Search Trends

Getting over the winter blues: searching for flights in January

14 Nov 2018

Winter is only just beginning, and we’re still in that ‘can’t wait to get all cosy and never go outside’ phase. But all too soon Brits will be sick to death of the site of icicles outside and roaring fires inside.

The post-Christmas winter blues are real, and reflected in peoples holiday habits. As holiday makers shop more and more online for the cheapest flights and destinations, we can form a clearer understanding of travel search trend habits.

Short haul vs. Long haul

Using Pi Market Intelligence we can compare long haul flights and short haul flights over the last 3 years:

travel blog

It seems that whether it be sun or snow people are coveting in January, they are definitely eager to get away.

However, it is also likely that the winter slump doesn’t mean people are fleeing the country in these dark months, but booking ahead for later in the year. After the excitement of Father Christmas visiting, its nice to have something to look forward to.

Who’s taking off

So who is currently getting their share of all that online traffic? Who stands to convert this holiday interest?

Short haul

travel blog (1)

Skyscanner absolutely dominate the short haul market, with the largest share for all 5 subcategories. In fact the top 15 is mostly made us of affiliate and comparative sites, but none come close to rivalling Skyscanner.

The next two sites performing are budget airlines EasyJet and RyanAir. Not a huge surprise as they offer flights to various destinations in Europe.

Long haul

travel blog (2)

Skyscanner also take the top spot for long haul flights, with more than double the share of voice than any other performer in this market.

We see more premium airlines performing higher up for longer haul flights, such as British Airways and Emirates. Again, this is not surprising, as they offer flights to destinations further afield than budget airlines.

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Optimise now?

Using Google Trends and searching for ‘holidays’ since 2017, we can see that there is a huge peak in January 2018 for ‘2018 holidays’.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 10.03.10

We can also see that interest in ‘2019 holidays’ took over ‘2018 holidays’ in September. This is most likely due to the school summer holidays being over and people are again wanting a vacation to look forward to.

It can be assumed that ‘2019 holidays’ will see a huge peak in January 2019, but searches are beginning to grow now. Flight sites should begin optimising for 2019 flights now in order to make the most of the coming peak in January.

Jetting into the SERPs

January is clearly the month of the year for booking holidays in the UK, whether its short haul or long haul. However, there is clearly a higher demand for short haul holidays, perhaps because they are cheaper and easier than 5 hour + flights.


All the data in this post is taken from our Market Intelligence platform; if you’d like further insights on the travel industry or want to see your market data, please get in touch for a demo.

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