When it comes to the online travel industry, one company stands above all others and receives more traffic than any of its competitors in the OTA travel space.
This website is Booking.com who have had over 4 billion visits over the last 12 months.
Over this period, Booking.com’s peak month was in August 2015 when the site had 474 million worldwide visits on both desktop and mobile web. Even during February 2016, the sites weakest month over the last 12 months, the online travel behemoth still raked in 269 million monthly visits.
This traffic came from all over the world, with 25 countries accounting for at least 1% of the desktop traffic share. Among these countries, Spain led the way with 7.4% of the desktop traffic, while the US, France, Brazil, and Germany, round out the rest of the top 5 leading countries. If we expand that list to look at countries that account for at least 0.1% of the traffic share, the number of countries jumps way up to 72 countries across the globe.
So how does Booking.com do it and what can other digital travel companies learn from their strategies?
First, let’s take a look at where Booking.com’s traffic sources.
On desktop, the site’s main source of traffic came from Direct traffic which was the main traffic source in all but 2 of the last 12 months. During those months, September and November 2015, Referral traffic was the largest source of desktop traffic to the travel site.
During August 2015 for example, Booking.com received 39,803,000 worldwide desktop visits from Paid Search, their highest total of the last 12 months. Of these paid search visits, 27% came via the term ‘booking’ which is both generic and branded to Booking.com.
After ‘booking’ the next 3 most popular paid search terms of August were ‘booking.com’ ‘booking com’ and ‘букинг’ which is the Russian transliteration of booking.
However, after these top 4 terms, we can discover that the term ‘hotel’ was responsible for 0.46% of the sites paid search during the peak travel month of August.
Compare this to October 2015, when the site only reached 1,4294,000 paid visits on desktop, and 0.13% of them came via the search term ‘hotel’, a staggering difference of 254%! Furthermore, in October, the site’s 9th most popular paid search term was for ‘hotel Paris’ showing that Booking.com is targeting key travel destinations at different times during the year.