Welcome to the second instalment of our series that takes a closer look at the latest data from Google Trends across a number of key travel industries. The focus of this article is car hire, but you can find similar post flights, hotels, cruises and holidays by tapping on the respective links (they’re not all live yet, so check back in for updates).

Our aim is simple: to help you navigate a complex Covid-19 landscape that is in constant flux. For this article that means providing you with search interest insight for car hire, a segment of the travel industry that has recovered a lot quicker than others such as flights. 

Again, as per our messaging in earlier blogs, Google Trends data should be seen 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” 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

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’. 

This month we’ve included a comparison between the UK and the US to highlight differences in travel trends for two countries that are experiencing the pandemic differently.



Melt takeaways

Car hire continues to be one of the least impacted segments within travel and has even seen year on year growth in the UK for the past month (see in fig 1). This may be due to an increase in domestic travel road trips. 

In the US, however, interest in car hire has plateaued since week 23. Looking at year-on-year data, interest in car hire typically dips after week 25 so this will be an interesting trend to monitor over the next month. 

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

Below you’ll find 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
car hire bristol airport 5600
car hire beziers airport 3650
panek car rental 3500
long term car hire 400
arnold clark 250
7 seater car hire 250
zip car uk 200
arnold clark car hire 190
car hire cardiff airport 170
car hire belfast airport 170
car hire glasgow 140
zest car hire 140
euro car part 140
autoeurope 140
thrifty car hire 110
west wittering car park 100
cheap car hire near me 100
car hire glasgow airport 90
virginia water car park 90
car rental comparison 80
car hire rhodes 80
west wittering beach car park 80

Melt takeaways

When looking at the rising queries above there as some positive signs that align with the overall growth interest in car hire across the UK.

In other segments we’ve seen lots of domestic search queries but here we do have presence of airport-related car hire queries – “car hire bristol airport” – and destination-related car hire queries – “car hire rhodes” and “panek car rental”. This suggests people are looking at options both in the UK and internationally. 

One search that piqued our interest was “car hire beziers airport”, one of the highest rising queries of the last 30 days (3650). This may have been down to Brits scrambling to get back from France before new quarantine measures came into effect, with some looking for alternative routes home to the UK. 

We expect car hire searches to maintain their levels over the next few months as interest in domestic travel continues to grow.

We hope you’ve found these trends and insights useful. And we hope to see you back here next month to learn about how these trends play out over time for the travel industry.

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