Visits to travel websites is up 15 percent year-on-year while travel websites are seeing a 30 percent increase in visits from searching. Demand for ski holidays also spikes.Visits to travel websites reached 5.41 percent for the week ending 7th January 2006 - a 15 percent increase compared with the same period in 2005, according to UK’s Hitwise.
Last week, the sector reached its second highest peak over the last 15 months, just slightly lower than the high that occurred in August 2005 when the sector reached a 5.57 percent share of online visits.
Hitwise data further reveals that visits to travel websites were up 25 percent from the week ending December 31st as consumers turned from hunting for bargains during the post-Christmas sales to hunting for holiday deals as they returned to the daily grind of work.
“Early indications are that travel websites are set to enjoy a strong year in 2006”, said Heather Hopkins, Director of Research for Hitwise UK.
“January is typically a busy time for travel websites as consumers turn their attention from the sales to winter escape, and reports of an unusually cold winter may also be good news for the travel sector. What’s more, we have seen a marked increase of 30% in the volume of visits that search engines are sending to travel websites. Search is a critical source of visits, accounting for 38% of visits to travel websites, and Google’s dominance continues to be felt - accounting for 73% of the visits that Travel websites received from search engines in December.”
Searches for ‘ski holidays’ take off in the last 2 weeks
Searches for ‘ski holidays’ have seen a sudden boost in the last couple of weeks, with traffic increasing by 28% since the week ending December 24th. Websites receiving the most traffic from this term were
CrystalSki.co.uk, Lastminute.com and Ski-Holidays.com, whilst ‘inghams’, a ski tour company, was the 42nd most searched-for Destinations & Accommodation term last week.
Meanwhile, visits to Center Parcs - the website which specialises in short breaks - have equally seen a noticeable increase over this same period, with visits almost doubling since the week of December 24th. www.centerparcs.co.uk is now the 11th most visited Destinations & Accommodation website and the 13th most searched-for Destinations & Accommodation term (searches for ‘center parcs’ have increased almost 3-fold since the week of December 17th).
Long-haul destinations also proving popular
Long-haul destinations are also benefiting from a renewed surge in popularity as consumers seek sunnier climates amidst the January blues. Hitwise reports that online searches for ‘New Zealand’ were up 50%, searches for ‘Australia’ were up 42% and searches for ‘Thailand’ were up 33% in the last week alone.