Small Travel Companies Hold Their Own in a Diffuse Digital Market

conductor logoThe travel industry is a competitive playing field and a massive part of the global economy, and nowhere is that clearer than in the digital market. Finding the perfect destination or the best airline deals are thoroughly researched, and customers are increasingly using Google to find the answers and make educated purchase decisions. Although there is no shortage of competition, a recent report by Conductor shows that there is still room for companies to find their niche with focus and innovation, while capturing significant portions of the market in the process.

The 2019 report, Mile-High Travel Marketing: Tracking the Customer Journey for Business and Leisure Travel analyzed 1,500 keywords to find the top-ranking domains for travel customers at every stage of their journey—from the first adventurous impulse to booking the flight.

Conductor broke down the travel market into two categories: business and leisure. But for the industry as a whole, the greatest takeaway is just how much space is still available and open to claim. In the larger field of vacation travel, the greatest share of the market claimed by any one company was only 8 percent, by travel giant Expedia, and only ten companies exceeded 3 percent. For the business travel category, there is even more open space to win, with only four players (Indeed, YouTube, Glassdoor, and Expedia) reaching a 4 percent share, and smaller companies making up a whopping 69 percent of the top searches.

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One strategy that many of the top-performing companies had in common was specialization. Companies that keep their content specific—whether it is a long form or short and snappy—can capture significant subsets of the travel market as opposed to battling it out with other competitors for more broad search terms.

The Mile-High Travel Marketing report highlights Family Vacation Critic, a TripAdvisor company that broke into the top results for most family modified searches by focusing specifically on vacation ideas, destinations, and accommodations that are good for families and kids. Keeping that focus allowed the Family Vacation critic to catch customer attention at every stage of the planning and purchase phase.

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Even for the biggest online travel agencies, getting specific can be an advantage. The report describes how Expedia breaks into search results by creating dedicated landing pages that target customers searching for flights to and from particular cities. That held true for smaller companies and independently run blogs as well. On the business travel side of the market, Expert Vagabond finds its audience by focusing on people who want to travel for work with long-form content that ranks for lots of different keywords. Knowing your audience is key to reaching more potential customers across every stage of researching and booking a trip.

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