Opportunities Abound to Grow Visits from Location Oriented Searches
Analysis by Hitwise reveals that visits to hotel websites in the UK are consolidating among the three most visited hotel websites and that opportunities abound to attract those looking for hotels online through location or place names.
Travelodge UK, InterContinental Hotels Group and Premier Travel Inn are the most visited hotel sites
Travelodge UK and InterContinental Hotels Group have been the most visited hotel websites for the past 18 months. Premier Travel Inn held the #3 ranking in August and internet visits to these three hotel sites seems to be consolidating with these players.
“Compared with August 2004, Travelodge, InterContinental and Premier Travel Inn are attracting a larger share of visits to hotel websites” said Heather Hopkins, Director of Research for Hitwise UK. “Share of visits to these websites increased by 4% year on year in August 2005 and these three websites now account for more than half of visits to the top 20 hotel websites.”
While these three hotel websites gained market share, many others lost to the new entrant, easyJethotels.
? easyJethotels enjoyed a strong entry into the market, supported by the brand of its parent company, easyGroup.
? easyJethotels quickly jumped to the #6 rank among the 19 hotels in the Hotels custom category. The site since moved to the #4 position in August.
? Interestingly, this website for the bargain hotel appeals to some of the wealthiest segments of the UK population. The Mosaic Groups Symbols of Success, Happy Families and Suburban Comfort are among the most likely to visit the easyJethotels website in the four weeks ending 17 September 2005.
? easyJethotels receives 92% of its traffic from easyJet, underscoring the importance of the parent company to the site’s immediate success.
? Visitors spend an average 9 minutes and 27 seconds on the site, nearly 3 minutes longer than the average session time for the top 10 hotel websites.
Hotels are extremely reliant on searches for their own brand for visits so that the most searched-for hotels also have the most visited websites
The most visited hotel website also enjoys the strongest online brand presence. In the four weeks ending 3rd September 2005, the most searched-for hotel brand was Travelodge UK. The search terms ‘travelodge’ and ‘travel lodge’ held the top two spots for the most searched-for hotel brand names. This indicates that Travelodge UK has the strongest online brand presence.
The next most searched for hotel brands were also the next ranked hotel websites. Searches for ‘holiday inn’, a brand that is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, and ‘travel inn’ were the third and fourth most searched for hotel brands, reinforcing the link between brand strength and share of website visits.
Searches for locations offer a ripe opportunity to hotel marketers to break out of the dependence on brand searches
Though online brand strength and share of visits are linked, there is an opportunity for hotel chains to break out of this dependence. Searches for location names make up the largest number of search terms sending visits to Destinations and Accommodation websites, accounting for 22% of search terms.
The most searched for locations (defined as a place or attraction) were ‘london eye’, ‘warwick castle’ and ‘chatsworth house’. Other popular terms include a city name, such as ‘dublin hotels’ or ‘hotels in york’.
“There are plenty of opportunities for search marketers to attract potential hotel guests to a hotel website by bidding on search terms for specific locations” said Heather Hopkins, Director of Research for Hitwise UK. “Marketers promoting hotel brands can take advantage of the large number of location oriented internet searches to draw visits to a site.”
Top 10 Hotel Websites, Based on Market Share of UK Visits to the Hotels Custom Category August 2005
1 Travelodge UK
2 InterContinental Hotels Group
3 Premier Travel Inn
6 Best Western Great Britain
7 Marriott UK & Ireland
8 De Vere Hotels
9 Ramada Jarvis
10 Best Western International