Are travel searches up or down?

Tue 13 January 2009 17:37, Bas van den Beld

Are travel searches up or down?

Last week we reported that travel-searches in the UK were down 42% in the last year. Numbers provided by Hitwise showed a huge decrease. This week some blogs started raising questions if the numbers given by Hitwise are accurate.

The comments focused on the low number of working days in the date range Hitwise based their numbers on. Today, a flight search engine, gave us a completely different view: a rise of 32% in online flight search traffic.

According to Skyscanner, a search engine which is available in 20 languages, the flight industry doesn’t seem to feel the pain of the recession after all. Their numbers show UK traffic was up 12%, in Portugal 92%, in The Netherlands 88% and in Germany 60%.

“There’s no doubting that 2009 will be a tough year for the online travel industry, but our data suggests that either Skyscanner is bucking the downward trend, and/or the situation is not as bad as Hitwise reports. We have worked hard to improve Skyscanner by expanding our coverage and entering new markets over the last year, and have seen growth in flight searches despite the economic gloom.


“Travel is still very important to consumers, as well as a necessity for many businesses. The real difference that the economic downturn has brought is the increased emphasis on finding the cheapest flights possible, hence why more users are coming to Skyscanner.”

The difference is immense and can partly be explained by the fact that used their own data. However the changes are so immense something else must be the matter. Did Hitwise make a mistake? Or did Skyscanner?

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