The travel market has taken a bit of a knocking this summer. A combination of challenging economic pressures and the Olympics to keep Brits firmly on their sofas has meant that visits to the travel industry are down by 5.2%. In total the UK made 37 million fewer visits to travel websites in July 2012 than in July 2011.
Historically for past events like the World Cup we have seen a big uplift to travel sites once the sporting competition is over. In fact for South Africa 2010 there was a 17% increase in visits to travel websites as soon as England were knocked out of the tournament. So with the Olympics coming to an end this weekend we might reasonably expect people to start looking for some last minute holidays before summer fades and kids go back to school in September.
With this in mind I decided to revive our top 50 travel destinations list, which looks at the places the UK are searching for flights to over the last three months.
What is fascinating about this list is the rise in searches for Spanish destinations. New York remains the most popular destination overall that Brits want to fly to but the next five spots in our top 50 are all taken by Spanish resorts and cities: Malaga, Tenerife, Alicante, Barcelona and Majorca. Between May and July Spanish destinations accounted for over 21% of all UK flight searches with Malaga being the most sought after destination with 3.30% market share of searches.
It has been a strong quarter for the Balearics with Majorca rising 11 places since last year to number 6 in the top 50 and Ibiza rising four places to 13th spot. Menorca was also up nine places to number 24 in the list. The family-friendly resorts of the Balearics and guaranteed good weather have made them even more popular than they were last year. Paris and Amsterdam have also kept their places in the top 10 which suggests people might be looking for shorter holidays close to home or weekend breaks.
Looking a little further afield Marrakech and Madeira are among the fastest moving destinations year-on-year up 42 and 18 places respectively since July 2011. For the more exotic travellers, Cambodia, Tanzania and French Polynesia were among the fastest moving countries the UK searched for.
We are going to be running a webinar on the seasonality of travel on 29 August 2012 which you can sign up for free here – there is going to be a lot of useful insight in order to maximise your digital strategy within the travel industry. If you want to find out more about Experian Hitwise you can visit our website or follow us on Twitter.