How Google searches have changed for the travel industry

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The travel industry has been a hot topic of conversation wherever you go. Newsfeeds are full of every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s opinion on the latest travelling restrictions in the pandemic. This influx in opinion can lead to everyone rushing to Google to understand if Tom, Dick, and Harry were right.

In the age of social media, social listening can give you critical insights into people’s views. However, life can be portrayed through rose-tinted glasses, so it is best to use search insights in conjunction with other research methods since website searches are not filtered. Furthermore, search listening applies to all industries and businesses, no matter how big or small. You may have escaped being the topic of conversation on Twitter, but you certainly won’t have avoided being searched for on Google. For more information on what Search Listening is, read our blog ‘What is Search Listening’.

So what have we found?

We used conversation intelligence to sieve through the murmurs of conversations surrounding travel in the UK over the last year.

Travel key themes wordcloud

Clauses that are only too similar and we would have heard rehearsed from the urgent news broadcasts we waited for on the edges of our sofas. For example, “Travel ban”, “public health”, “green list”. What is more interesting is the number of times they recur in conversations. The size of the clause determines the percentage of the theme arising. You can see how this is so important for your keyword research and to make sure you include the themes which cover the conversations in your content as this is likely to reach more people and be more engaging. To put this into context, if you were a travel company, you need to know how your following refers to travel restrictions. From this theme cloud, you will see more people talking about ‘travel restrictions’ instead of ‘travel ban’ and ‘green list’, so using ‘travel restrictions’ in your blogs or posts will likely resonate with more people. In context, “Travel restrictions” is mentioned 925 times per day, whereas “green list” gets mentioned 192 times.

Searches surrounding 'buying a holiday'

So now we know what people are talking about; let’s see what they are searching for.

We looked at searches surrounding “buying a holiday” over the last 12 months. Here we can see the rising searches that we would usually associate with “UK stays”,; now coined as “staycations”. Searches such as “campsite” and “Haven holidays” (the well-known UK based camping holiday parks). “North Wales” was also high up in the searches, and when we took a deeper look, we could see related searches for waterfalls and other activities. It wasn’t just UK stays; we see Gibraltar come through because it was one of the few countries first on the green list along with Fuerteventura, which was also on the green list quite early on.

Rising searches for holiday terms

Rising searches is a term used by Google to categorise words that have had significant growth in the time period. There will be a percentage attached to the term, which is the amount of growth compared to the previous time period. For example, if it says “breakout” in replacement of the percentage, the search term had over 5000% growth.

Rising Searches for Holiday
Rising Searches for Holiday

The searches linked to buying a holiday pre-pandemic were quite different; “recreational vehicles” had a high search volume which may be due to people flying to counties and then requiring a hire car. “Holiday Inn Express” ranked high as well, a known hotel across the world, whereas Haven was UK based only, which shows the difference in the mindset of searching from vacation (pre-pandemic) to staycation (pandemic). Orlando and Dubai, also rank highly, as they had a high search volume pre-pandemic before restrictions were imposed.

What can I do with this information?

Knowing the related topics searched for in the industry you work in, or your business is critical. You can include these in your keywords or content like keyword research from conversation intelligence.

We also used Answerthepublic to look at the various questions that arose around the term ‘holiday’. Finally, we have condensed the exhaustive list into the highest searched query for each modifier (e.g. what, where, etc.).

This is important as if you can answer the questions you know people are searching for, you can become a SERP which means excellent traffic to your website. Still, you are also more likely to reach and be engaging as you won’t need to guess what people want anymore. Using these insights, you can make evidence-based decisions to curate the best content for your audience.

Top keywords used on Google for holidays

Work in the Travel Industry or inspired by this blog?

If this has inspired you to adopt Search Insights as another tool in the toolbox, we have a blog that may help: 3 Best Search Listening Uses. Otherwise, click the Free Trend Analysis link below to build one for your brand.

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