Digital Booking Sites

Expedia Spends More on Search Than Any Other Booking Site in the U.S.

@denschaal

May 28, 2014 10:30 am

Skift Take

The top 10 U.S. travel advertisers in paid search in 2012 also filled out the top 10 in 2013, although their positions changed somewhat. This shows how difficult it is for travel startups and other companies that were not early adopters to break through and get their messages out to consumers.

— Dennis Schaal

Register Now for Skift Global Forum

Google

Expedia outspent all travel advertisers in paid search in 2013, although Booking.com was right behind and its advertising triggered the largest number of ad impressions. Google


Booking.com gets a ton of publicity about being tops in the travel industry in paid search on a global basis, but it may not be as widely known that Expedia.com outspends Booking.com in paid search in the U.S.

It didn’t provide much detail, but Adgooroo states Expedia.com ranked 10th among all advertisers in paid search in the U.S. in 2013 while Booking.com, which only really showed up in the U.S. a couple of years ago, took the 11th slot — behind Expedia.com.

But, Adgooroo did go into detail [see chart below] about the top U.S. travel advertisers in Google AdWords (desktop/tablet) in 2013 in terms of ad impressions (ads shown to users), and Booking.com took the number one slot, edging out TripAdvisor, 793 million impressions versus 781 million, respectively.

In so doing, Booking.com, which is pushing hard in the U.S. through paid search and offline advertising, moved up from seventh in 2012 in paid search to first in 2013.

TripAdvisor, which launched hotel metasearch in 2013 to compete with Kayak, Trivago, Google and others, also was in big-spend mode in paid search, climbing from fourth in 2012 to second in 2013.

There are some other interesting points about the top 10.

Although their rankings changed a bit, with individual companies jockeying for advantage, the same companies that filled out the top 10 in 2012 were there in 2013, as well. This shows how hard it is for startups or other companies that were not early adopters to break through and get their messages out.

While Booking.com was paying for all those Google AdWords keywords so was sister company Priceline.com, which was the third biggest spender.

Meanwhile, another member of the Priceline Group, Kayak, seemed to deemphasize paid search a tad, falling from first place in 2012 to fifth place in 2013 in terms of ad impressions. The Priceline Group acquired Kayak midway through 2013.

It is also interesting to note that Expedia.com ranked fourth in Google AdWords impressions in 2013, but outspent everyone in paid search in the U.S., according to Adgooroo. That seems to mean that Expedia was buying some relatively expensive keywords.

“In all, nearly 12,700 travel advertisers spent $750 million sponsoring more than 50,000 travel-related keywords on U.S. Google AdWords in 2013, averaging a 4.18% clickthrough rate and an average cost per click of $0.86,” Adgooroo states.

As you can see from the Adgooroo chart at the bottom of this story, “expedia” was the most clicked keyword in Google AdWords in the U.S. from January through April 2014.

Interestingly, Travelocity, which exists in North America these days mostly as a marketing vehicle as Expedia is operating its websites, saw “travelocity” as the third-most popular keyword, showing the brand still has some consumer clout.

In addition, major hotel brands were shut out of the top 20 travel keywords while alternative lodging companies “vrbo” and “airbnb” came in 16th and 19th, respectively.

Top U.S. Travel Advertisers (Impressions) in 2013

Advertiser Impressions (Millions) 2013 Rank 2012 Rank
Booking.com 793 1 7
TripAdvisor.com 781 2 4
Priceline.com 724 3 2
Expedia.com 662 4 6
Kayak.com 604 5 1
Orbitz.com 546 6 3
CheapOair.com 497 7 5
Travelzoo.com 492 8 8
Bookingbuddy.com 445 9 9
Hotels.com 357 10 10

Source: Adgooroo for Google AdWords (desktop/tablet)

Top 20 Most Clicked Travel Keywords in U.S.

Rank Keyword
1 expedia
2 cheap flights
3 travelocity
4 southwest
5 jetblue
6 priceline
7 orbitz
8 us airways
9 amtrak
10 southwest airlines
11 delta airlines
12 enterprise
13 carnival cruise
14 hotwire
15 alaska airlines
16 vrbo
17 malaysia airlines
18 cheap tickets
19 airbnb
20 royal caribbean

Source: Adgooroo, January to April 2014 in U.S. Google AdWords

Next Up

More on Skift

How Destinations Turn Locals Into Their Best Brand Ambassadors
Interview: TripAdvisor CEO on Building the Perfect Trip
SeaWorld Looks to Travel Agents to Help Reverse Attendance Woes
Free WiFi Tops Business Travelers’ List of Hotel Must-Haves