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Travel sites not catering to international users: Report

09/11/2008| 10:55:17 AM| 中文

09 September, 2008, LONDON - Travel sites do not cater to their international users. This was the finding of the www.obanmultilingual.com short documentary on international travel search behaviour.

09 September, 2008, LONDON - Travel sites do not cater to their international users. This was the finding of the www.obanmultilingual.com short documentary on international travel search behaviour.

In making the video, the Oban team travelled to London where they interviewed visitors from more than 40 countries. The interviewees were asked how they used the Internet to research their trip to London.

Oban, a multilingual search engine optimisation company, was surprised by their findings.

Greig Holbrook, Oban’s managing director, said, “What we expected was that the travellers would say that they search in their native language. But instead, most of them admitted they were forced to search in English, since the travel sites often do not give them a multilingual option.”

Nearly all the people Oban interviewed said they would prefer to search in their own language, said Holbrook.

Though some of the major travel search engines do have limited multilingual options, the consensus among the interviewees seemed to be that in general, this was not the case.

“This represents a missed opportunity for travel websites that could gain increased traffic by catering to these international travellers needs,” said Holbrook. He said that mere translation was not the answer. Content has to be written from scratch in the target language for proper optimisation.

To see Oban’s short video, visit
www.faceofglobalsearch.com.

Oban Multilingual and EyeforTravel recently rounded up the results from their online travel competition survey and found some interesting trends emerging in online Chinese search behaviour. ?

Results showed that Chinese Internet users don’t use Google very often. In fact, none of the Chinese respondents chose Google as their favoured travel search portal. 

Google is struggling to win over Chinese Internet users. Baidu is China’s most popular search engine. Baidu´s share of the Chinese Internet search market rose to 64.4 percent in the second quarter of 2008.

As the Internet gains popularity in?China, its online market is becoming increasingly competitive. Google can only seem to grasp about a ?quarter of this market, said Oban.

Sandra Zerr, an expert on Chinese search behaviour at
www.obanmultilingual.com, said that Chinese doesn’t work with letters but meanings.

“Knowing how to speak doesn’t ?mean knowing how to write,” she said. “And seeing something doesn’t mean you know how to pronounce it.”

Baidu, she explained, might be better than Google in ?predicting what is searched for based on symbols typed.

TAGS: Google | Baidu | search engine
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