Our COVID-19 Hospitality Data Report has shown increases for five consecutive weeks in the number of people both searching for, and booking, travel. This is one trend we’ve been delighted to see, but, we can’t let this delight get the better of us just yet.

Industry data for the week of June 8 - 14, 2020
Item 1: Snapshot of Wallop’s COVID-19 Hospitality Data Report

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping a very close eye on search trends to enable us to adapt/pivot [insert overused jargon of your choice] our clients’ digital strategies. We’ve been closely monitoring what people are searching for, and where. Google Trends is a key tool for doing this. If you’ve not used Google Trends, then we’d suggest you go in and take a look around. The tool allows you to monitor how often people have been searching for something in a specific region. You can see information similar to this using Google Search Console and Google Ads, however Google Trends offers you the advantage of looking at phrases you may never have focused on with paid ads or organic search. 

During our time using Google Trends over the past few months, there are some search trends that have stood out to us. 

Google trends graph for "Family Vacation Destinations"
Item 2: Search volume the past 5 months for “family vacation destinations” in the USA. Source: Google Trends)

One such trend is that around “family vacation destination” searches. Since the start of May, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people searching for “family vacation destinations” across the United States (see item 2). On its own, this could be taken as a very positive sign. However, if we compare this to the past 12 months (see item 3), we can see that search volume has not quite recovered to what it once was. 

Search volume the past twelve months for “family vacation destinations” in the USA
(Item 3: Search volume the past twelve months for “family vacation destinations” in the USA. Source: Google Trends)

All of this information is great for broadly understanding an audience’s mindset. Wallop’s three phases of COVID-19 recovery recommendations details how to use Google Trends data to highlight certain situations. (The feedback on these recommendations has been quite positive. We’d encourage you to check them out). By far, the best way to make use of this information, though, is to compare it against a company’s own website and paid advertising data.

Google Trends could, for example, show that search volume for a specific term increased to where it once was. But, if a company began to run search ads on this term, they could find that nobody who clicks actually goes on to inquire or book. Similarly, if a certain term hasn’t been valuable in the past, it doesn’t mean that just because a high number of people are now making that search, a company should bid on it. Constant data analysis of this kind is the most effective way to spend your marketing time right now (and in our opinion — always). You can read what we’ve written previously on this subject here. 

Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting search trends that travel and hospitality businesses should take note of.

Those in the UK and Ireland were particularly concerned about how the pandemic may impact their travel plans.

Worldwide Search volume the past 90 days for “Is it Safe to Travel?” over the past 12 months

Canadians have never been more intrigued by the idea of a “staycation”.

Search trends for "Staycation" by Canadians over the past 12 months

Ranch resorts have become the new city break for Americans.

Search trends for "Ranch Resorts" and "City Break" by Americans over the past 12 months

As cruise popularity has decreased amongst those in the USA, road trip popularity has increased.

Search trends for "Cruises" and "Road Trii" by Americans over the past 12 months

Searches for destination weddings by those in the USA have decreased sharply since March, while interest in elopements has spiked to its highest level in at least five years (as far back as the data goes).

Search trends for "Elopements" and "Destination Weddings" for Americans over the past 12 months

We hope you’ve seen how Google Trends can provide a diversity of helpful insights. It also has a page dedicated to coronavirus related searches. This information can help businesses to write communications that respond to concern people have, based on what they’re searching for.

This month a whole host of hotels, restaurants and travel experiences across North America (and beyond) are opening their doors and alerting guests to their new procedures. Our team has been helping our clients across the world prepare for the next phase of 2020s “new normal”, whether they’ve opened already, are opening this week, or are yet to confirm those all-important reopening dates. For those of you going through this process at your travel or hospitality business, we invite you to visit the following pages which we’re keeping up-to-date with useful resources, data and insights: 

COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 Recovery Recommendations
COVID-19 Hospitality Data
Wallop Travel Industry Insights