Socialising and travel search trends: Google data analysts reveal all
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Socialising and travel search trends: Google data analysts reveal allAugust 2022
As Google Search trends across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa show, many people are exploring ways to socialise and travel again. Search interest for “bottomless brunch” has grown in the U.K. by more than 10X year over year, and search interest for “packages including flights” has grown in South Africa by 12X year over year. Join the Insights Jam team, along with special guest Debadeep Bandyopadhyay, as they explore what these trends can mean for you and your brand.
Ashley Wells: Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining today’s Insights Jam. We’ll be exploring Google Search trends specific to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, also known as EMEA. My fellow consumer insights manager Samantha and I are going to react to what we hear and make some global connections.
The Insights Jam team today includes Samantha Gelinas, consumer insights manager, and me, Ashley Wells, consumer insights manager. We’ve also got a special guest from EMEA: Debadeep, Google research analyst.
All right, let’s get started. 2022 Google Search trends from across EMEA showed a rise in people feeling ready to socialize and travel again. Let’s see what Deb has to say about it.
Debadeep Bandyopadhyay: My name is Debadeep Bandyopadhyay. I’m a research analyst with Google Market Insights, London. We’re going to be discussing the rise in search interest for travel going out across Europe, Middle East, and Africa. But we are absolutely aware that there are some parts of Europe which are currently under duress, and these insights might not be relevant for them.
Debadeep: Specific trends that stand out to me, that people are ready to socialize again, is the fact that there has been an increase in search interest in categories like apparel, going out with friends, or getting back to work, and even celebrating the special milestone. So I think the main insight that we can draw from these search trends are that consumers are unpausing some of those activities which need optimism, that things are going to remain the same for the foreseeable future, things like going back to work.
So we saw, for example, searches containing “smart casuals” have gone over about 90% in the U.K. We saw searches containing “formal shoes for men” have gone over 50% in South Africa, clearly showing that people are starting to dress up for work again.
Samantha Gelinas: On the flip side, we’re still seeing searches for things like remote jobs. So as much as there is a certain group of people that are ready to get back and are planning their way back into the office, there are also a group of people that are hesitant to go back. And so it’ll be really interesting to see how this return to office, and this hybrid work or remote work kind of shakes out in the next year or two and where we ultimately land.
Debadeep: I think one of the main insights that we saw was around weddings, which is very intriguing, very interesting to me, because a lot of consumers had paused their lives when, you know, when we were under restrictions and when we were under lockdown. So we were waiting to get back to it. But weddings getting back is a true sign of normalcy reverting.
Why? Because a lot of things goes behind a wedding. In fact, I’m going to try some French here. There’s the term “tenue outfits,” which is marriage outfits in France, has gone up by over 50%. Terms like “bachelor parties” have gone over 90% in Germany as well, clearly indicating that there is going to be a wedding boom in 2022, which is supported by a lot of third-party research, as well.
Samantha: Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of growth around weddings and wedding planning on our end as well, not just in the traditional Google Search way, but also through Images and Google Maps. It’s not just about the actual wedding, but what guests are buying for apparel and gifts and just such a massive opportunity. And people are really looking to make up for those postponements and those cancellations, and really celebrate together.
Debadeep: Smaller gatherings are also trending during this period of time. The search terms containing “pubs near me” have gone up over 900%. My favorite: “dog friendly restaurants” are back again with searches going up over 50% in the U.K. “Party room rentals” have gone up over 50% in Spain, clearly indicating that gatherings are making a comeback.
Ashley: Wow. Yeah. I mean, my first reaction, first of all, just for pubs being 900% in the U.K. I mean, you know, that’s…that’s huge growth. And I think it really does start to show that consumers are kind of building up to just get back to regular moments that they share with friends and family, things that don’t necessarily require a moment to celebrate, but just appreciating the moments to get together and gather with friends and again, you know, be social.
Debadeep: One of the things that marketers can do to tap into this increase in search interest is to understand what are people exploring online. Because during the pandemic, when people were restricted in the confines of their home, people got into the habit of exploring. So asking more questions, using more modifiers in their searches. But now that they’re going back, that behavior has sustained. Foot traffic across retail and restaurants are increasing, but there is a sense of exploring online before doing that.
Ashley: We’ve started to see things like “summer yellow dress for women.” So many modifiers, that makes that search trend so specific. And I think what’s important for advertisers is that they can leverage that when they go to target specific audiences, especially for certain campaigns. So if I’m a retailer and I am really pushing back-to-summer clothes and swimsuits and things like that, that level of specificity really does help me target a very specific audience for my communications.
