Is the January feeding frenzy coming to an end?

Is the January feeding frenzy coming to an end?

Some interesting news from Hitwise. Part 3 of their Cyber Week 2017 report showed increased travel purchase activity during Black Friday in November.

As we all know, January has traditionally been the peak month for leisure travel sales. With the Christmas and New Year festivities out of the way, consumers get down to some serious bargain hunting and start thinking about their Summer holidays. The travel industry is happy to oblige with heavy spending on advertising and promotions driving customers to our websites, telephone lines and stores.

However, for the past couple of years the UK has imported a sales phenomenon from the USA – Black Friday. This is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It was originally called Black Friday because so many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence. The Philadelphia Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and car traffic in their downtown area.

I don’t know about you, but for much of Black Friday I am logged onto Amazon, checking out the deals and usually confirming that there is absolutely nothing I want to buy at all. I was one of 4.3 million people who searched for a Black Friday deal in November, a 3% increase on the previous year.

Interestingly, travel doubled its Black Friday search traffic compared to last year, so the question needs to be asked, “Are travel consumers’ shopping habits changing?” One of the more exciting demographic statistics is that Black Friday shoppers are becoming increasingly affluent with an 11% rise in those earning more than £75,000 and a 7% increase in those earning £50k to £75k. Definitely the travel industry’s kind of customers.

The encouraging news is that Black Friday traffic to travel websites saw a 99% increase compared to last year. The majority of increased traffic came from the London area.

Now comes the disappointing news. The top five travel product searches were:

  1. Winter Wonderland
  2. Disneyland Paris
  3. Harry Potter World
  4. English Heritage

Great for these attractions but they are not what I think of when the travel industry comes to mind. I would like to have seen holiday searches figuring in the top five, albeit Hitwise does report that visits to OTAs, hotel and airline websites did spike on Black Friday.

I find the Hitwise statistics encouraging but I am not sure that the January feeding frenzy is going to come to an end anytime soon. What do you think?

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Paul Richer is Senior Partner of Genesys, a management consultancy specialising in providing advice on technology for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Genesys has built a worldwide reputation for its knowledge and experience of new system procurement, online technology and strategies including website audits and online booking systems, reviewing and formulating companies’ IT strategies and more. Clients include many of the best known names in travel. Paul has co-authored several reports examining the impact of technology on the distribution of travel, including “Distribution Technology in the Travel Industry” originally published by Financial Times Retail and “Marketing Destinations Online – Strategies for the Information Age” published by the World Tourism Organisation. He has presented at and chaired many online travel conferences, is regularly quoted in the press and has also been invited to make several appearances on television to debate the subject. Prior to founding Genesys in 1994, Paul was Business Development Director of Finite Group plc and Head of the Group’s IT strategy consultancy. He holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, is a Fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. More information at

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