First, we analyzed who made travel and holiday-related searches in Yandex and were able to compose a portrait of the typical Russian traveler:
Now we can imagine the typical traveler and the main character of this article: a young woman we'll call Yana.
To get a fuller idea of how Yana plans her holiday, we'll combine data gathered by Yandex.Survey with our search query analysis. Two thousand people of various ages, family backgrounds and regions took part in the survey. Now let's look at what we were able to find out.
Preparing for a holiday is a big deal, and it takes time
Yana, like all users, starts getting ready for her vacation in advance to try and take advantage of the best offers. In March, Yana got the idea that it was time to start planning. Generic queries like "where should I go on holiday" start increasing in March and only begin dropping in August. Yana makes more such generic searches in summer than in winter.
Half of Yana's holiday-related searches came from her smartphone, but in summer smartphone searches dominate even more noticeably.
Holiday-related clicks continue to expand
At the same time that Yana increasingly makes holiday-related searches, she also clicks on ads for tourism-related products and services with greater frequency. She clicks on ads for hotels from her desktop computer more often, and opens ads about plane tickets predominantly from her smartphone.
both on desktops and mobiles.
If we look at Yana's interest in holiday-related ads over the entire year, however, we get a very different picture: winter sees Yana click on ads for tours and train tickets more often than in summer.
The workday is when thoughts turn to vacation
Yana's holiday planning tends to take place not on weekends, but on working days. She's more likely to search for information about hotels, plane tickets and car rental from 11 AM to 4 PM and then again after dinner, from 8 to 10 PM.
Discounts and friends' advice
Yana travels within Russia more than she goes abroad. She enjoys traveling in her own region, and taking trips to other regions, especially Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi. Everything changes in winter— in January, Yana prefers going abroad than to another Russian region. She mainly organizes trips within Russia on her own, but can sometimes consult a travel agency.
When planning trips independently, Yana usually already has an idea of where she wants to go, but might consider 2-3 options in some cases (like 36% of respondents). To dispel Yana's doubts about where to go on holiday, advertisers should make an impression on users like her with eye-catching, memorable video ads.
She doesn't stop to think about where to say if, for example, she visits a city where she can stay with friends. Some of the criteria that matter to her when making a choice are tourist sights, climate, prices, her friends' recommendation and the possibility to get around in her own car.
Yana reaches out to travel agencies quite often when she needs to organize a trip abroad. Discounts, recommendations from friends and online reviews can sway her in favor of a specific travel agency. Of course, it's important that there be tours available on her selected dates. The popularity of the travel agent's brand is also important for Yana, as well-known brands instill confidence.
Most often she begins looking for tours about six months in advance, but her search reaches peak activity roughly once month before her holiday.
Choosing a hotel or flights takes an average of 23 days
Once Yana makes a final decision about where to spend her vacation, it's time to think about how to get there and where to stay. Yana doesn't have a set rule about whether to book tickets or a hotel first — this can vary from trip to trip.
If you look at the time spent searching, you can see that Yana spend the most time looking at hotels and plane tickets: an average of 23 days. Tours and train tickets take one day less to make a decision. Yana's overall search for everything invovled in her trip takes an average of 30 days.
When traveling within Russia, Yana drives her own car — she values the convenience and flexibility this offers her and her family. When travelling abroad, Yana prefers to fly — it's the speed that convinces her.
Yana also travels by train around Russia (the survey showed that 37% of respondents traveled within Russia by train, and 34% drove their own car).
When Yana chooses a hotel, she pays attention to the cost, proximity of the beach and tourist sights, reviews and then looks at the number of stars and options like "all-inclusive." She often looks at hotels on several sites and considers different types of accommodation at the same time.
What to take with you and what to leave behind
Yana's luggage includes the things you'd expect: suitcase, sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, swimsuit and beach accessories. Demand for these products, perhaps unsurprisingly, is markedly seasonal. Searches for these products start in March and continue throughout the summer. One service that also hits its peak in summer that may not have come to mind relates to Yana's dog: who can she leave her dear pup with while she's working on her tan? Search queries for pet hotels top out in July.
Yana starts looking for gear for her winter holiday well in advance, starting in September.
Familiarity with users' behavior and habits is one of the keys to fine-tuning your campaigns.