London leads UK searches for pure online agencies

A marked regional disparity between UK travel searches for online only firms and multi-channel agencies has been revealed by the latest quarterly Experian Hitwise data.

Amid a general trend towards greater growth for searches for agents with a multi-channel footprint, the quarterly review drilled down into how search trends at a regional level.

The data suggested that consumers are most likely to search for pure online players in London and least likely in the north east, although this region accounted for a low proportion of traffic.

Browsers in the north east were 27% more likely to visit a multi-channel agency’s website than a pure online player’s and London web users were 32% more likely to visit an online only travel firm.

Outside of London, the south east and north west accounted for the largest percentage of traffic for both multi-channel and online only searches (13.18% and 12.92% respectively for the north west and 11.25% and 12.50% for the south east).

Among the top 10 travel agents (Hitwise includes firms operating a media model like Teletext Holidays, Cheapflights and Travelzoo in this category) only Travel Republic saw growth in share of click among the pure player onliners.

Otherwise growth was recorded by Thomson, the top travel agent with 8.04% share of clicks, sister brand First Choice and Teletext Holidays, the fastest growing travel firm with a 1.12% up tick since the April report.

Behind Teletext, Hotwire quadrupled its presence coming in fifth in the top ten fastest movers which saw TravelMatch enter the top 10 in last spot having seen traffic grow nine-fold in the last year.

Leading names including, Cheapfligths, Thomas Cook, Expedia, Travelsupermarket and Travelzoo while continuing to dominate the top ten agency sites in terms of traffic volume all saw their share eroded during the quarter to the end of July.

Hitwise said growth in the online only sector was being driven by more niche brands rather than the big players.

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