As we enter the final quarter of 2020, the travel industry is still very much in a state of flux with some countries beginning to slowly reopen their borders, with others having to monitor travellers and incoming destinations more closely.
The Yandex.Search team have gone through user query data over the past few months, and this has revealed, if not reaffirmed, the extent to which users have stopped searching for holidays and vacations.
At the start of March, search queries relating to travel and holidays were generally trending upwards, before plummeting and still being low at the start of May.
Self-isolation has also changed the structure of user requests.
Before the self-isolation period, the most queried travel topic was hotels (36%), the second and third places were shared by air tickets and tours, which accounted for about 17-18% of search queries, general travel queries were in fourth place, and train tickets closed the top 5 categories.
Now hotels, and related services, remain the most searched for travel topic, but their share has decreased.
The share of general information requests increased significantly: for example, “Where to go on vacation”, “Where is it better to relax with children” and the like: in the first quarter of 2020, general requests accounted for 13%, and in April – May already 22%.
The number of search queries and requests for information relating to tours also decreased – mainly as these related to trips abroad, and borders were closed with uncertainty about which ones will open, and how long for. In numbers, this decrease was from 17% to 10%.
By the end of April, users’ interest in travel had generally stabilized, the number of general information requests returned to the level of the beginning of March.
The demand for travel is also confirmed by the rapid growth of requests about when the borders will be opened and it will be possible to go on vacation: their number in two months after the announcement of the pandemic has increased 10 times – up to 200,000 requests per week at the beginning of May.
You can read the full research piece from Yandex here.
It’s also worth noting that the number of queries coming from mobile devices has increased for 26% in Q1 2017, to 54% in Q1 2020. To what extent this data has been impacted by the large user shift in users moving from Google to Yandex on Android devices is yet to be clarified.