According to ABTA – The Travel Association, going online is firmly established as people’s preferred method of booking their holidays.

In fact, those who say they booked their holiday online has remained above 80 per cent since 2017, with 83 per cent of people doing so in the last year. An area that has grown significantly in this same time frame is people using their mobile phone to book a holiday, doubling from 20 per cent in 2017 to 41 per cent in 2023.

Digital has made it easier than ever to shop around for holidays and consumers are spoilt for choice. Therefore, for travel companies, having an effective search strategy has never been more important. Leveraging data to optimise search campaigns is a game changer and allows your company to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time.

Here are some of the best ways you can utilise data to enhance your search strategies and achieve better conversion.

Keyword seasonality

Travel is seasonal – while it does vary between destinations, generally speaking, December is quiet for most travel companies, whereas January and September are very busy.

This is why creating a search campaign that is responsive to the ebbs and flows of travel seasonality is crucial to maximise the chances of reaching your target audience when they’re most likely to search for a particular type of holiday.

Understanding customer search trends is incredibly important, and this is where tools such as Google Trends can prove invaluable. It allows you to see the popularity peaks and troughs of a particular keyword over various periods of time, and how that popularity compares to other keywords. You can also use the tool to gain valuable insight into what people are interested in, helping you understand buyer behaviour and enabling you to tailor your search strategy to better meet the needs and interests of your target audience.

To truly capitalise on seasonality trends, you need to have a detailed, data-driven understanding of when consumers not only want to go on a trip, but also when they start thinking about going on a trip, and Google Trends can help you identify when consumers are starting their decision-making journey. This is vital, as misjudging the timeframes could mean your page or site is not visible at a critical point in the buying journey.

External travel data sources and providers

Taking advantage of external travel data sources is another useful way to gain important insight for your search strategy.

‘Travel Insights’ is a powerful tool by Google, updated daily, that offers data-driven insights into travel trends, popular destinations, and traveller behaviour based on Google Search queries. You can use this to identify trends, for example a continued search increase for a specific location your company serves.

You might then decide to create new content around this location, build dedicated landing pages, amend your site navigation etc. to serve the increase of users looking for information around this travel destination.

The tool also provides data on seasonal travel trends, including popular destinations, booking patterns, and fluctuations in demand, as well as emerging destinations that are gaining popularity among travellers. You can use this information to adjust your search strategy based on seasonal variations in travel preferences and to promote destinations and capitalise on emerging travel trends before they become mainstream.


CRM data is one of your most valuable resources as a travel marketer and can serve as a good starting point for tailoring your search strategy.

Feeding CRM data into your digital marketing strategy means you can identify your frequent guests, one-time visitors, and regular booking abandoners, to pinpoint your highest value customers and effectively target advertising across channels accordingly. This extra layer of insight into your audiences can be the deciding factor between abandonment and conversion.

Utilising CRM systems is also invaluable for nurturing leads, particularly in the travel sector where purchases often involve complex decision-making processes and extended sales cycles. A robust CRM system enables you to monitor leads over time, engage with them across various touchpoints, and offer personalised assistance throughout their decision-making journey, thereby nurturing leads until they are ready to make a booking.

Efficiently handling leads and ensuring each one receives proper nurturing and follow-up enhances the chances of converting them into paying customers and optimising your ROI.

Using PPC data to shape SEO

Both pay-per-click [PPC] and search engine optimisation [SEO] marketing strategies help boost your brand’s visibility and drive traffic to your website, but marketers tend to focus on one or the other, not realising that SEO and PPC actually work better together.

You can boost your SEO content by applying insights from your PPC campaigns, for example by identifying which PPC words drive the most traffic and adding these and related keywords to your SEO strategy. Another example is using target audience data from your PPC campaigns to make sure your content is directed at the most relevant users.

It can take a long time to evaluate SEO results, but by using PPC data for SEO, you can predict what works and doesn’t work and boost your search rankings significantly.


With travellers visiting an average of 38 websites before making a booking decision, clearly, the customer path is complex and involves multiple touchpoints. This is where attribution models have a significant role to play.

An attribution model provides a framework for understanding the impact of various marketing activities, for example search campaigns, on the final booking decision. It can help you identify which factors at various points along the road – from look to book – influence where a travel shopper ultimately makes a purchase.

By evaluating the value and efficiency of each marketing category during the full travel consumer journey to purchase, you get the clearest picture of where to most effectively direct your marketing budget and, armed with a comprehensive attribution model, you can significantly improve the reach and impact you have on the millions of people who book travel every day.

Data drives success

No matter what industry you’re in, access to data has completely changed the marketing landscape. In fact, studies have shown businesses using data-driven strategies experience five to eight times higher ROI.

Within all travel businesses, making the most out of every single booking is key. By leveraging data, you can better understand your market, customers and prospects and take a more strategic approach to your search activities for increased visibility and greater reach.

CEO and Director at Ink Digital | + posts

Michael Ryan is CEO and director of award-winning digital marketing agency, Ink Digital. With more than 10 years' experience working in SEO, Michael founded Ink Digital in 2019 and has grown it vastly since.

Growing up in Essex, he went into SEO immediately after leaving education. He worked agency side as well as brand side, doing SEO for a travel agency, and discovered a gap in the market for SEO consultants which inspired him to launch his own venture.