Although it may be difficult to forecast what kind of weather European holidaymakers will be enjoying this summer, at least we can safely predict travel trends over the next few months for both consumer and business travellers, thanks to analysis from Adobe Digital Insights.
The new report, titled “Travel Trends Report 2017: Europe,” reveals that although European online summer travel growth has slowed to 5.3% (51% slower than last year’s growth), it will still bring in €19.3 billion for airline ticketing and hotels, with a total online spend expected to be €69.89 billion for 2017. This growth is almost parallel with how the U.S. summer travel market has slowed down to 5.1% (-66% YOY).
As for the U.K, despite major upheaval over Brexit, you may be surprised to learn the short-term impact that leaving the E.U. had for U.K. travellers, post-referendum. They’re still travelling! In fact, during Q1 2017, flight bookings showed a strong 14% year-over-year growth for the U.K. There may have been a softening in online bookings during the couple of months post-referendum, but they soon rebounded and are now back on track.
But what of European travellers who are flying beyond the continental boundary to the U.S? Well, sadly, it’s now more expensive to fly to the U.S. than it was in 2016. Airline prices have increased 9.7% YOY, thanks in part to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar by 6.79%, which weakens the euro’s position. U.S. hotel prices are increasing too, with a rise of 3.7% between March 2016 and March 2017.
And, naturally, where a slowdown in air travel and hotel stays occurs, there’s a knock-on effect for car rentals. Online car rentals have decreased by 14% YOY in Q1 2017. However, it’s not just an overall lack of flyers arriving in destinations in need of a car that’s affecting the rental industry—as you may have guessed, companies such as Uber and Lyft have helped the disruption. ADI looked at social mentions for Uber from March 2016 to December 2016, and as Uber’s social mentions climbed to 6 million, online car rentals declined by 28%. In fact, online car reservations drop by 2% for every 10% increase in Uber social mentions.
Where there’s a slowdown in growth across airlines, hotel bookings, and car rentals, there’s another area in the travel universe taking advantage of more economically minded travellers—the cruise industry. Visits to online cruise sites have almost doubled in the last three years, with a 32% YOY growth in 2017, so far. This increasing desire for convenience is understandable, particularly as it’s now more expensive to fly and stay somewhere. The knock-on effect is also reflected on the stock market, with the average stock price of major cruise lines having increased by over 13% since the beginning of 2017.
Cruises are also successfully taking advantage of the latest in tech trends. Princess Cruises introduced a “cruise planner meets concierge” wearable called the Ocean Medallion in January 2017. Thanks to this tech, wearable social mentions have increased by 44% YOY and demonstrated how consumers are willing to interact with new technology.
This isn’t the only travel technology on the rise. Social mentions for augmented/virtual reality tech in relation to travel have increased 13% YOY (Q1 2017). This is partly fuelled by eight major hotel chains having experimented with providing a VR experience within the last six months. What better way is there to ensure you’re investing your money in the best possible holiday then virtually experiencing it beforehand?
But if paying for expensive flights, jumping aboard a cruise liner, or sitting at home with a virtual reality headset isn’t for you, where else should you spend your precious vacation time?
The United Nations declared 2017 as the “Year of Sustainable Travel,” and social mentions on sustainable travel spiked by 46% in January 2017. If you’re interested in a spot of ecotourism, May, August, and September are the most popular months. For European travellers, the top ecotourism destinations are Iceland, Norway, and Kenya. If you’re travelling solo, you don’t have to be lonely—ADI has found that social media helps keep solo travellers connected, with two out of three travel mentions (out of 14 million mentions every month) relating to solo travel.
And if you’re in the business of taking travel inspiration from social media, the most popular mentions for U.K. travellers are staying in the United Kingdom, or taking a trip to Italy or France. Germans love a staycation too, with the three most popular social mentions for destinations being … yes … Germany, Italy, and France.
Finally, here’s some practical advice from ADI for when European travellers should book their flights and hotels to get the best value. Flights should be booked 36 days in advance, and hotels should be booked a little closer to arrival—29 days in advance. However, there is a scarcity issue with hotels, so it may be worth looking into cancellation policies for your chosen hotel. You could book earlier, then if the cancellation policy is lenient, cancel and rebook if the price comes down closer to arrival.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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