TripAdvisor takes a lead but most of travel search is up for grabs

A new study finds that 56% of organic searches in the travel and hospitality industry are open to competition.

The Conductor Searchlight platform tracked nearly 45,000 search terms that consumers used to find products, services, and information in 2018. In aggregate, these search terms represent 12,044,660 searches by consumers.

Conductor shows TripAdvisor at the lead with 9% of organic searches but Expedia follows closely with 8% and Kayak holds 6%.

Looking at travel search by stage of the journey, TripAdvisor performs best in the early stages, with 9% of that traffic. Travel US News takes the lead at Mid Stage planning with 14% of those searches. leads late stage search, overtaking Expedia as the late performer during the first half of 2018.

By sector, has risen from fourth to first place in flight search since December 2017, taking 13% of flight-related searches. Kayak comes in second at 11% and Expedia ranks third with 9%. is at the lead in hotel search with 18%, but TripAdvisor is gaining ground. It has risen by 6% since 2017 to hold the second spot in hotel search (17% of all organic search). Expedia comes in third with 11% of search.

In the motel category, keeps its top spot with 14% of search. TripAdvisor comes second place with 13% and HotelGuides comes in third with 12% of search. Expedia follows with 11%.

In the resorts category, however, TripAdvisor takes the lead by a broad margin with 15%. Expedia comes in tied for second with US News and Oyster, each with 7%.

TripAdvisor also leads on Attractions search, with 10%. Planetware and VacationIdea come in second and third with 8% and 6% respectively.

For cruises, Cruise Critic, owned by TripAdvisor, leads the rankings at 11% but Norwegian and Carnival’s own websites come in second and third with 10% and 9% respectively. Princes and Royal Caribbean follow closely in fourth and fifth place with 8% and 7%. Expedia is tied with Royal Caribbean with 7%.

Conductor also finds that the vast majority of first results in search for the travel and hospitality sector are local, geotagged and link back to the business’s website. Despite the appeal of visuals in travel, image searches and video searches account for a small portion of organic search results.

One brand making the most of this local dynamic is The Pod Hotels which Conductor finds ranks as the number one local result for massive searches, including “hotels DC” which yields 368,000 monthly searches and “best hotels NYC” which yields 22,000 monthly searches.

Related reading:

Wait, did TripAdvisor really influence 10% of global tourism spending in 2017?

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Marisa Garcia

About the Writer :: Marisa Garcia

Marisa Garcia is the tnooz aviation analyst. She has covered travel technology, design, branding, and strategy for leading publications, including Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX Magazine, AirlineTrends, and Travel+Leisure. She also shares industry insights on her site Flight Chic. Fly with her on Twitter.



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