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COVID-19 has stopped the travel booking industry in its tracks for much of 2020, so digital marketing strategies have never been more important. As a result, Salience have compiled a Digital Insight Report for the Travel Booking Engines market, analysing the digital performance of the top 51 sites.
This online travel bookings report aims to help you see where your site fits against its competition in terms of SEO metrics such as visibility and keyword potential. This is a great benchmarking exercise, giving you the insight you’d have to pay for elsewhere.
Related – 2020 Safari Travel Report
The best way to read this post is with the report to hand, giving you access to the online travel booking industry data alongside our analysis. We don’t just put the data together, we also research the market to find out why the winners are winning and why some sites have lost out more than others.
It’s been mostly visibility losses for Travel Booking Engine sites this year.
The top ten online travel market sites are:
Booking.com is storming ahead of the market after a 24% increase in visibility year on year. Expedia remains in 2nd place despite losing 17% visibility and Lastminute.com stagnated, leaving them in 3rd place. They could easily be overtaken by Skyscanner who is not far behind them but did lose 6% visibility YoY.
Well done to On the Beach who increased their visibility by 15% this year, putting them comfortably in the top ten.
1. booking.com (+24%)
2. agoda.com (+133%)
3. ebookers.com (+44%)
4. opodo.co.uk (+29%)
5. kayak.co.uk (+8%)
1. expedia.co.uk (-17%)
2. travelsupermarket.com (-22%)
3. cheapflights.co.uk (-27%)
4. skyscanner.net (-6%)
5. sunshine.co.uk (-30%)
There are some big, recognisable online travel market names who look to have lost out on visibility this year. We’ll look to see why that might be in the following sections.
As this is a very similar market with a slightly different style of site, there is crossover with the keywords for travel booking engines and traditional travel agents who provide package holidays.
Let’s see where some of the best opportunities lie.
As to be expected, travel booking industry giant Lastminute.com is ranking in position 1 for the term ‘last minute holiday deals’.
However, it is Icelolly.com who has gained the featured snippet for the term. Their last minute holiday deals page is easy to navigate and has deals for different cities around the world.
The page also has enhanced copy which answers relevant queries such as ‘how to find the best last minute holiday deals’ and ‘when to book a last minute holiday’. This signals to Google that the page serves the customer intent and that there is useful information on the page.
Read more about the importance of writing enhanced copy on your category pages.
We often see eCommerce retailers shying away from using the word ‘cheap’ as they sometimes believe it can dampen the image of their products.
Unless you’re an online travel bookings provider who specifies in luxury travel, using the word cheap could be one of the best changes you make to your title tags and H1s on relevant pages.
Well done to Cheapflights, Skyscanner and Travelsupermarket who are ranking in the top three positions for the highest competition keyword ‘cheap flights’.
A report by ABTA showed that 81% of people booked their holiday online in 2018. This means 8 in 10 people are likely to be online either on their laptop, phone or tablet when looking for holidays.
You can be really smart about using social media to fulfil your customer’s wants and needs in a valuable way with remarketing Facebook ads and promoted Instagram posts.
Social scores are high across the market which shows that travel companies are already taking advantage of these platforms.
Most travel booking engines are global, so it’s important to ensure you vary your content to appeal worldwide rather than focusing on a particular country unless you have separate pages for each country.
Skyscanner is topping the social charts with by far the highest number of brand searches and a high owned social score.
They often post videos such as ‘Top things to do in X’ which can be really helpful for people planning on travelling there.
They also have paid partnerships with tourist boards from different countries such as Visit Greece and Western Australia.
Having paid partnerships like this helps to build trust from customers as they can see your company is endorsed by a reputable source. It also opens your company up to a whole new audience.
Their Instagram features beautiful images of locations around the world, mostly sent in by followers using branded hashtags.
This is another great way of broadening your audience.
Doing all of the above as well as varying your content across platforms, having a strong brand aesthetic and tone of voice as well as providing selfless content should see your social scores flying high.
Booking holidays or travel essentials can be fun but it can also be stressful. Don’t make life harder for travellers by giving them a slow loading site to contend with… or they’ll just exit the page.
Google favours sites with fast page speeds as it makes them easier to crawl.
We identified the fastest travel booking engines using Google PageSpeed Insights:
Related – Why Is Pagespeed Important?
The online travel bookings report is free. Creating these reports helps us to understand your market better while giving you the insight you might otherwise find difficult to curate.
If you can’t see your company in the online travel bookings report data, get in touch and we will provide a personalised version of the results including your site. The sites that make the finished version of our report are chosen based on a visibility score.
Got any questions about our data or analysis? Get in touch and we’ll happily speak to you all about it.