Hitwise figures show First Choice traffic down 9%

First Choice has experienced a 9.6% decrease in traffic to its site for the week ending February 15 compared to the same period last year according to figures from Hitwise.

Traffic to the site was 937,168 for the week and share for the operator also saw a 12.3% decline for the same period, according to figures obtained by Travolution.

Industry experts speculated that the figures could be down to tactical pay-per-click spend driven by later booking patterns and recent changes to the structure of the First Choice website.

However TUI e-commerce director Alun Williams denied that the figures reflected a tactical shift.

“First Choice and Thomson are both equally important brands and the decline in web share and traffic for First Choice should in no way be viewed as a change in strategy,” said Williams.

“In fact, the traffic we’re receiving on firstchoice.co.uk is performing strongly, so whilst the volume of traffic may have shifted, we’re absolutely satisfied with our online performance.”

First Choice recently announced a move into social media with the appointment of Nixon McInnes to handle the brief.

In December the brand also appointed Commission Junction to handle its affiliate programme for the next 12 months as part of a strategy from parent TUI UK to consolidate online marketing suppliers.

First Choice may also have lost some traffic to newer entrants such as Travel Republic and On the Beach, which saw year-on-year gains of 22.2% and 28.7% respectively.

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