Bing drove nearly 5 million visits to travel sites in September 2017, according to data from Hitwise released Tuesday.
Understanding where people begin their search before reaching a travel site can help brands capture market share earlier.
On mobile, consumers typically start with a new session by typing in a direct URL or search through Google, but travelers also are going to Facebook, Trip Advisor, Trivago, Expedia -- and yes, even Bing. But on desktop those searches begin on Google, Gmail, Facebook, and YouTube.
Hitwise tracked the fastest-growing searches driving traffic to the travel-related sites this summer. The data shows how Hurricane Harvey and Irma influenced behavior, as mobile searches for keywords like "Houston" and the traffic site "transtar" played out.
Mobile searches for "transtar" grew 402%; followed by "MTA bus" at 232%; "Southwest flight status," 224%; "google street view," 223%; and "houston transtar" at 217% were the top five in terms of sequential growth.
Interestingly, searches for "Delta flight status" rose on mobile at 207% and desktop at 273%.
Desktop searches for maps of Guam, Florida, and Texas grew between the second and third quarter, to 574%, 155%, and 139%, respectively. Flight status checks and alternate travel options such as buses, trains and truck rental also grew.
Popular unbranded searches at the end of summer continue to see residual effects of this year's hurricanes. Travel and safety maps, and mobile optimized flight status checks all rose in searches even after the storms passed.
During the four weeks ending Sept. 23, 2017, Hitwise tracked 68,172 mobile searches for "maps" at an organic click rate of 99.86%. "Flights" followed with 41,050 unique users at an organic click rate of 95.63%, while "hotels near me" racked up 47,371 unique users at a 90.47% organic click rate.
"Near me" searches remained key for driving mobile traffic to travel websites. There were four out of 10 "near me" searches during the four weeks, from "mobile near me" to "hotels near me" to "restaurants near me."
Data was pulled using Hitwise AudienceView. App data, audience insights, unbranded searches and clickstream data were pulled during the four weeks ending September 23, 2017. Rapidly rising terms were measured for the 12 weeks ending June 24, 2017 and the 12 weeks ending September 23, 2017.