It might have endured a torrid time of late but Thomas Cook was leading the way on Google in February according to the latest Greenlight report on the holiday sector.
The month, a key selling period for the travel sector, saw 1.2 million holiday-related keyword searches with generic terms accounting for the majority of these (55%).
Greenlight data suggests a significant drop off in the level of searches for the most common holiday keywords (‘cheap holidays’, ‘Dubai holidays’ and Turkey holidays’) since a peak in July 2012.
But in February Thomas Cook, the firm which has dominated the headlines in March due to redundancies, shop closures and strategy announcements was the most visible in natural search.
Greenlight found it achieved a 60% share of voice ahead of Travelsupermarket, Tui sister brands First Choice and Thomson, and Lastminute.
Cook ranked at position one for 88 key terms during February when ‘cheap holidays’ was the most popular search term accounting for 13% of all searches and 24% of generic searches.
Third in the list of most queried search terms was ‘Direct holidays’ followed by ‘Ski holidays’ and ‘Lastminute holidays’.
Dubai was the most searched for long-haul destination with 5%, just one percentage point ahead of New York, Cuba and Thailand.
In this sub-sector Travelsupermarket was the most visible brand in natural search ahead of Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook, Kuoni and Thomson in the top five.
Turkey led the way in the short-haul table with Thomas Cook taking top share of voice here too.
Independent travel retailer On The Beach was the most active buying presence on Google, taking a 77% share of visibility.
Greenlight assesses paid search based on 90 keywords, and On The Beach was found to have bid on 67 at an average position of two.
The OTA topped the list ahead of First Choice, Sunmaster, Travel Republic and Sunsave. Olympic Holidays bid on the fewest keywords but still ranked 14 with a 36% share of voice.
On The Beach topped the paid search tables for both generic and short-haul searches and Virgin Holidays headed the field for long-haul.
An analysis of bidding strategies found little divergence across the course of the week starting February 11 although Travel Republic and Sunsave were found to have underestimated the level of search that takes place on Monday while most advertisers overestimated weekend volumes.
The inclusive-only Tui brand First Choice was found to be the most visible brand when paid and natural search was combined beating sister brand Thomson into second place.
Since the previous Greenlight report in November On The Beach has increased its natural search visibility by 8% leaving it in fifth place in the integrated tabe.
Greenlight also looked at social media ranking Thomson top for engagement with the highest Klout score of 83.
To download Greenlight’s free reports go to www.gossip.greenlightdigital.com