Friday, August 11, 2006

Traffic to travel sites soars after alleged terror plot

Heather Hopkins at Hitwise UK writes:

Yesterday's announcement that Scotland Yard foiled a terror plot to blow up six transatlantic flights from London sent chills through the UK as the terror alert was raised to the highest level.

Flights were cancelled; security screenings tightened; and airports were in chaos.

We looked at Hitwise daily data from yesterday to see where consumers turned for information.

* Share of UK visits to BBC News were up 50% yesterday and the site became the 9th most visited internet site, up from 14th the previous day.

* The British Airport Authority (BAA) was a top destination for information, with share of UK visits to BAA's website up 8 fold (see chart below). The site became the 64th most visited website in the UK, up from 544th on Tuesday, marking the site's highest daily rank in the past 12 months by almost 300 places.

* Websites for the UK's two biggest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, also saw a dramatic surge: Gatwick Airport became the 21st most visited travel site and Heathow Airport increased more than 200 positions to rank as the 23rd most visited travel site.

* Share of visits to the aviation category were up 79%, with the websites for EasyJet, Ryanair and British Airways all experiencing a significant increase in share of UK visits (48%, 76% and 61% respectively).

* Share of visits to travel agencies were down 19% yesterday, indicating that consumers were contacting airlines directly for updates on delays and cancellations.

* UK consumers also appeared to be looking for alternative travel arrangements with share of visits to Eurostar up 56% and share of visits to Direct Ferries up 38%.

* Share of visits to news sites were almost on a par with July 7th last year, the day of the London bombings, accounting for 5.26% of all UK internet visits and up 18% from the previous day. The news sites for the BBC, Yahoo!, Google, MSN and Sky were all up yesterday.

* With the terror alert elevated to "critical" the websites for MI5 and the Home Office were also popular sources for updates yesterday. MI5's website leapt in the daily rankings from 254 to 9th among Government sites and the Home Office site jumped from 75th to 10th. Visits to MI5's website rose 18 fold and visits to the Home Office website rose 6 fold.

Heather Hopkins, vice president for research at Hitwise UK

Read more from Heather on her Hitwise Blog


Select World Travel said...

We Were also quick off the mark on and straight into the office at 07.30 to sort out our bookings and informing our customers, all though it was my day off.
Then had a Radio Interview to do with BBC Hereford and Worcester, so kept busy till 11.00.
We then travelled to The Belfry for a Presentation with The Royal Plantation Inn, part of Sandals which was scheduled for 14.00. We thought it would be ideal to drop off My Daughter and a friend at Drayton Manor Theme Park, which is only 5 Minutes away from the Belfry ( Famous for it’s Golf and a Ryder cup Venue).
We had just ordered Lunch when we got a phone call to say that Tapestry Holidays had Ceased Trading. All We needed with the breaking news of yesterday
Tapestry was one of outr best selling tour operators and we have many people away as well as lots going out in the near future.
We Quickly phoned and picked up the Kids, who had only managed 1 Ride. A 45 Minute Queue for 1 Ride and at £20 each a ticket, was an extremely expensive waste.
We Raced back down the M5 ( Hope no speeding tickets imminent) and sorted out those files of people booked with Tapestry.
The Good thing about booking with a Travel Agent is that in circumstances like this, they have full protection and Those in resort still get to finish their holiday and ATOL covers their flight home. For those due to travel, we spent till 20.30 last night finding replacement holidays ( A Bloody Long day Yesterday) These Clients will also get a full refund under the ATOL Bonding for their Tapestry Holiday.
Our Clients have been very understanding and appreciate the extra time we have spent in looking after them.
We have also helped a few people who booked dirct with Tapestry who found our Blog site because of a feature we did on the Asfiya Hotel recently, and funny enough we have had a few Travel Agencies phone us, thinking we had taken over the Hotel!!

So Our award winning blog is going from strength to strength, without optimisation, just putting into the site articles of information that are hopefully of use and informative.

Am on holiday myself on Friday 18th August to Mauritius, so I hope the airports are sorted a little more, and just one other Thing, you can never find a Clear Plastic Bag anywhere, when you most need one

pete said...

The security threat proved once again that the majority of airlines and airports are still too slow to update their websites with the news traveller's are desperate for.

Only BA had the latest updates with other carriers like bmi taking hours to respond. The BAA site carried no information at all until the site crashed and the temporary homepage was added.

At the td travel group site, we saw our visitor numbers jump by over 300% on the Thursday. The site was updated constantly throughout the period and emails updates where sent out keeping our clients up to date with preceedings.