Vacation Season Search

With the arrival of spring, more people will be thinking "vacation."Â Â  And more likely than not, that means consumers will research vacations online when looking for that perfect location, and that research is likely to include search.  To help reveal the connection between search and sites, Compete assessed the Top 10 travel-related sites that consumers were referred after searching on that very word: "vacation" on any of the major search engines.

Using Compete PRO Search Analytics®, we identified the leading sites visited among consumers that searched on any term set containing "vacation" in Q1 2010.  Our analysis show consumers were referred to several different types of travel-related sites, yet all specialize in one-stop-shop vacation packages. The chart below shows the Top 10 referral travel sites from "vacation" searches, with the larger OTAs leading the set..

The results are the first step in understanding how to convert vacation interest into something more fruitful.  Others include:

  • More Search Terms: This analysis was done using a broad search on a single keyword.  It would be valuable to look at additional keywords that are driving substantial traffic to Travel sites and how results vary by term. The analysis could be refined by including, for example, searches that contained both "vacation" and "family," or "vacation" and "discount," or "vacation" and "beach."
  • Lagged Impacts of Search: This analysis was limited to referrals (immediate search to site results).  The impact of search results could be expanded to include travel sites visited any time after the search was entered, which would help reveal the lagged impact of search results.
  • Non-Travel Sites: Given the breadth of types of online channels available, it would be useful to reveal the extent to which vacation-related searches end up on social media sites, including those that provide reviews.
  • Reaching Beyond Search: We know that search is an integral traffic driver to these sites, but not the only source.  Identifying the behaviors of consumers interacting with other site-driving referral sources such as email marketing, display media, homepage takeovers, network media, and behaviorally targeted campaigns would provide more context to those using those avenues, in particular understanding how to convert vacation interest in to actual vacationers.  If consumers don’t initially convert on their offerings, where do they go next?

As a soon-to-be vacationer who is planning to do some research for his family’s summer vacation, it was great to see how others are researching, particularly seeing what the top site referrals are from such an all-encompassing keyword like "vacation."

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