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July 10, 2020

Latest flight 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

Flights

Interest over time (YOY)

The flights category covers a variety of queries, featuring keywords such as domestic, international, last-minute and cheap, as well as searches that  feature names of specific airlines.

As you can see below, flight searches have been on the rise since week 17 of 2020. They are, however, still down on what they have been for the past two years.

Flight category searches over time

Rising queries: “Flights” (Last 30 Days)

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

Query

Rising Value

benidorm flights

450

easyjet flight release

300

flights to newquay

250

easyjet flight release dates

200

easyjet change flight

190

turkish airlines flights

140

flights to benidorm

130

flights to alicante from london

130

when will international flights resume uk

120

last flight to abuja

110

ba flight status

110

flights to vienna

110

ryanair flight status

100
flights from edinburgh

100

flights to malaga

100

ryanair flights to spain

100

flights to murcia

100

flights to cancun

100

tui flight extras

90

flight aware

90

international flights to india

90

flights to marbella

80

flights to tunisia

80

cheap flights to new york

80

flights to paris

70
flights to tenerife

70

babcock flights

70

flights to usa from uk

70

flights to turkey

70

flight radar app

60

loganair flights

60

flights to faro

60
flights to malta

50

flights to ibiza

50

flight tracker 24

40

easyjet flight tracker

40

flight centre

40

Melt takeaways

Most searches on the rise seem to be “flights to [destination of choice]”, such as “flights to marbella” or “flights to tenerife”, suggesting that people already have a destination in mind. And although “when will international flights resume uk” is still rising, there are less variations of this query compared to May when this was less clear.

Drilling into specific destinations, Benidorm and Alicante appear prominently, revealing that searches for these popular Spanish holiday destinations are gaining traction again. Further validation is required to determine if people are just browsing or actually booking, but signs are nevertheless encouraging.

This is reflected in Google search results where although the Covid-19 alert is still present, Google Flights is now more visible than news snippets:

Figure 2: “flights to benidorm” UK Google search result

Another area of growing interest is related to EasyJet, specifically around its flight release schedule for 2021, as this was released in June. This would indicate that even among more hesitant travellers there’s still some indicator of intent to travel over the long-term, when hopefully some sort of holidaying normality has returned.

We’ve also been tracking specific airlines. Although most appear to be trending in the same direction, it’s interesting to see that Jet2 and EasyJet have a slightly higher search growth curve than their competitors. Again, this needs to be further validated with booking and survey data to see if this trend holds true.

Figure 3 UK airlines, searches by week

We hope you’ve found these flight 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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