Travel Trend Research Using Google Trends – Part 2

In Part 1, you learned about Google Trends and how to research the interests of vacation and holiday travelers. We used the tool to compare different travel types, and to determine their relative popularity and seasonal trends over multiple years.

In Part 2, we’ll analyze searches for different types of destinations such as parks, beaches, museums and golf courses. Remember, our research assumes that Google searches indicate travel behavior. The information we discover will help us understand the interests of travelers around the world.

So what types of destinations do travelers want to visit? To start finding the answer, go to Google Trends (see the address at the end of this article) and submit this search: “national park, state park, county park, regional park” (with the commas but without the quotes). When the page reloads, you’ll see a line graph of the search phrases over multiple years. The relative heights of the lines show that national and state parks are more popular than county and regional parks. The peaks and valleys of the lines show that interest is seasonal, with interest highest in June and July (meaning summer in the northern hemisphere) and lowest in December.

The lower half of the page shows the regions and cities where the searches originated. For example, interest in national parks is high in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Now let’s look at search results for other destination types. Because the y-axis on the graph is relative, we will use “national park” as a constant in the comparisons. That way we can compare, for example, beaches vs. theme parks without having to submit them in the same search. This is necessary because Google Trends only allows the comparison of five phrases at a time.

As we try different destination types, we’ll see that some destinations are less popular than national parks. For example, search for “national park, theme park, water park, scuba diving, ecotourism”. Some of the destination types reach their highest popularity in July, such as the strong peak for water parks and the weaker peak for theme parks.

Now try “national park, shopping mall, shopping center, ski area, ski resort”. These last four destination types have peaks of varying height in December.

To drill down into more detail, you can pick specific destinations such as this search: “national park, Disneyland , Disney World, Six Flags, Sea World”. Note the relatively continuous popularity of the Disney parks and Sea World throughout the year, while Six Flags gets the most interest in July.

Camping and campgrounds are seasonal, of course, with strongest interest in July. More interesting is the fact that “camping” (meaning the activity or perhaps the type of equipment) is much more popular than “campground” (the place). Try it yourself: “national park, camping, campground”.

Golf courses and golf clubs have similar popularity and seasonal trends (with strong peaks in July) to national parks. To see for yourself, search for “national park, golf course, golf club”.

Other destinations are much popular than national parks, such as in this search: “national park, beach, mountain, museum”. Beaches have a wide range of seasonal interest, with a peak in July and lowest interest in December, though beaches remain more popular than any other destination type. The seasonal trend of mountains and museums is mostly flat, except mountains have a wide peak from December to February (ski season?) and museums have a sharp peak at the end of December (school break?).

Looking deeper into the seasonal popularity of beaches, we can see it depends on the beach’s distance and direction to the equator. For example, where summers are hot and winters are cold, beaches tend to be more popular during summer-such as the USA in August or Australia in December. Where temperatures are more constant (such as in Hawaii), beaches remain popular throughout the year. Try it yourself: “Sydney beach, Mexico beach, Hawaii beach, Texas beach, France beach”.

Using these research techniques, you will better understand the interests of travelers around the world.

Historic Sites in Northern Virginia for Student Travel Tours to Washington DC

Often when student travel groups decide upon Washington D.C. as their destination, the tour leaders have specific sites in mind for a visit. Many of the sites that student travel groups request the most are just outside Washington D.C., in Northern Virginia. In order to include these historic sites in a student travel tour, advanced planning is required. Usually, I advise educational travel groups to plan one year ahead for trips to the Washington D.C. area. Depending upon the site visited, special advance procedures to clear student visitors may be required.

An educational travel company needs to be retained to plan and execute an effective itinerary for Washington D.C. If popular historic or governmental sites in Northern Virginia are requested, the itinerary will accommodate these sites on one special day, or combine them effectively with other destinations on the student tour.

Here is an overview of some of the popular Northern Virginia sites for educational travel groups:

Pentagon Tour

The Pentagon is located just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. in Arlington, Virginia. Many student travel groups are eager to see the headquarters for high-ranking officers of the U.S. Military and their aides. Because the Pentagon was attacked on September 11th, and it houses critical military personnel, it is a sensitive site. Despite the challenges to security, the U.S. government still provides student travel tours led by a uniformed and trained member of the U.S. Military. This tour has been provided to the public since 1976, when it was first initiated in celebration of our nation’s 200th anniversary. With proper advance notification, an educational travel group may schedule a one-hour tour of the Pentagon that includes about one and one half miles of walking through Pentagon corridors and grounds and a view of the highlights.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is another historic site that fascinates and intrigues educational tour groups. Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated as a military cemetery on June 15th 1854. Veterans from all of the wars, both foreign and domestic, are buried here and the gravesites number around 300,000. The National Park Service administers Arlington House and its immediate grounds. The U.S. Army oversees Arlington National Cemetery and Soldier’s Home National Cemetery. Educational travel groups touring Arlington National Cemetery may have the opportunity to attend a Wreath Laying Ceremony or take a Tram tour, with advance planning.

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Mount Vernon, the historic estate of George Washington lies just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. a mere 16 miles distance from the nation’s capital. Mount Vernon is exquisitely preserved. Educational travel groups will be greeted at a brand new building, the Ford Orientation Center, and will tour The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center which houses 25 new theaters and galleries that narrate the entire story of George Washington’s life. The Reynolds museum displays 500 original artifacts, and offers 11 videos and Immersion Theater as a way of learning about our founding father.

Student travel groups can experience living history by observing a working 18th Century farm and gristmill, as well as other educational programs. Student travel groups may tour the mansion, gardens, working farm, and more.

Educational travel to Washington D.C. is greatly enhanced by trips to Northern Virginia historical points of interest. Places like the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mount Vernon should not be ignored on a student travel tour of the Washington D.C. area. For more information on specific points of interest in the Washington D.C. area for student travel groups, visit educationaltravelconsultants.com

India’s National Parks

There are roughly 100 National Parks in India, ranging in size, location and with different species of wild and plant life. Here are some handy pointers about their unique features for anyone interested in travelling to India.

Kanha National Park– Along with Ranthambore is a top tiger location. Also there are leopards, deer, antelope, langur monkeys and bison all mixed in with a few bears. It is the less touristy state of Madhya Pradesh.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary– 777sq km with a 26sq km man-made lake, Periyar is the perfect place to spot elephant as there are over 1,000 here, along with sambar, boar, langur monkeys and of course a few tigers. This is a very popular place to visit, even though the park is so large it can sometimes feel busy.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park– If you like birds, then Keoladeo is the place to go. It is best accessed from Bharatpur, which is a 3 hour drive South-East of Jaipur. October through to February is by far the best time to visit, this is after monsoon season. The lakes will be full, plant life in bloom and the trees full with leaves will mean that the birds will flock here. Painted Storks, Sarus cranes, herons, egrets, owls, cormorants and kingfishers all live here. You may even see pythons in the winter months.

Ranthambore National Park– Based in Rajasthan, just 5 hours from Jaipur is the best place in Rajasthan to (hopefully) spot tigers in a lovely unspoiled nature reserve. Project Tiger was setup in 1979 to preserve the tigers and local wildlife.

Corbett National Tiger Reserve… This was India’s first national park, establish in 1936. This reserve inspired the national program Project Tiger. April to mid-June is the best time to spot a tiger.

None of the parks guarantee that you will certain animals, especially tigers which are the most elusive.