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.