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July 10, 2020

Latest car hire Google travel trends: June 2020 review

Data last collected: 1 July 2020

As we all know, the travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. And while it market remains challenging and consumer confidence unpredictable, there is, nevertheless, growing optimism about traveling again as lockdown restrictions begin to ease in the UK, Europe and more globally.

Here at Melt we’ve been closely monitoring Google Trends data throughout the pandemic to assess the levels of search interest across key travel segments, including flights, hotels, holidays, cruises and car hire. We’re keen to anticipate which areas will return to so-called normal levels first, and also identify what trends might emerge in this new and unknown landscape to better assist our clients.

But why stop there? We will now be sharing some of these insights monthly to help digital marketers and travel businesses be better prepared for the inevitable return of travel demand, which you’ll be pleased to hear is already underway.

One final note before we delve in. It’s important to remember that Google Trends data is very much a guide and that any trend should be validated with other qualitative and quantitative metrics before taking action. That said, it’s hoped that the following data will give you a steer on where to investigate next.

Methodology

  • Defined an initial list of searches for each category
  • Used Google Trends API to pull “interest over time” and “related queries” data at scale for against the travel category (67)
  • Visualised summed averaged for each category by week in the “interest over time” graphs
  • Analysed rising queries within “related queries” tables from the last 30 days

How to read the graphs

  • The graphs represent the average trend score for the set of keywords defined in that category for the last three years split by week
  • The pink shaded area represents 2020 to date. The other colours represent previous years
  • Google trends is scored out of 100, which indicates its peak. The closer the data point is to 100, the more frequently people are searching

Cars

Interest over time (YOY)

The cars category covers queries related to driving. They include keyword such as car hire, SUV rentals, road trips, and motorhomes.

As you can see in the graph below the car category has risen above the average score it achieved in both 2018 and 2019.

Figure 1: Car category searches over time

Rising queries: “Cars” (last 30 days) 

The following table presents the rising related queries in order of value Google trends associates to the keyword “cars” during the past 30 days:

Query

Rising Value

car hire malaga airport

15800
jarmite car rentals

7950

car hire ibiza airport

5350

car hire manchester airport

190

west wittering car park

140
car hire manchester

130

euro car part

130

car rental london

120

thrifty car rental

100

car sharing covid

100

car hire faro airport

90
hire a car

80

zip car

70

car hire cyprus

70

camber sands car park

70
car hire london

70

car ferry

60

car rental near me

60

car hire alicante

60

rent a car near me

50
car share cast

50

car hire east midlands airport

50

9 seater car

40

 

Melt takeaways

Cars is the only segment in travel that we’ve seen return to similar pre-Covid-19 levels. This is very encouraging and would indicate a lot more people are interested in hiring cars for road trips and domestic travel getaways.

Looking into the latest trends we have also seen spikes in people upgrading their vehicle to something more suitable for a domestic trip, with searches including, for example, “campervan hire”.

Figure 2: Google trends interest over time for “campervan hire”

As you can see, some of the results in this month’s rising queries have been skewed by searches for car parks. One example is “west wittering car park”, which coincided with scores of people heading to West Wittering beach during the recent heatwave. No doubt they wanted to check out parking restrictions before they travelled.

Another interesting finding in rising queries is the increase in interest for car hire at airports outside the UK (like Faro and Ibiza). Car hire searches in these destinations would indicate that consumers have already purchased flights, which is another strong sign of recovery.

Finally, “Covid care share” is a search query that caught our eye. Arguably this could be travellers wanting to know what the rules are regarding sharing a car with friends or family, as well as, perhaps, the safety considerations that need to be taken when hiring a car from a car-sharing company like Zipcar.

We hope you’ve found these accommodation travel trends and insights useful. If so, check back in next month for more of the same. If you’d like us to monitor any particular trends for you travel or non-travel get in touch here:

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