ABC’s of SEO: T = Travel Trends

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International Keyword Research Trends

The travel industry has enjoyed a huge increase in ecommerce over recent years with the rise of hotel, holiday and flight aggregators. In most recent times this trend has moved towards an influx of holiday and travel price comparison sites.

Some of the major travel providers have had to adapt to the recent economic climate and amplify their keyword profiles with the goal to rank for terms such as cheap holidays, last minute breaks, low cost flights and so on.

Furthermore, large international sites have to apply these keyword strategies and apply them globally in various markets, which have their own languages and keywords.

So, the question is – Can we simply direct translate our keywords? Will high search volumes of certain keywords be reflected within international search engines? Will there be any English terms that remain? And finally, what surprises are there with regards to keyword trends?

This experiment will be based on the terms surrounding ‘cheap flights’ and will include trends in the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

 Google UK

  • Cheap flights (blue)
  • Low cost flights (red)
  • Last minute flights (orange)

Travel Trends in the UK

From the data we can see cheap flights being the most popular searched term in the UK with ‘low cost flights’ having a slightly larger share of searches than ‘last minute flights’. General peaks occur in January and July with the major low point in search trend around December.

Google FR

  • Vols pas chers (blue)
  • Vols low cost (orange)
  • Vols derniere minute (red)

 Travel Trends France

In France we can see that the term ‘low cost flights’ over the last year has overtaken ‘vols pas chers’ in search volumes. This shows that within French search, users have become accustomed to using the English search term alongside the word ‘vols’. However, this logic cannot be applied across the board as our research shows that the French will use the term ‘vols derniere minute’ but won’t use the term ‘last minute flights’. We can also observe that the French term for flight is placed ahead of the adjective and yet in English users place this after.

In terms of seasonality France appears to offer a different trend with March positioning itself as one of the key peaks in cheap flight related search terms. July and December present similar trends but it’s worth noting that March is a key period in the French calendar – something which occurs more so in January within UK search.

 Google IT

  • Low cost voli (red)
  • Voli low cost (orange)
  • Voli economici (blue)
  • Voli last minute (green)

 Travel Trends Italy

Moving onto the Italian Market and we can obviously note the English terms popping up and once again we can see the term ‘low cost’ featuring at the top of Italian search. However, we can take note that unlike French users, the term is placed before the word ‘voli’ using a similar word order that is familiar amongst UK users. Additionally, we can observe that ‘voli economici’ and ‘voli last minute’ have a far closer search volume than in the previous search markets.

Seasonality within Italy proves to show interesting variation compared to France and the UK. This time rather than July being one of the key periods in search volumes, August is the top month of the year. Once again, March is the other main peak in the year similar to French users.

 Google ES

  • Vuelos baratos (green)
  • Vuelos economicos (purple)
  • Vuelos low cost (blue)
  • Vuelos ultimo minute (red)
  • Vuelos last minute (orange)

 Travel Trends Spain

In Spain we see a different scenario again, with the term ‘vuelos baratos’ the stand out term receiving far more search volume than the other key terms. Now let’s analyse the other key terms:

  • Vuelos low cost (blue)
  • Vuelos economicos (green)
  • Vuelos ultimo minuto (red)
  • Vuelos last minute (orange)


Travel Trends Spain (Seasonality)

From this data we can obtain that in previous years the term ‘vuelos economicos’ was the highest searched term, however since January last year Spanish users have become much more familiar with the term ‘vuelos low cost’ opting for the English term. What is surprising is that the Spanish translate the term ‘last minute’ receiving almost the same search volume as the English term.

Seasonal trends seem slightly harder to predict in Spain at the beginning of the year. July is the main strong point in the year similar to the UK and France.


So what have we learnt by this?

Seasonality – One of the main points is the differentiation in seasonality of ‘cheap flight’ related search terms across international markets. This will affect promotions and link building campaigns as different markets possess different times in the year where search activity is at its highest.

Low cost – We have seen the rise of the term ‘low cost’ across the European markets added to home market terms for example ‘voli low cost’. Therefore, it’s always important to bear in mind the possibility of combining English terms with foreign ones rather than simply assuming a complete translation always being preferred in foreign markets.

Word order – As mentioned earlier, word order is important as in Italy placing the phrase ‘low cost’ before ‘voli’ attains a higher search volume, whereas in other markets this doesn’t make sense and is not searched for.

Popular trends – We have also observed in the Spanish & French market terms losing search volume over time as another preferred term gains usage such as ‘vuelos low cost’ overtaking the Spanish equivalent for cheap flights – ‘vuelos economicos’.

Top search terms – One final thing worth noting is the fact that the top spot for ‘cheap flight’ related terms in the UK market is not reflected across the other European markets. In France, and Italy ‘low cost voli’ & ‘vols low cost’ are the top terms. Only in Spain do we see the equivalent term at the top of internet user searches.


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