|by Laura Michonski||Airlines, Before the Trip, Helpful Websites||0|
Studies show that travelers visit an average of 12 websites before booking a trip. Part of our job is to introduce you to new and interesting sites that can help make trip planning easier. But what are the travel sites that rank the highest?
Curiosity got the better of me so I turned to Experian Hitwise, which lists the most visited websites by category. While they do update the list every month, it doesn't appear that the list changes much over time.
What came up in the travel category was interesting. Some of the big players you'd expect to find were there (Expedia, for example). I certainly was surprised, however, to see a single airline (Southwest) creep into the top five.
Here's the list:
1. Google Maps: 169 billion visits per month
I'm not surprised in the least that Google Maps made the list. I personally don't ever book a hotel without Google Maps open in a tab on my browser so that I can see just how far my hotel is from the places I want to visit.
2. MapQuest: 88.6 billion visits per month
MapQuest can't even begin to approach the popularity of Google Maps, but it's holding steady as the number two maps provider.
3. Expedia: 36.3 billion visits per month
The world's largest online travel agent is the only dedicated booking engine that made it into the top five.
4. TripAdvisor: 36.2 billion visits per month
Say what you will about TripAdvisor and the danger of false reviews—it's still one of the most popular destinations for travelers looking to plan a trip.
5. Southwest Airlines: 33.3 billion visits per month
The only airline to make it in the top five is Southwest, one of the few budget airlines left in the business.
Now that we know which sites everyone is using to book a trip, I'd like to know which sites you use—and in what order you use them?