As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax at different rates across the world, we’re pleased to report that we’re seeing a wave of travel interest returning in the form of an increase in organic web traffic to many of our DMOs websites.

These increases appear to be falling in line with changes in restrictions and in the UK, are currently focused on rural and coastal destinations as people start to tentatively research their travel options. There is evidence of growth in the more urban areas too, albeit slower, as you would expect.

All Destinations

Rural Destinations

Coastal Destinations

Urban Destinations

An Increase in web traffic is the best, pure indicator of user intent and a growing interest in travel. That said, we can expect a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour with regard to travel.  DMOs that identify what people are looking for and shift their strategies accordingly to meet their visitors' changing needs will boost their performance in the recovery phase.

An insight into how the needs and behaviours of visitors may evolve as they seek to regain a sense of balance is useful.  The three changes in search which impact on web traffic are:

  • Shock – sudden changes of behaviour which are unlikely to be sustained eg. cancellation of holidays
  • Step-change – sudden changes in behaviour which may be sustained, eg. increases in searches for virtual tours
  • Speed up – a sustained acceleration of existing behaviour eg. more searches for cottages, walking routes etc.

Despite our DMOs having fewer visitors to their sites currently, Google is still reviewing and ranking them.  As visitor searches pick up it is going to be even more important that visitor sites are optimised for the three changes in visitor search behaviour described above and ready to meet their evolving needs.  

Here's some actions which you can take to attract website visitors, meet their needs and grow your traffic:

Analyse

Monitor the search terms in your Google Analytics account. Create new content where relevant.  As you would expect, the search terms that are massively up are related to accommodation and activities where it is possible to social distance e.g. camping, caravans, motorhomes, offers, last minute deals, self-catering, parks, gardens, walking so there’s never been a better time to engage with locals to ask them for their favourite walks, cycle routes etc.  

Include COVID-19 specific content

Search terms based on hygiene, outdoor dining and social distancing friendly attractions are likely to be popular during the recovery phase so including specific content on your pages and tourism products is recommended for generating traffic.  For example, if visitors want to know if self-catering properties or hotel rooms will be deep cleaned, they should be able to search for that information.  

Geo-segment your target markets

Destinations which target the domestic tourism market and focus on their local communities at the start of the recovery process may want to think about the type of content which may be appropriate.  These visitors may be looking for information on restaurant opening hours or where they can get takeaways.  Visitors who are travelling in from more than 50 miles away may be wanting to book accommodation.  Alternatively, visitors from further afield may be more cautious and may therefore still be in the research and planning phase so compelling content which talks about their safety, hygiene etc. may be more appropriate to dispel some of their concerns.  Email marketing and social media can be used to complement any SEO and content maintenance activity.

Now more than ever as DMOs configure their plans for post-COVID marketing, SEO is going to be a key tool in the marketing mix.  If you would like to find out more about how Simpleview can help, contact your Account Manager or call +44 (0)330 440 1825 (UK) or +47 23 03 97 70 (Scandinavia).

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