We all know that the travel industry is heavily skewed in favour of the big hitters. They each have a huge online presence, and as such are able to pull in more and more traffic in a perpetual cycle which makes it difficult for smaller rivals to compete. But in an interesting, albeit unsurprising new trend, it seems consumers have also now bought into the status quo.
The study showed that instead of generic travel terms such as "beach holiday" or "skiing", customers are beginning to plug into search engines the names of leading airlines and online travel agents. The largest travel companies have become so synonymous with the trips they offer that customers are now searching for them directly. Travel searches in the USA are now made up of 15.3% travel industry heavyweights. 'Expedia' came out on top as a keyword overall, generating over 30 million organic searches between January and November last year. 'Kayak', 'American Airlines', 'TripAdvisor', 'South West', 'South West Airlines', and 'United Airlines' came in behind, with sharing economy powerhouse 'Airbnb' in eighth place.
Organic searches such as this are a big indicator of where consumers intend on making a booking. "In any industry, organic searches are a major barometer of brand recognition and trust," says Pascal Cohen, SimilarWeb Insights Manager. "In the travel industry this is particularly evident with many of the biggest online sites now front of mind whenever we book a trip."
Gnerating traffic from search engines for any travel startup is a challenging necessity. Pascal Cohen concluded that "in an industry where more than 40% of travel companies generate traffic from search, companies not getting searched for are unlikely to generate bookings. Understanding the right keywords driving traffic to sites can make a major impact on a company's success in this competitive market."
But there is hope for the little guys! Although the big travel companies dominate brand searches, travellers today also search for specific attractions, excursions and local services - maybe things they have that they heard about from friends or family. The big travel brands do not dominate these keywords, allowing sites with strong local authority a better chance at competing, If they are built strong.
So there is potential for local sites to gain a footing in a market skewed towards the bigger brands. But it's tough, there's no way of getting around that fact. So how do you go about developing an unusually loyal customer following and an even bigger online presence? Luckily, that's where Travelshift software is here to help.
Travelshift allows you to build a travel services marketplace made up of smaller partners, so that together you can shout as loud as industry giants. All you have to do is aggregate suppliers, develop a community and watch as the sales come flooding in; we've taken care of all the technical stuff.
First of all, you will rank highly with search engines through strong local authority. Second, our community builder means you can develop more meaningful content than you can imagine, driving traffic through your site and increasing organic search traffic.