The latest quarterly analysis of UK consumer online search data in relation to hotels, suggests those in long-haul destinations, in particular New York, Orlando and Las Vegas, are proving popular with searchers. The research, ‘Hotel Sector Report June 2010’, by Greenlight, a leading independent search and social marketing and consulting technology firm, found 2.1 million of the 10 million UK consumer internet searches for hotels in June were for lodgings located in long-haul destinations, an 11% increase on March levels.
Greenlight used industry data and proprietary technology to identify and classify 356 of the most popular global destinations that consumers in the UK booked hotels in. It profiled 1,300 search terms they used to find hotels to each location and how popular each search term was. Greenlight also used the data to compile its quarterly league tables charting the 60 best performing websites and brands, in both natural and paid search, based on their online visibility and share of voice in relation to the most popular search terms identified. The 15 most proactive brands and aggregators in social media were also ranked.
Some key findings reveal:
· Overall, the volume of searches performed for hotel-related keywords in June decreased by 11% since May, when search volume totalled 11.2 million. Greenlight attributes the slight decrease to the seasonality of the travel industry, saying it was likely more consumers searched for breaks during the Whitsun and May bank holidays than in June
· The term ‘Hotels’ was searched for 2.2 million times accounting for 22% of the total search volume
· London was the most searched for location, with the term ‘London hotels’ accounting for 10% of all hotel-related searches
· There was an upsurge in the use of long-haul destination terms. Interestingly, ‘Las Vegas hotels’, ‘New York hotel’ and ‘Orlando hotels’ were all searched for 135,000 times in June, cumulatively accounting for 18% of all long-haul hotel-related searches. According to Greenlight, this increase in queries is likely to be influenced by the continued recovery of the pound against the dollar
· In natural search, TripAdvisor attained a dominant share of voice in the long-haul hotel segment. TripAdvisor (.co.uk) achieved 72% visibility through ranking at position one on page one of Google results for 114 keywords and featuring at position two for the term ‘Orlando hotels’. Its counterpart, TripAdvisor (.com) achieved 66% visibility through ranking at position one for 17 keywords analysed
· By comparison, Expedia achieved lesser share of voice - 39%, because it appeared at position one for only 13 of the keywords analysed including the term ‘New York hotel’ – one of the most searched for terms, but it attained lower visibility for other high volume driving terms
· In paid search, ebookers, booking.com and hotels.com were the three most visible advertisers for long-haul hotel keywords achieving 63%, 61% and 48% share of visibility, respectively. Notably, Hotels.com increased its visibility by 22% replacing Expedia which dropped to fourth position with a 38% share
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 June. Greenlight’s SMPI reveals:
· TripAdvisor (.com), due to its global audience, was the most followed brand, with a combined following of over 144,000 on Facebook and Twitter. It was also the most interactive brand, as it cumulatively produced 194 ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ in June. Content included latest travel news, special features and consumer travel polls
· Brands such as Expedia, Travelodge and eBookers utilised their social media accounts very little. In June, Expedia had a following of over 5,000 on Twitter, yet it did not produce a single ‘tweet’ and therefore missed out on vital interaction with social media consumers
· By contrast, PremierInn used its Twitter account as a customer service contact by directly answering consumer queries and complaints