The dynamics of tourism-related queries: up, down and back again
As strange as it may sound now, 2020 showed a promising start for travel-related search activity: the number of queries in Yandex increased compared to the previous year. But in March, self-isolation orders and border closures sharply reversed the trend, and the number of travel queries began to decline. In April, however, users' interest in travel stabilized, and the type of query that began (and continues) to grow is users looking for information on when it will be possible to travel. Data from Yandex.Travel shows that this new interest is not limited to seeking information — the number of hotel bookings has also been increasing.
Weekly dynamics of tourism-related queries Yandex research "Tourism in 2020," Russia. May 2020. Queries from all devices. Weekly increases.
Over the past three years, the share of queries from mobile devices has doubled to 54%, and in Q1, requests from mobile devices continued to grow.
Changes in the share of travel-related requests from mobile devicesYandex research "Tourism in 2020", Russia. May 2020.
Mobile traffic accounted for 56% of overall traffic from Yandex.Direct in Q1. The number of clicks from mobile devices during this period increased by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2019. At the same time, CPC on mobile devices decreased by 18%.
When can we go? Where can we go?: Increase in informational queries about travel
It is near impossible to grasp just how vast the effects of stay-at-home guidelines in Russia were. Daily habits and routines were forced to change practically overnight, but strangely enough, the effects extended even onto the structure of user search queries. Previously, the largest part went to queries about hotels (36%). They were followed by plane tickets, and then tours, which together accounted for about 17-18% of queries. General queries came in fourth place, and train tickets finished off the top five.
Now we see a different picture, with hotel services remaining in first place, but with a smaller lead. Queries for general information have grown significantly, e.g. Where to go on vacation, Where to holiday with children, etc. General queries amounted to 13% in Q1 2020, but by April-May, they had already reached 22%.
Holiday package tours seem far less attractive now — they mainly involve trips to foreign countries, and the Russian borders are, by and large, closed. The share of such queries has fallen from 17% to 10%.
By the end of April, user interest in trips had stabilized, and the number of general information queries returned to levels seen at the beginning of March. Demand for travel can be seen in the rapid growth of queries about when the borders will open and when it will be possible to go on vacation: in the two months since the pandemic was announced, their number has increased 10 times — up to 200,000 weekly queries at the beginning of May.
Weekly query dynamicsYandex Research "Tourism 2020", Russia. May 2020. Queries on all devices. Growth over two months.
This data can be useful when planning communications with potential clients: you can attract users by placing ads for general queries and on travel-related sites.
User interest in non-hotel accommodation types shifted to recreation centers, apartments, houses, and cottages:
Yandex Research "Tourism 2020," Russia. May 2020. Share of user queries for non-hotel accommodation types. All devices. Changes in the share of categories for April-May 2020 relative to Q1 2020. About 13% of queries were for other non-hotel accommodation types.
Demand for rental homes increased in March, and in April-May, growth continued
Monthly dynamics of queries for rental homesYandex Research "Tourism 2020", Russia. May 2020. YoY increases. Queries from all devices.
Other accommodation types also continue to garner interest, but users enter informational queries more often. This is clearly seen in the example of health resorts:
Monthly query dynamicsYandex Research "Tourism 2020", Russia. May 2020. Queries on all devices. Growth over two months.
Domestic tourism expected to grow
Industry experts say that once restrictions are lifted, domestic destinations are likely to be the first to revive. The tourism industry has already had such an experience: according to the Federal Air Transport Agency, Russian passenger traffic continued to grow during the 2014-2015 crisis, but it took several years for international destinations to recover.
Federal Air Transport Agency (RosAviatsia). April 2020. Data on passenger turnover of Russian civil aviation (regular and irregular traffic).
This spring, we studied how people organize trips. We asked residents of major cities about trips taken the past year, and about their most recent trip in more detail. Before the borders were closed, more than half of respondents traveled both within Russia and abroad, and just over a third of respondents traveled only within Russia. On average, they traveled abroad almost twice a year, and slightly more often around Russia, for obvious reasons — no need for a visa, cheaper tickets and there’s the option to reach your destination by car.
For Russians’ preferred domestic destinations, in late April - early May, the capitals (Moscow and Saint Petersburg) and Krasnodar region led in terms of the number of hotel reservations, according to Yandex.Travel.
Our survey data shows that last year, in addition to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Krasnodar region was the leading tourist region. User search queries put at the top: Mineralnye Vody in the Caucasus, the Golden Ring, the North Caucasus, Altai, Baikal, the Curonian Spit near Kaliningrad, Karelia and other picturesque destinations.
Popularity of Russian tourist regions (excluding Moscow and Saint Petersburg) at the end of 2019Yandex Research "Tourism 2020," Russia. May 2020. YoY growth. Travel queries for 2019. All devices.
In April 2020, compared to last year, the number of tourist queries about Kamchatka (+77%), Sakhalin (+46%), the Golden ring (+36%), Yakutia (+29%) and Sayan (+25%) increased.
In April, interest in the Golden ring, Kamchatka and Sakhalin grew the mostYandex Research "Tourism 2020", Russia. May 2020. Travel-related queries in a specific region about holidays in a particular region. All devices. YoY growth.
How to prepare for the tourist season
Sooner or later, travel restrictions will be lifted. Many are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to start traveling again. As user interest begins to recover, it’s wise to take action now, using different ad tools and formats to take advantage of the opportunity to attract new audiences and react to new demand.
Also worth thinking about is what new travel products and services are likely to be in demand once the restrictions are lifted. These may be new destinations within the region, or additional services like transfers from the airport or train station.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that potential clients are likely to be interested in learning not only about your company's travel offers, but also about how travelling will be different in these new conditions. Be ready to answer your customers' questions, stay in touch with the audience and tell them how you are preparing to receive guests while also taking care of their health. We will be glad if you are able to find new solutions for your business with Yandex data.