Figures out today from the ONS show the number of Brits travelling abroad last year dropped 15%. However, neither strikes nor volcanic ash appear to have dented their appetite for holidays, shows the latest research from Greenlight. According to the independent specialist search and social marketing consulting and technology firm, UK consumers made 10.8 million online searches for holidays in May. This was an increase of 25% since April, when 8.6 million searches were made. Greenlight’s report, ‘Holiday Sector Report May 2010’, also reveals the most popular short and long haul destinations, the 60 most visible holiday websites and advertisers online and a ranking of the 15 most proactive holiday brands and aggregators in social media.
Greenlight used industry data to identify and classify 356 of the most popular global destinations UK-based consumers booked holidays to. It profiled which search terms they used to find holidays for each location, and how popular each search term was. Some key findings reveal:
· The three most popular search terms used when consumers went online to look for holidays in May were ‘Holidays’ (21%), ‘Cheap Holidays’ (8%) and ‘Turkey holidays’ (6%)
· Geography-wise, Europe accounted for 35% of holiday-related searches. Africa followed with 9% then North America with 6%
· Turkey was the top short-haul destination, with the terms ‘Turkey holidays’ and ‘Holidays Turkey’ accounting for nearly a quarter (23%) of the 3.8 million searches for short haul-holidays. ‘Cyprus holidays’ followed with 8% then ‘Ibiza holidays’ with 4%.
· On the long-haul front, Egypt dominated; the terms ‘Sharm el Sheikh holidays’, ‘Holidays Egypt’ and ‘Egypt holidays’ accounting for a 21% share of the 2.3 million consumer searches made online in May for holidays to long-haul destinations
· Thomson was the most visible holiday website overall in natural search*. It achieved a 70% share of voice. This was attained through ranking at position 1 on Google for 199 keywords analysed by Greenlight, having ranked at the same position for 183 in Greenlight’s February holiday report
· IceLolly was the most visible advertiser in paid search**, having previously ranked at position nine in Greenlight’s February league table. It achieved 46% visibility
· Of the top 10 advertisers in paid search, three were direct providers: Thomson, FirstChoice and ThomasCook
To gauge social media interaction with brands, Greenlight monitored the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the top 15 brands in its integrated league table (Table 1, above), in order to assess how many ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ each has. Greenlight ranked brands based on the cumulative value of their ‘fans’ and ‘followers’, a score which it terms the Social Media Popularity Index (SMPI). It further analysed the proactivity of brands by considering the number of ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ brands produced for consumers to interact with in May. Greenlight’s SMPI reveals:
· LastMinute was the most followed brand in social media, with a combined following of over 77,000 on Facebook and Twitter
· LowCostHolidays was the most interactive brand. It cumulatively produced 129 ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ in April
· By contrast, HolidayHypermarket had a combined following of over 1,000 on Facebook and Twitter, yet it did not produce a single ‘post’ or ‘tweet’ in May, and therefore it missed out on vital interaction with social media consumers
· Interestingly, in conjunction with its official Twitter account, Thomson had a ‘ThomsonDeals’ account (with 582 followers, which displayed live updates on discounted last minute holidays