Search query analysis reveals: destinations face completely different competition structures

Hurghada, Egypt, is by far the most searched beach destination on German travel websites. Hurghada ranked in total searches above Dubai, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, and Side in the first quarter of 2017 as users browsed destinations for their next vacation. This is the result of the latest analysis by travel audience, analysing all of the search queries on their Premium Publisher Network. The network comprises more than 500 websites, including HolidayCheck, TravelScout24,,,, and, among others. travel audience uses these searches to display targeted native advertising on the various sites.

Destinations face very different structures of competition, as is clear from the top five most searched destinations. For some destination areas, the main competitors are located in the same country. Online users who searched for Hurghada were also interested in El Gouna, Sharm El-Sheikh, Safaga, Marsa Alam (all Egypt) and Alanya (Turkey). A similar pattern is seen for Side in Turkey and the Spanish city of Barcelona.

However, those searching for Dubai have a wider geographical area in mind: apart from the neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi, the destination’s competitors in the first quarter were Colombo (Sri Lanka), Agadir (Morocco), Larnaca (Cyprus), and Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt). During the same period, users interested in Palma de Mallorca also searched for destinations throughout the Mediterranean region, such as Heraklion (Crete, Greece), Malaga (Spain), Larnaca (Cyprus), Split (Croatia), and Funchal (Madeira, Portugal).

Compared with the first quarter of 2016, the five most searched beach destinations were almost the same – but appeared in a different order: a year ago, Palma de Mallorca was in first place, followed by Side, Hurghada, Barcelona, and Antalya. This year, Hurghada took the top spot, demonstrating the highest growth rate of 3.84%, with other destinations in Egypt also experiencing impressive growth: 1.74% for Sharm El-Sheikh, 1.57% for Safaga, and 1.53% for Marsa Alam. Dubai grew by 2.83%, jumping no fewer than four positions to take second place. This growth in interest among online vacation hunters in the first quarter of 2017 came at the expense of the main destinations in Spain and Turkey: Palma de Mallorca saw 3.54% less interest, Side fell by 2.49%, and Antalya received 1.66% fewer search queries.

“It’s always important for travel marketeers to know who they’re competing with, so that they can get the users’ attention during the inspiration phase. Specifically, this allows them to tailor their own offers to the competitive situation and thus boost the chances of conversion. Our platform and the connected marketing channels allow target groups to be addressed selectively,” says Marzena Pallazzo, Senior Sales Manager DMO at travel audience. “Just by looking at the five most searched destinations on travel sites in the first quarter of 2017, you can see how differently users direct their interest. Our business intelligence team compiles individual competition analyses for each customer, and our campaign team can enrich each online advertising campaign with appropriate alternative destinations to make them even more successful.”


travel audience collects the aggregated search queries from its Premium Publisher Network, containing more than 500 partner websites. The figures do not reflect actual bookings, but the users‘ interest during the inspiration phase. For each of the anonymously recorded users, travel audience also registers which additional search requests are entered into the partner network over 30 days. This way it is possible to determine, which destinations compete with each other during the inspiration phase.