms, ‘car hire’ and ‘car rental’, which cumulatively accounted for 43% of the total search volume (a growth of 10% since October).
Car hire-related searches specifically for destinations (including airports) in the UK and Ireland accounted for more than 138,000 searches in January 2011. CarRentals was once again the most visible website, achieving 58% share of voice in natural search. It also maintained its lead for worldwide destinations, achieving 63% share of visibility - an increase of 10% on the previous quarter.
CarHire3000 was the most visible advertiser in January, achieving 81% share of voice, which was a 7% decrease since October, whilst Avis moved up from fourth position to second in Greenlight’s paid search league table. In January, Avis achieved 52% visibility.
“In the car hire sector very few of the top brands are capitilising on the potential advantages of social networking, such as conversing with consumers and promoting special offers”, notes Simon Hollingsworth, lead researcher. “Of the top car hire firms we analysed in social media, just three cumulatively have more than a thousand followers on Facebook and Twitter, CarRentals, TravelSupermarket and Avis, indicating that many other brands should focus on developing their social media pages in order to promote engagement and channel consumers to their websites.”