The Q2 Travel Recovery Trend Report offered some powerful insights on the gradual rebuilding of the travel industry on a global scale, and we’ve since looked more in depth at those same trends for the North American market. Here we dig into the data specific to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). How do the trends look across the region and some of its key markets?
More searches, shorter windows
At a global level, we saw a clear growth in the volume of travel searches made in Q2 versus Q1, with that number up just over 70%. In the EMEA region this increase was even more pronounced – up over 120% from the previous quarter.
In terms of search window, the picture was slightly different in EMEA compared to the global trend. Whereas elsewhere there was a move from searching for last-minute travel to something in the medium term, in EMEA the proportion of demand for short-term travel remained static from Q1 to Q2: 45% of searches were for fewer than 21 days in advance. Where there was some change in the EMEA market was a reduction in long-term travel planning (more than 3 months in advance) in favor of searching in the medium term. The 31- to 90-day search window accounted for 10% of search volumes in Q1 and rose to 20% in Q2.
All of this would suggest that the advanced vaccination program—in western and central Europe, plus Israel, in particular—was giving consumers the confidence to search, book, and travel during the traditional summer high season. In fact, half of all searches made by EMEA customers in Q2 were for stays starting in the peak summer months of June and July.
International travel returns
When we look at the traveler outlook there’s a lot of similarity between some of EMEA’s top markets. According to the Traveler Value Index survey, around three quarters of people in each of France, Germany, and the UK anticipated traveling in the next 12 months – a trend very much in line with the global feeling. Of those, more French and British travelers (44% and 42% respectively) were likely to stay in their own countries than Germans (34%). That said, consumers in all three European markets were more likely than North Americans to travel internationally – although in this regard geography and long-term habits are likely as important a factor as the effects of the pandemic.
The similarity between French, German, and British travelers extends to their most important considerations when booking. Consumers in all three markets rated the ability to get a refund and cleanliness as their top two priorities when booking a hotel. Beyond those, French consumers were more concerned with pricing and deals, whereas German and British shoppers valued flexible booking policies more highly.
Sustainability affects booking decisions, but with national variation
Where there was some divergence in the viewpoints of travelers in the three European markets it was towards the topic of sustainability. Like their American counterparts, around 60% of German and British travelers were willing to pay more to ensure their travel choices were sustainable. French consumers, however, were more in line with Canadians, in that only half would consider paying more.
Beach boom impacted by travel restrictions
When it comes to locations preferred by EMEA shoppers, Q2 actually saw a shift towards beach destinations and away from cities – bucking the global trend. A number of major cities which had been in the Top 10 for search volumes in Q1 dropped out of the same chart for Q2, to be replaced most noticeably by several Turkish beach spots (Antalya, Bodrum, and Fethiye). However, that increased search volume didn’t necessarily translate to booking volumes, with none of the same Turkish destinations making the Top 10 list for booking volumes; this perhaps reflected the changeable nature of travel restrictions over the period, with searches being made in anticipation of relaxed restrictions which didn’t materialize.
Two beach locations which did enter the Top 10 chart for EMEA bookings were Palma de Mallorca and Mykonos, which demonstrates the confidence and determination of many in Europe to enjoy a regular summer vacation in a relatively controlled island setting.
To find out more about the trends covered here at the global scale, download the Q2 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report. This in-depth report is based on over 300 petabytes of first-party Expedia Group data plus the latest custom research.