When Did Airlines See the Most Traction from Christmas Flight Bookings?

Ian O'Rourke Posted by Ian O'Rourke

Christmas holidays are big business–what can the top British airlines’ 2014 performance teach us about how to be visible and attractive for holidaymakers looking for a break next Christmas?

Adthena’s data shows that large numbers of Britons search for Christmas holidays within the month of December, making a focussed PPC campaign seem attractive. Let’s see whether this is corroborated by the data and whether airlines should start their campaign earlier.

The holiday industry continues to grow, according to the Office for National Statistics, so brands would do well to keep an eye out for what works in this market.

Traffic by Month: Sustained Interest

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ChristmasholidaysKeywordtrends.png” title=”Christmas holiday keyword trends, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ChristmasholidaysKeywordtrends.png”][/lightbox]

The graph above plots the traffic for the relevant keywords during 2013 and 2014. As you can see, the popularity of Christmas holidays (keyword: christmas holidays 2014) comes on drastically, with 1 December 2013 taking nearly 2,900 clicks.

It seems that customers are very keen to book well ahead. Let’s not forget, however, that not all customers who head to an airline’s site will book: some could just be scoping out the deals, especially the ones that some airlines start offering for next year’s holidays at this time of year.

By comparison, the keyword christmas holidays in the sun took around 750 hits, while christmas holidays took 500. These two keywords stay at this level through March, April, and May until July, where christmas holidays 2014 comes back, hitting 1,500, then 2,000 in September.

It seems that this keyword represents an important and wide selection of people who plan ahead on different time-scales. As such, Adthena’s head-to-head comparison tool would be the perfect asset for tracking a keyword that is so lucrative, but so changeable.

Brand Share of Voice: Two Strategies

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Christmasholidayspaidtrend.png” title=”Christmas holiday paid share of voice trend, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Christmasholidayspaidtrend.png”][/lightbox]

British Airways left Monarch and EasyJet as the two main competitors. As you can see, they took it in turns to be top player: EasyJet topped and tailed the base period, while Monarch focussed on the middle.

EasyJet won in November, though it should’ve tried to hold its grip until December, when the Christmas holiday keywords saw a huge spike. Instead, the airline gave way to Monarch, which took just under 70% of the traffic, with EasyJet taking the remaining 30%.

EasyJet was back in the game towards the end of the year, however, owning just above 80% of the share of voice (SOV) in October and September. As you’ll remember, this coincides conveniently with the spike in christmas holidays 2014 traffic during this time.

Ad Copy

In this market, Monarch took nearly 80% of the paid search SOV, so they were clearly doing something right with their ad copy.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ads.png” title=”Christmas holiday ads, Adthena” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ads.png”][/lightbox]

The top ad, shown above, is a great example of how to do things right. Holidays are still a significant outlay for most, so people appreciate a discount: tell them there’s a sale on and how much they can save. This ad coincided, roughly, with Monarch’s first peak around January 2014.

Notice, also, that the top four ads all feature ‘Christmas’ in their title–the Christmas holiday is a trend that’s staying for the long term, and when people search for this sort of thing, this is what they really mean. If you need guidance for your own ad copy, Adthena has the tool for you.

It seems that the Christmas holiday PPC market is open all year. If pressed, companies might wish to focus on peaks in Autumn and mid-Winter, though Monarch’s performance suggests that this might not be the best course. So let’s see how the brands do this time around, especially in a market that continues to grow.

Dean Morley/flickr

About the author

Ian O'Rourke
Ian O'Rourke
Ian is the CEO and Founder of Adthena. He has been involved in technology businesses and start-ups for over 22 years and has built businesses across the globe including in Silicon Valley, London, Australia and Taiwan. Ian has grown Adthena since 2012 to its current position as the premier global provider of competitive intelligence. Ian likes to foster a culture of great products, getting things done, responsibility, freedom and continuous improvement.