Ho ho ho-liday traffic!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Grab an egg nog and let’s talk data! I promise, it’s more fun than it sounds.

The Charleston Area CVB launched a website devoted to Christmas about 3 years ago. In the last few years, we’ve gathered some data that’s useful for studying trip planning behavior around the holiday season. Here are some helpful tips for travel or destination marketers.

tasty eggnog and data

When does Christmas interest really begin?
In short, interest in Christmas really takes off in November, but October is also a turning point as well. Generally speaking, the site holiday traffic typically increases 2x in October compared to September, and then is 4x of October in November (or 8x roughly of September).

Which week does interest peak?
Over the last 3 years, the interest has been at its absolute highest the first week of December, followed closely by the 2nd week of December, and the week after Thanksgiving.

Our biggest source of traffic is organic search in each week. Interestingly, we see the most popular queries change each month. If you ignore “charleston,” “sc,” and “christmas” as queries, the 3 highest trafficked queries in November in order are:

  1. events
  2. parade
  3. holiday

This shifts in December and the order of popularity is

  1. parade
  2. events
  3. lights (replaced “holiday” by a wide margin).

In short, keywords about things to do around Christmas time are our biggest traffic driver.











When does interest end?
Interest falls faster than a snowball once December ends, with traffic dropping in January to less than 5% of what it was in December. That being said, don’t ignore the 6 days right after Christmas, Dec 26-31. Traffic still sticks up at about 50% of pre-Christmas level until New Years Eve, mostly with searchers looking for lights or things to do on New Years Eve.

Mobile users vs non mobile, are they growing and how are they different?
Our mobile traffic in 2011 represented 16% of all traffic. This holiday season it has represented 54% of all traffic!!!!

When evaluating where the traffic comes from, we can see that 49% desktop traffic is from South Carolina, with all other states at less than 10%. But, when we look at mobile traffic South Carolina is 41% of traffic, but North Carolina (23%) and Georgia (13%) make up a large portion of the traffic. This traffic could be en route to Charleston, and looking for things to do in town. In fact, the closer the week is to Christmas, the larger percentage of traffic is from North Carolina and Georgia, indicating these as large potential feeder markets for our destination around the holidays.

Hope this data was of some value to you. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!