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.


  • 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


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.

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:


Rising Value

car hire malaga airport

jarmite car rentals


car hire ibiza airport


car hire manchester airport


west wittering car park

car hire manchester


euro car part


car rental london


thrifty car rental


car sharing covid


car hire faro airport

hire a car


zip car


car hire cyprus


camber sands car park

car hire london


car ferry


car rental near me


car hire alicante


rent a car near me

car share cast


car hire east midlands airport


9 seater car


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”.

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.