Two travel companies have made it into the top ten of IMRG-Hitwise’s top 50 Hot Shops this quarter. with Expedia.co.uk the only travel company to see a fall in its rating.
Bar Expedia, the other eight travel companies listed in the top 50 have risen up the chart, with Thomson Holidays and easyJet moving into the top 10 for the first time – the only newcomers to the top ten. Amazon came in at number one, followed by Argos at number two.
But Hitwise director of research Robin Goad warned that behind the seasonal increases for travel companies was a decline in traffic to most sites. “Most of the travel companies moved up the rankings this quarter, but this seasonal increase masks an annual decline in traffic to most of the sites. The notable exception was The Trainline, which is benefiting from the boom in domestic travel and staycations,” he said.
Thomson was the highest travel retailer listed. It made it in at number eight this month, up from 13 in May, while easyJet went from 11 in the chart to 10. At the same time Expedia.co.uk went down one position from eight in May to nine in August.
TUI UK e-commerce director Alun Williams said: “We’re delighted that both First Choice and Thomson have leapt up the table – especially with Thomson now the top travel retailer.”
He said the user experience on the site had been improved by new features such as Thomson’s late deal finder.
The biggest risers in the chart this quarter included First Choice, up 37 positions from 50 to 37, and Thomas Cook, which jumped 14 positions from 30 in May 2009 to 16 in August.
Other travel companies which rose up the chart, which lists the top UK e-tailers and tracks shops’ popularity based on the number of visits to their websites, were lastminute.com, which went from 22 to 15; Travel Republic, which re-entered the top 50 at number 31; The Trainline.com, which rose from 41 to 34; British Airways, up from 43 to 35.
Travel Republic managing director Paul Furner said it was the highest position the online travel agency had reached in the chart. It is listed above The Trainline, British Airways and First Choice. He added: “Making position 31 is a major milestone in our development. This has been a turbulent year for the travel industry, but all is not doom and gloom as this latest insight shows.”
Other brands that fell significantly in the chart were Sainsbury’s, which fell 26 places to 46, and Dell EMEA, which slipped 24 places to 38, and Asda, which moved down 13 places to 36.