Samantha: Yeah, building on that, something that I saw recently that really caught my eye in Google Maps searches was people using adjectives to describe a feeling or a moment that they were looking for specifically in the restaurant experience. So looking for the words like “cozy” or the words like “romantic.” So it’s just really interesting to see how people are searching.
Ashley: Along with reigniting our social lives again, people around the world are making travel plans too. Let’s get back to Deb, and hear what he has to say.
Debadeep: Search interest for travel has gone back up to pre-pandemic levels across most of the countries in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. But it is different this time, because, previously, what we saw across travel was a rise in search interest for staycations, for camping, for hiking, for “walking nearby.” But now, we are seeing that people are coming back to make up for lost time, and searches for “last minute vacations” went up by 11X in this period of time. We are seeing searches for hotels and flights go up by over 50% in the U.K. itself.
So there are different types of trips that people are planning. Now that restrictions have been lifted, people are planning their vacations of their dreams. The theme for pandemic was local staycations, but now consumers want to go big. Not only big, they want everything to be taken care of. In fact, searches containing “package including flights” went up by over 1,100% in South Africa. “All inclusive travel” has gone up in France, Spain, Germany, and Denmark.
Ashley: I actually found a weeklong, all-inclusive stay in Cancun that was just exactly the same price as going somewhere locally, say, in the state of Florida. And so I think what’s interesting about that is, again, this idea of consumers looking to Google to tell them where to go, according to their budget, and that is exactly what I did. And so it’s very easy to see how consumers are doing that and leveraging Google to actually get that information and explore ahead of time on places that they can go.
Samantha: I agree that we are seeing a shift from local travel to more international, but I think I might have a different reaction to his interpretation of this “all inclusive” piece. Just knowing that prices are increasing and inflation — I think that perhaps people might be looking for “all inclusive’’ or “flights included” to be budget friendly.
Debadeep: So one thing with traveler searches is that searches vary greatly among consumers, and they change rapidly. One thing that marketers can do is to use an automated solution so that they can react to this in real time.
Samantha: I 100% agree, automated solutions are the way to go here. The world is changing so fast. What consumers are experiencing and how the changes that they’re having to make to their lives and their spending — it’s all happening so fast. So, really, this is going to be the best solution moving forward.
Ashley: Yeah, and I think Deb talks a lot about leveraging automation for real-time monitoring and results. But I think what’s also important, and I think that we’re seeing the heightened importance of, is actually service. The digital age has really changed how we think about service. And so that experience that they have with you, digitally and online and via your omnichannel and via automated solutions, has to really ladder up to the experience that consumers expect when they actually meet you in-store.
And so, you know, even though digital is important, we want to make sure that we’re not getting lost in the sauce when it comes to executing in-person, because that in-person interaction is still king. Even though we’re seeing a lot more digital interactions with consumers these days.
Samantha: Yeah, perfectly said. Really interesting to bring up that point. I think, ultimately, it comes down to being where people are, when they’re looking for you, when they need you.
Debadeep: There are a few other things that marketers can do. When travel search interest goes up, other category search interest goes up as well. It’s not only about booking flights or hotels. It’s also about checking whether there is airport parking, whether there is luggage storage, booking restaurants, booking events. That means the search interest for other categories, when consumers act on their travel plans, are also going to increase. And that’s going to happen in the future. So marketers can kind of change their tactics, and be ready for when that increase in search interest happens.
Ashley: Yeah, I completely agree. And I think this is important because we did find in a study that we did with Ipsos, specifically for big life moments, that travel is often a catalyst or a trigger for spending in other categories. So it’s important to note that, if you’re in an industry right now that doesn’t feel like it’s necessarily rebounding as quickly from the pandemic as, say, travel would, it’s important to keep in mind that as travel continues to boom, it could have some positive implications on your industry. So keeping a pulse on that, and having a holistic view of just what’s happening across industries, is going to be important for marketers to be ready for any pivotal changes that might come up.
Debadeep: If you want to learn more about the trends that I talked about today, check out the links in the video description below.
Ashley: Thanks to Deb for the focused insights, and thanks to you, Sam, for jamming with me today.
Samantha: My pleasure. The different format was really fun, and we’re going to do it again one more time when we dive into two more trends from EMEA: well-being and finances.
Ashley: That’s right. And that’s it for this episode. You keep searching, and we’ll keep exploring what it all means. See you next time.
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