I was curious about the relative popularity of various credit cards, but since banks don’t like to give out details on the performance of individual products, it’s not easy to tell how any given product is doing. There are some ways around this issue, though. One way is to pay ridiculous amounts of money to a market research company that specializes in this industry. Another way, which is not as good but which has the virtue of being free, is to use Google Trends.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Google Trends tells how popular a given search term is relative to total search traffic. Let’s take a look at some major hotel credit cards and see how things shake out, shall we? The search terms I entered were ‘marriott credit card’, ‘starwood credit card’, ‘hilton credit card’, ‘ihg credit card’, and ‘hyatt credit card’. I also tried ‘club carlson credit card’, but it was smaller than all the others and you’re limited to five entries on Trends.
Here’s what I got:
- Were there no hotel cards back in 2005? The credit card landscape was much different back then, but I have no idea what there was back then in the way of hotel cards. (On a related note, did you know Capital One launched a professional wrestling themed credit card in the late 90s?)
- Amex’s credit card unit has been stumbling lately, and this graph exemplifies that trend as the Starwood card is currently bringing up the rear.
- I’m thinking IHG may be low because it’s a new product and because I’m not sure how ingrained the IHG brand is in the public consciousness as compared to, say, Hilton or Marriott.
- It looks like people are more interested in Marriott credit cards than Hilton credit cards even though Hilton is about the same size. Why is that?