As a data and social media enthusiast, I love looking at consumer trends. And with wedding peak season only a few months away, I thought it’d be fun to see what the most popular honeymoon destinations are for 2012.

According to Google Insights, search volume for honeymoon destination keywords like “Hawaii honeymoons” doubled in the U.S. in 2009 , but more importantly this demand has gradually increased every year since. One might argue that this seems strange given the recession that kicked off in 2008, so I decided to compare this with our own data and also asked the opinion of a contact within the wedding registry and honeymoon planning industry.

– Was the Google data a true reflection of trends in the travel industry?
– Where exactly are the top honeymoon destinations this year?
– And is the choice in honeymoon destination influenced by where you live?

Note: We looked at data (at the time of writing) provided by Google Insights and compared this with our own data — so if you have anything comparable (and accredited!) we would love it if you could share it here or via Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Most Popular Honeymoon Destinations in 2012 to Date

At the start of this year, Bora Bora topped the list for honeymooners, but as expected has since been surpassed by the Caribbean. It is worth noting that, within the Caribbean, there are literally thousands of islands, although these are made up of 25-30 nations – the most popular of which seem to be Aruba and Jamaica. Also worth noting that among the most popular ‘honeymoon destination” search terms, users were searching for “Bora Bora honeymoons” which represents a specific destination and ‘Caribbean honeymoons” which represents a region.

While Bora Bora may seem more popular when compared to individual Caribbean islands, if we were to add the search volumes for just a handful, say Jamaica, Aruba and The Bahamas we would see a completely different story.

bora bora honeymoon jamaica honeymoon aruba honeymoon bahamas honeymoon1 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and Tahiti

300px honeymoon searches by states 2012 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and Tahiti

So where are these honeymooners coming from? Well it looks like the early birds are looking to fly out of the following five states (in order of search volume).

– Illinois
– Texas
– New York
– Florida
– California

The states listed also happen to be some of the largest population states in the U.S. so the fact that they lead the list in search volumes is not statistically significant yet, although if Illinois is ahead of California – which is nearly twice its size in population, that is significant.

In 2011 it was Hawaii & Bora Bora

Bora Bora was the preferred honeymoon destination in 2011, but it was also in direct competition with Hawaii.
610px honeymoon destinations United States 2011 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and Tahiti

And, as you can see in the chart above, a great deal of honeymoon planning happens in December and January — with a second (albeit small) spike in June. This was a trend that we saw time and again — stretching back to 2004 (when data from Google Insights first became available). It makes a lot of sense. After all, one would assume that most honeymooners probably plan their honeymoon at least six months in advance.

300px honeymoon searches by states 2011 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and Tahiti

In 2011, the top five departure states were clustered in the Southeast U.S.:

– Kentucky
– Tennessee
– Louisiana
– Alabama
– Oklahoma

2010 – Tahiti, Bora Bora & The Caribbean

300px honeymoon searches by states 20101 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and TahitiThe data in 2010 showed a trend that leaned once again toward the Pacific islands. And, as in 2011, the highest volume of destination searches originated from the East Coast:

– Louisiana
– Missouri
– Illinois
– Tennessee
– North Carolina

This is a heck of a distance to travel, so what could have influenced this trend? Sharon Little of Honeymoonwishes.com, a honeymoon registry, suspects the Tahiti trend may have been influenced by a change in law (at the end of 2010) that allowed foreigners to marry there.

2009 – Hawaii & The Caribbean Islands

Of the recent years we checked, 2009 was the only one that conformed to our initial assumption: that U.S. honeymooners love Hawaii and the Caribbean. Sharon told us that the Caribbean islands are the most popular for those who want to take a group of family and friends for a destination wedding and that Hawaii tends to be for more intimate occasions.

300px honeymoon searches by state 2009 Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and TahitiAs you can see, the biggest volume of originating flights again came from the Southeast. The top five states in 2009 were:

– Ohio
– North Carolina
– Pennsylvania
– Texas
– Georgia

 

What Do Fly.com Statistics Tell Us?

Well, it seems that search volumes on Fly.com point to a slightly different trend for the honeymoon destinations identified by Google Insights.  The most popular Fly.com searches (to these destinations) had Hawaii ranking No. 1, The Caribbean (Jamaica) No. 2, Bora Bora and Tahiti Nos. 3 &  4.

honeymoon destination flight prices Top Destinations for Honeymoon Couples   The Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora and Tahiti
Tahiti and Bora Bora both are linked by the same major international airport, so those numbers had to be combined. As you can see, it’s a pretty small number of searches so if it’s exclusivity you’re after, then you’ll find fewer people here. Travelers tend to fly into a major city in the area, then take charter flights from there to the islands.

Of course, what we can’t see on our system is the reason why people are traveling to these destinations — i.e. we don’t know whether they are traveling for honeymoons, family vacations or something else. All we can tell you is how much flights to each of these destinations will likely cost — just in case our photos tempted you!

And remember to check back in with us, as we will be featuring all of these destinations in future posts. You can subscribe to our RSS or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to get the latest from the Fly.com blog.

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A native of Zimbabwe, Ralph has lived on three continents and traveled to 20+ countries. He currently resides in California and oversees various social media and content initiatives for Fly.com.

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