Search marketers know how to read between the lines connecting keywords with interests, but when it comes to specific categories, it may prove a bit more difficult to make that connection.
The top keywords in Vacation Rental searches are derivatives of "rental," "beach," "home," and "by owner," but words reflecting specific destinations and lifestyle choices provide valuable insight into the interests of individuals who are searching to book rooms.
Visitors to Vacation Rentals sites and Hotel Aggregators are more interested in Real Estate and Environment sites, whereas those visiting Direct Hotel sites index higher for Insurance, Ticketing, Grocery and Alcohol and Office Supplies.
Similar to Vacation Rentals, Aggregators see a high share of visits mentioning "home(s)" and "by owner," but their point of differentiation is the high share of vacation searches looking for "all inclusive" deals and specific locations like "Florida" and "Hawaii," according to a recent study from Hitwise, a division of Connexity.
The study analyzed search, social and email patterns for three vacation sectors including Direct Hotels, which sees more keyword searches focused on vacation "club(s)" and packages, although it should be noted that variations of the term “vacation” are not used as often when searching for direct hotels.
Those that fall under the category of Vacation Rentals see the highest share of searches mentioning “beach” and “lake” in search engine queries, and are likely to include the keywords “home” or “house, per Hitwise.
Overall, the Hitwise data shows that monthly visits to residential rental sites surged 70.3% during the last three years, whereas hotel aggregators such as Booking.com and Hotels.com fell 7.9% and direct visits to hotel sites dropped 3.6% during the same period.
Search engines still refer the most traffic to residential Vacation Rentals sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway, according to the study, but email has stepped in to become a lead-generation tool for this travel segment.
Interestingly, Vacation Rentals also see a higher proportion of their traffic come via email. It may come from sites asking visitors to email the owner for information, or it may come from potential renters emailing the property links to friends.
Either way, email now drives about 11.5% of direct traffic to Vacation Rental sites, 1.8% to Hotel Aggregators, and 3.5% to Direct Hotels.