New Research Shows Branded Consumer Searches Highest in Travel

When it comes to hospitality and travel, a majority of consumer searches (62 percent) feature a brand term, according to a new report by Uberall, Inc., a platform managing digital experiences for local businesses.

The figure is attributed to the high level of brand familiarity and loyalty among today’s travel searchers.

A branded search is when a consumer seeks out a particular company or product such as “Carnival” or “Hilton” while an unbranded search lacks brand-specific terms. Examples could include “ocean cruises” or “four-star hotels,” among others.

Uberall recently examined both branded and unbranded consumer search trends, analyzing 22 global brands with 48,000 locations and more than 450,000 small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) between August 2018 and August 2019.

While branded searches were found to be highest in travel, it was shown to be the lowest in the B2B segment, with 88 percent of searches unbranded and thus meaning a majority of consumers were likely more open to discovery.

“Companies need to optimize for both types of search and especially unbranded queries,” said Greg Sterling, VP of Insights at Uberall, in a statement. “If you’re Bank of America, for example, you need to rank for your own terms but also for searches like ‘best 0% APR credit cards’ or ‘lowest mortgage rates.'”

Citing Google data, Uberall reports that 90 percent of consumers typically begin their online research without a particular brand in mind and found that they discover global brands more often through unbranded searches (58 percent) compared to branded searches (42 percent).

Interestingly though, Uberall found that branded searches increased by 136 percent over the study’s one-year period versus just 75 percent for unbranded searches.

“It’s critical to understand how potential customers are discovering your business and locations—or your competitors,” said Brad Fagan, Senior Content Strategist and author of the report. “The more branded queries the better, but most consumers are searching without a specific name in mind, which translates into a battle for visibility; and that’s even more true among SMBs, where awareness is much lower.”

“Brands often assume people seek them out directly, but failure to address unbranded searches means they could be missing out on a lot of potential exposure,” added Sterling. “Having a clear understanding of consumer search behavior is essential in optimizing your digital marketing. And in a time of budget constraints, that’s more critical than ever.”

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Survey Shows Pent-Up Demand for Travel Continues to Build Among Americans

Last week, TravelPulse reported that pent-up demand was building as more and more Americans were ordered to stay home.

This week’s Harris Poll, which is tracking how Americans are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak on a weekly basis, has found that demand is continuing to build.

The survey found that 31 percent are planning to “go on vacation/travel when things return to normal.” This is up 7 percent from last week.

This is great news for travel, however, the industry should be prescient when it comes to a return to normal.

In fact, the poll asked Americans “Once the pandemic is over and things return to normal, do you think each of the following areas of your life will be very different, somewhat different or mostly the same?”

The response was that family, work and eating will remain mostly the same but travel and vacations look to be the area most impacted by the change.

Many Americans said that they believe that shopping and travel will be the categories to become somewhat different after the pandemic.

A majority think things will be at least somewhat different. Thirty-two percent say they expect travel/vacations will be very different once the pandemic is over, and 34 percent said they expect travel/vacations to be somewhat different once the pandemic is over.

However, 34 percent said that they expect travel to be mostly the same.

Americans are definitely still concerned about air and cruise travel and survey results show that those categories will take longer to bounce back.

Only 10 percent say they miss traveling on an airplane when asked what they miss the most during this time, and 20 percent say it will take a year or longer for them to fly on a plane once the curve of the pandemic flattens.

Twenty-one percent of Americans say they will stay in a hotel once stay-at-home orders are lifted and 41 percent said they would stay in a hotel within three months. Sixty percent of Americans said they would stay in a hotel within six months.

Americans won’t return to flying for four to six months after 57 percent of people said that it will take a year or more before they will take a cruise.

One of the major takeaways from this week’s poll is to consider “American resiliency” in marketing strategies.

“There is likely a ‘whiplash’ effect about to happen as the first sign that things might return to some type of normal. Upper funnel activity might soon re-emerge, even in unlikely categories like travel and entertainment,” the results show.

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