Destination queries drive Google flight search growth

More than 38m flight related searches were carried out by UK users of Google in March this year, the vast majority of which were specific destination queries.

Research by digital agency Greenlight found that only 2m generic searches were carried out in March, equivalent to around 6% of the total.

The agency’s previous flight sector report, analysing December 2009, found that just under two-thirds of 28m searches were carried out using generic terms.

“Flight” alone accounted for 59% or 16m searches in December; in March this dropped to 33,000 searches, less than 1%.

The most used search terms during March were “Barcelona flight” and “Alicante flight” which accounted for 7% or 2.7m each.

“London flight” was the most popular domestic key term accounting for 6% or 2.2m, while “flights to New York” and “Agadir flights” topped the long-haul charts but only registered around 200,000 searches each.

The brand which performed well across the board in March in terms of its visibility on the first page of Google’s natural results was Cheapflights. Of the 3,200 keywords analysed by Greenlight, Cheapflights took the top slot on Google for 1,830 of them. Overall, Cheapflights appeared on the first page of Google for 96% of the searches.

It was followed in the chart by Skyscanner.net with 76% and travelsupermarket.com with 63%. Lastminute.com and Opodo were the highest-placed OTAs at 42% and 18% respectively.

Greenlight also looks at paid search, using a different methodology concentrating on the most popular 120 key terms.  This gives an insight into brands are buying traffic and in which category. EasyJet had the largest share of voice in paid search with 55%, followed by ebookers at 54% and dealchecker with 42%.

EasyJet bid on 63 keywords achieving an average ad position of three, while ebookers bid on 115 of the words but only got an average position of seven.

The full report is available on Greenlight’s website. Enter your details and select ‘Issue 5 – 2010’.

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