OTAs lose ground in car hire search rankings

Leading OTAs are losing out to aggregators, brokers and brand dotcoms according to Greenlight’s analysis of paid and natural search patterns in the car hire sector.

The digital agency analysed the top 3,800 key terms for car hire in January 2010 and found out that they generated more than 1.5m searches during the month.

The most visible brand within natural search was carrentals.co.uk, which appeared on the first page of Google 49% of the time. It took the number one, page one position for 78 of the key terms. Easycar came second with 38%  visibility followed by travelsupermarket.com in third place with 33%.

Easycar is the only one of the top three to increase their visibility since the last car sector report in September 2009.

The highest-placed OTA is lastminute.com, which comes 25th with a visibility rating of 5%. Its sister company, holidayautos.co.uk, fares better, making the top ten with a a rating of 19%.

The leading brand for car hire in paid search was carhire3000.com, part of Travel Jigsaw, which had a share of voice ranking of 79%.

Carhire3000.com bid on 69 of the top 90 terms and appeared on average third within the sponsored links. This contrasts with its showing in natural search, where it only has a 3% showing.

Travelsupermarket.com came second on the paid search list with a 77% share of voice. It bid on 70 of the top terms but only achieved an average ad position of sixth.

The OTA which appears to be most active in buying traffic for its car hire channel is ebookers.com with a 12% share of voice and 16th position on the list. Expedia is the next highest-placed OTA with 8%, coming in 18th.

Greenlight combined the rankings for natural and paid to give an overall sector leader. In January this year the top three was Travelsupermarket, followed by avis.co.uk and carhire3000.com.

 >Download a full copy of the report at Greenlightsearch.com

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