Online holiday searches totalled 3.1 million at the latter end of 2011 and the African continent saw a surge of queries far exceeding those for the Caribbean, Far East or South East Asia, according to leading digital marketing agency, Greenlight.
Greenlight's report which profiles search behaviour in the holidays sector, found consumer searches for short haul and long haul destinations increased by 7 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, since its previous report (August 2011).
Africa steals a march on North America
The research shows European destinations dominated in 2011, accounting for the Lion's share of UK consumer holiday search queries, with North America following suit for the best part. However, things took a dramatic turn in November, when Africa overtook North America to become the second most popular holiday hotspot search-wise, accounting for 17 per cent of online holiday-related searches. (Number of searches by geographic region shows below. If you are unable to view the table please contact the press office)
Number of searches by geographic region (November 2011)
Region No. of Searches % share of holiday searches
Europe 573,036 47%
Africa 211,349 17%
North America 186,740 15%
Caribbean & South America 106,061 9%
Far East & Australasia 84,054 7%
Middle East & South Asia 64,013 5%
Turkey and Egypt most popular destinations
The search term 'Turkey holidays' was queried 49,500 times, accounting for 9 per cent of all short haul holiday destination searches, mainly within Europe. It was followed by 'Cyprus holidays' and 'Greece holidays' with 33,100 and 22,200 searches, respectively.
Egypt proved to be the most popular long haul destination with the search term 'Egypt holidays' queried 60,500 times.
Thompson, Virgin and Saga most visible sites
The report analyses which brands and review sites were the most visible in both natural* and paid media** results and hence received the greatest share of consideration when UK consumers searched for holidays on Google UK.
In natural search, Thomson was the most visible website for short haul holiday searches attaining a 64% share of voice whilst Saga was the most visible advertiser in paid media.
Long haul holidays attracted 652,000 searches. Virgin Holidays was the most visible website in natural search. It was visible to a volume of 346,525 searches, attaining a 53 per cent share of voice. It was also the most visible advertiser with a 38 per cent share of visibility in the paid media space.
Thomson and Thomas Cook were the most visible brands across the social media platforms analysed, with both achieving a Klout score of 53. Thomas Cook also had the highest number of followers on LinkedIn whilst Last Minute had the largest following on its Twitter account (16,135).