High street hits back at online rivals with equal searches share

Although wintry weather has finally made it to the UK, it is the time of year when consumers’ thoughts turn to sunnier climes and people look to book their holidays – and even pick up some bargains in the January sales.

In the past year, we have repeatedly heard observers sound the death knell for high street travel agents but these brands have listened, and are ploughing more money and resources into both their digital offering and the offand online campaigns that drive consumers to their sites. And these efforts appear to be paying off.

It is perhaps no surprise that online travel portal Expedia.co.uk leads in terms of share of visits. But the fact that both Thomson Holidays and Thomas Cook equal the travel site in terms of share of searches by brand name is a clear indication that the old high street favourites are fighting back against the dominance of pure online brands.

Branding, it seems, is all-important, as – according to the data from Hitwise – the majority of the ten top travel searches are by brand name, not by generic term. Also of interest is that consumers are searching by tour operator or travel site/ the only flight brand to feature in the data is Dutch airline KLM. Although consumers may want a bargain, it appears they are not looking to the budget flight operators to whisk them away, although their omission from the data could be a reflection of concerns surrounding tax.

Finally, the data does appear to confirm the notion that consumers now prefer to plan various elements of their holidays themselves, with hotel featuring as the third-most popular search by type. Short breaks away, too, appear high up consumers’ agenda, again confirming the changing landscape of travel.

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