Web attracts first of the big spenders

Tim Frankom
Tim Frankom, general manager, Yahoo! Travel Europe

The relationship between Yahoo! Travel and Overture, whose search listings appear across the web, gives us the ability to monitor trends in search behaviour and ensure our service consistently addresses the needs of consumers. Searches on the Overture network indicate two key trends, which are reflected in consumer searches on Yahoo! Travel: greater confidence in buying travel online and a move towards independent bookings.


Growing consumer confidence


The high number of long-haul searches made on Yahoo! Travel, together with the popularity of the search terms ‘luxury holiday’ and ‘cruise’ across the Overture network, clearly indicate consumers now have the confidence to purchase high-value travel products online.






Top Travel Search Terms used on the Overture Network


1 Cheap flight 2 Flight 3 Summer holiday 4 Holiday car hire 5 Holiday 6 Travel 7 Cruise 8 Luxury holiday 9 Airport parking 10 Cheap hotel


The information above represents searches carried out through September on Overture’s search network, which covers highly trafficked websites such as Yahoo!, MSN, Lycos and Wanadoo and reaches more than 80% of the UK online population. *Nielsen/NetRatings 2005.


The following information represents searches carried out on Yahoo! Travel in September 2005.


Most popular Hotel Destinations


1 London 2 Edinburgh 3 Paris 4 Blackpool 5 Dublin 6 New York 7 Amsterdam 8 York 9 Rome 10 Manchester
 
Most popular flight destinations for UK departures


1 Orlando 2 Palma 3 Barcelona 4 Perth 5 Malta 6 Las Palmas 7 Las Vegas 8 Melbourne 9 Vancouver 10 New York
 
Most popular Airport Car Hire Points


1 Heathrow 2 Malaga 3 Faro 4 Alicante 5 Gatwick 6 Orlando 7 Palma (Spain) 8 Dublin 9 Manchester 10 Nice



Although ‘cheap flight’ remains the most popular search on the Overture network, the top flight search destinations on Yahoo! Travel indicate users are now expanding their horizons beyond short-haul European destinations to consider far-flung destinations such as the US, Australia, Thailand and India.


So, while price remains a key concern, travel shoppers are making higher value purchases. This growing confidence can be partially attributed to a maturing market, but the number of big-name travel brands now operating online has also proved a key factor. When making higher-value purchases consumers want assurance they are getting the best deal for all their requirements.


Independent Travel Booking


While consumers continue to search for complete ‘holiday’ packages, they are also taking advantage of the tools the Internet offers to cut through the wealth of information by searching for the best deals on the individual elements of their holiday: ‘cheap flight’, ‘holiday car hire’ and ‘cheap hotel’ all appear in the top searches across the Overture network.


Yahoo logoAnd this trend is not restricted to short-haul charter flight destinations. The proximity of Disney World to Orlando makes this a popular package destination for families, but Orlando appears in the top search destinations across flights, car hire and hotels, suggesting even families are choosing to create their own package to suit their specific requirements rather than booking a standard package holiday.


Travel search has also made it easier for consumers to find and book smaller boutique hotels quickly and easily, encouraging more people to indulge in luxury or specialist breaks in their own country. This trend is evident in the popularity of UK hotel and car-hire destinations in the top searches. However, the Yahoo! brand also attracts an international audience, which contributes to the popularity of these destinations. Both US and European travellers visit the UK Yahoo! Travel site to check out local hotel and car-hire operators when planning a visit to the UK.

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