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

AdvertiserImpressions (Millions)2013 Rank2012 Rank
Booking.com79317
TripAdvisor.com78124
Priceline.com72432
Expedia.com66246
Kayak.com60451
Orbitz.com54663
CheapOair.com49775
Travelzoo.com49288
Bookingbuddy.com44599
Hotels.com3571010

Source: Adgooroo for Google AdWords (desktop/tablet)

Top 20 Most Clicked Travel Keywords in U.S.

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

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

Photo Credit: 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