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.
Interest over time (YOY)
The flight category covers a variety of queries such as domestic and international, last minute, cheap, and specific airline carriers.
We have also included a top-level comparison between the UK & US to highlight differences in travel trends for two countries at different stages of fighting the virus.
In the UK signs have been encouraging with consistent steady growth in search interest between week 17 (April 2020) and Week 30 (July 2020) however, in the last few weeks this has subsided. This may be due to consumers losing confidence in flying again as more and more destinations get added to the quarantine list. This is compounded by the growing concerns surrounding Portugal being removed from the travel corridor list and Greece which has already been added to Scotland’s list will prompt the rest of the UK to follow suit.
In the US you can see flight-based searches are a lot lower in comparison to previous years and they haven’t experienced the same growth curve as the UK. It would be interesting to delve more into the split between domestic and international flights within the UK to see if the trend lines follow the same pattern.
Rising queries: “Flights” (UK, last 30 days)
These are rising queries related to “Flights” within the travel category of Google trends for the last 30 days. The higher the value the sharper the increase in recent searches.
|jet2 flight tracker||6350|
|flight arrivals stansted||250|
|gatwick flight arrivals||200|
|flight delay compensation||200|
|jet2 flights to portugal||200|
|manchester flight arrivals||190|
|british airways flights to india||190|
|flights to portugal||180|
|tui flights to cyprus||140|
|ryanair flight change fee||130|
|saudi international flights||110|
|cheap flights to dubai||110|
|track a flight||100|
|aer lingus flights||100|
When reviewing the top rising queries it’s interesting to see that the “flight tracking” and “flight arrival” terms are again at the top this month. This could be due to concerns over whether flights will be delayed or even cancelled because of looming quarantine rules or could be because of people monitoring activity in the air pre and during covid to compare.
On the same note we are seeing a lot of people search for an airline + destination. During any other time this would be an encouraging sign but coupled with the fact that these destinations are Portugal and Cyprus, this would indicate the intent to find out if that flight is still going ahead or what the cancelation policy is, as suggested by searches like “flight delay compensation” or “ryanair flight change fee”
Looking to long haul, this month we have destinations such as Dubai, India and Saudi Arabia appearing. With Dubai experiencing temperatures of 30 degrees plus between October and December, it might prove to be a popular alternative destination outside the EU for the rest of the year.
Drilling into individual keywords over time, two queries trending that you can see in the graph below are “last minute flights” and “discount flights”. Both queries have been growing steadily since April, but “discount flights” have shot up in the last two weeks which is something to keep an eye on.
fig 3: searches over time for “last minute flights” and “discount flights”
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 email@example.com.