Orbitz, Expedia Tops for Travel Search, SEMPhonic Says

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Orbitz, Expedia and CheapTickets were ranked the top Web sites for search marketing, particularly paid search, in research released yesterday.


Web analytics firm SEMPhonic, Novato, CA, found that the travel aggregators rank much higher in organic and paid search marketing than the airlines' Web sites.


"When your business model is Internet-based, you tend to be more sophisticated [with search marketing]," said SEMPhonic CEO Gary Angel.


The travel aggregators also have an "inherent advantage" with many travel terms because "their breadth of service makes it more efficient to get in on more generic terms," he said.


Using its MarketScan analytic tool, SEMPhonic evaluated how the travel Web sites fare for both organic and paid search on more than 1,200 keyword search terms, including "online air travel," "travel planning" and geographic terms such as "fly to Chicago."


Orbitz was the overall top search marketer, for both organic and paid search, while Expedia had the highest rating of all the sites for paid search ranking and Travelocity had the highest rating for organic search rankings.


Airline Web sites fared much lower, with Continental sixth, Northwest 12th and American Airlines 13th.


Angel was surprised at the low ranking for Southwest Airlines (11th), which does not sell tickets through the travel aggregators because the airline has "every incentive to bring people to their Web site."


"It hasn't been as much a part of their business model," he said.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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