Experienced Travelers Don’t Use Search Engines

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MediaPost released some data about online travel searches and how only .47% of all online travel traffic is coming from the major travel search engines.

I find that quite interesting but it makes perfect sense. Travelers who know what they’re looking for have booked tons of flights and will return to the sites they received the best perceived value and online experience.

Search engines are used most heavily during the research phase of an online purchase. Since travelers have already been down the research path they’re more likely to go directly to their favorite travel site instead of wasting time looking for a better travel site or better air fare.

It’s important to note that while the majority of airfare purchases are made directly on these travel sites without being referred from travel related search engines, that’s not the case for accommodations while traveling. There’s some great data there.

Expedia, Travelocity and the other online travel sites do great with airfare but finding hotels (especially specific types of hotels and resorts) can be a painful process. You’ll notice lots of quite specific searches listed here. I mean, down to the name of the type of hotel or resort users are looking for. It’s an interesting statement about the branding side of search marketing. Here’s the breakdown on accommodation related search words.

Most Popular Search Terms for Travel Destinations and Accommodation Category 4 weeks ending Nov. 13, 2004:

1. Holiday Inn
2. Hotels
3. Hotels.com
4. Las Vegas
5. Hampton Inn
6. Disneyland
7. Motel 6
8. Best Western
9. Comfort Inn
10. Days Inn

Most Popular Search Terms containing the word “resort” 4 weeks ending Nov. 13, 2004:

1. Brighton Ski Resort
2. Boreal Ski Resort
3. Disneyland Resort
4. Atlantis Resort
Wynn Resort
5. Kalahari Resort
6. Heavenly Ski Resort
7. Sandals Resort
8. Walt Disney World Resort
9. Mountain High Ski Resort

Data complements of HitWise

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.

Experienced Travelers Don’t Use Search Engines
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