Unquestionably, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the airline and hotel industries, a fact that has been further evidenced in findings from SEMrush, a trends data analytic firm, which tracked Google search volume for the two travel segments.
The company’s industry-wide, branded airline searches found a 17 percent decline from January through February.
The hardest hit carriers were Bangkok Airways (-33 percent), China Eastern (-33 percent) and China Southern (-45 percent.)
On a brighter note, searches were expected to increase on average by 16.5 percent in March, according to SEMrush.
Meanwhile, airlines were extremely active on social media in February and March in order to conduct “damage control,” the company said.
SEMrush also conducted a Twitter sentiment analysis to gauge reaction to each global carrier. The most tweeted airlines were, respectively, Delta Air Lines, Ryanair, EasyJet, American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Qantas, Southwest Airlines and KLM.
Interestingly, the data analysis uncovered that Twitter activity was typically more positive than negative – with the exception of Alitalia. Lufthansa “had the highest amount of tweets that used a negative tone,” SEMrush said.
Qatar received the largest amount of tweets “using positive language to describe the airline,” followed by Southwest, Turkish Airlines and SAS, the company said.
On the hotel front, SEMrush data uncovered that Google search volume for major global chains dropped, on average, by four percent from January to February. The hardest chains were Raffles Hotels & Resorts (-33 percent), Choice Hotels (-19 percent); and Belmond Aman Resorts, Ritz-Carlton and Disney Resort Hotels, which were down by 18.5 percent.
“While search volumes for airlines are projected to recover in March, those for the major hotel chains are projected to decline even further in March by an industry average of 14.9 percent,” SEMrush said.
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