Here at Melt, we’ve been closely monitoring Google trends data throughout the pandemic to gauge the levels of search interest across key travel sectors such as; flights, hotels, holidays, cruises and car hire in order to anticipate which areas will return to peak first (score of 100), and what trends might emerge in this new unknown landscape.

Our aim is simple: to help you navigate a complex Covid-19 landscape that is in constant flux.

Again, as per our messaging in previous months, Google Trends data should be used as a guide.

It’s recommended that you validate any trends data with qualitative and quantitative metrics before taking action.


  • Defined an initial list of searches for each category
  • Used Google Trends API to pull “interest over time” data at scale within the defined category (67 – Travel)
  • 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 to get a sense of what queries are trending in each category.

Car Hire

Interest over time (YOY)

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

We have also included a comparison between the UK and the US to highlight differences in travel trends for two countries that are experiencing the pandemic differently.


fig 1: summed YOY comparison over time for UK keywords related to car hire


fig 2: summed YOY comparison over time for US keywords related to car hire

Melt takeaways

In the UK the car-hire segment has seen the best bounce-back versus previous years data. What’s interesting this month however, is that it appears the trend-line seems to match that of the “camping” in accommodation types, which would indicate that a rise in the previous year’s car-hire searches are related to family and groups hiring additional transport to supplement these holidays.

This is backed up with the below graph (fig 3) which shows the search terms over time.

fig 3: “car hire” and “caravan hire” searches over time.

In the US “car hire” related terms continue to be on the gradual rise but are still down on previous year levels.

Rising queries: “Car Hire” (UK, last 30 days)

These are rising queries related to “Car hire” within the travel category of Google trends for the last 30 days. The higher the value the sharper the increase in recent searches.

variable value
ok rent a car 14900
west quay cars 12700
castle car park york 4200
virginia water car park 300
car hire faro airport 300
rental cars uk 140
afford rent a car 110
car hire milton keynes 110
cheap car hire near me 100
car hire inverness airport 80
west wittering beach car park 80
car hire pisa airport 60
car rental edinburgh 50
rent a car london 40

Melt takeaways

Looking at the rising related queries for “car hire” over the last 30 days the number of searches are limited and score low apart from the following:

ok rent a car 14900
west quay cars 12700

Delving further into these two queries we could not find any relevant press coverage to indicate why these searches were so high. Potentially these brands carried out marketing campaigns or alternatively, offline news associated with these brands caused this spike.

Some positive news for travel marketers as UK consumers are still looking for international airport car hire with references to “car hire pisa airport” and “car hire faro airport”.  However, most searches are of domestic intent, with various car park searches such as “castle car park york” and other UK based car hire searches including “car hire milton keynes”.

We hope you’ve found these trends and insights useful, and hope to see you back here next month to find out how these trends play out over time for the travel sector.

If you’d like us to monitor any particular trends for you travel or non-travel get in touch via