Most travel categories seeing search growth, says Google

Most travel categories seeing search growth, says Google

Most categories of travel are seeing good volume growth in search queries on Google although packages are an area that is suffering, according to the leading search engine.

Ruairidh Roberts, industry head at Google, gave an update on early year peak demand among UK consumers ahead of the latest Travel Weekly Business Breakfast on Thursday.

The event, sponsored by Scottish travel technology supplier Traveltek, was the first of its kind to be held at Google’s new offices in Kings Cross.

Roberts said despite many in the travel trade reporting having a good January peaks, its data sees the category down 4.8% in search volumes. On average travel categories were up 1.6%.

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The Google data revealed city and short break holidays was the best performing category, up 9.9% year on year in February.

Also performing well was holiday rental and cruise, both up 5%, and camping, up 3.7%. Hotel was up marginally at 0.1% and air was up by 2.9%.

Roberts said growth on February was predominantly driven by searches for overseas holidays.

Domestic trips search volumes were flat, while short-haul was up 6% and long-haul 10%.

Google data also revealed a momentous year for mobile this peaks. “Mobile has finally overtaken desktop during the first part of this year,” Roberts said.

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Roberts added mobile search and engagement levels do vary according to what sector of the travel industry firms are in.

But he said overall mobile is seeing higher engagement than desktop with 12% of mobile ads clicked in 2016 compared to 11% on desktop. Last year those figures were 10% and 7% respectively.

“It’s definitely time to start thinking about your user experience on mobile devices,” Roberts told a senior audience of invited guests at the event.

Looking ahead to the second quarter Google indicates the greatest opportunity for advertising on the search engine will be for all-inclusive, pure generic, last minute and weekend search terms.

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