STRONG performance by city destinations, increased demand for travel during the upcoming holiday season, growing momentum for business travel – some of the trends unveiled in Expedia Group Media Solutions Q3 travel recovery trend report.
The report, combining Expedia Group first-party data and custom research with actionable insights, aims “to help travel marketers on their continued road to recovery,” said the company in a statement.
Media Solutions global vice president Jennifer Andre noted that despite the travel industry experiencing “ups and downs” there are positive trends and progress on the recovery journey
“The rise in business travel
demand and double-digit year-over-year increases in holiday season travel
searches are just two of the trends that signal growing traveller confidence
and industry improvements. These insights, along with others in the Travel
Recovery Trend Report, will help travel brands on their path to rebuilding.”
Some key findings from the report
Consistent global search volume
Following a strong Q2 global search volumes remained consistent during Q3, with nominal change quarter-over-quarter.
EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and LATAM (Latin America) saw the strongest quarter-over-quarter change from Q2, with increases of 50% and 10% respectively. APAC (Asia Pacific) and NORAM (North America) had modest decreases, attributed to travel restrictions and the rise of the Delta variant in July and August. However, searches globally began to rise again in September, and Q3 2021 delivered triple-digit growth year-over-year when compared to Q3 2020 global search volumes.
The week of September 13 saw
the largest increase in week-over-week global searches – up more than 5% – following
border reopening announcements and easing of travel restrictions across several
regions. In APAC, the reopening of Singapore and Australia’s trial vaccine
passport programme with select countries resulted in a 10% increase in searches
during the same week.
During the week of September 20 searches from EMEA to the US increased 95% week-over-week after the White House announced the lifting of travel restrictions on international visitors who are vaccinated.
Shorter search windows
In Q3 nearly 70% of global searches fell within the 0- to 30-day search window, a 15% increase quarter-over-quarter. Global searches in the 31- to 90-day search window dropped slightly from 25% in Q2 to 20% in Q3.
EMEA saw the largest lift for the 0- to 30-day search window, up more than 30% quarter-over-quarter. NORAM and APAC were largely flat for the same search window quarter-over-quarter.
“This shift in search windows indicates travellers are reverting to planning trips for the near future, compared to the lengthening search windows reported in Q2 2021,” stated the report.”
Rapid growth in search volumes for cities
Globally, Q3 saw a lot of
movement in the top 10 booked destinations compared to Q2, with more
international destinations making up the top 10 list in each region of the
New York topped the list for both
global bookings and NORAM bookings, and was also a top 10 destination in APAC,
EMEA and LATAM.
Other new destinations
include Boston and Denver for NORAM travellers; New York, Sapporo and London
for APAC bookers; Berlin and Edinburgh for those in EMEA; and Sao Paulo, Paris
and Los Angeles for customers in LATAM.
At the regional level, while most of the top 10 booked destinations were for destinations within the same region, APAC and LATAM each had top destinations spanning three different regions.
Cities such as Dubai, Paris, London and Istanbul moved up the rankings quickly and entered the top 10 for September bookings. Dubai had a particularly strong showing, jumping from the 33rd position in July to 10th in September. Paris moved from 22nd to 5th during the same time period.
Significant increase in searches for holiday season
Travellers are eager to make up for the time lost with family and friends during the 2020 holiday season (Thanksgiving in the US, Christmas and New Year) are planning early to make the most of the 2021 holidays. Compared to the same period in 2020, Q3 searches for trips starting in November and December saw triple-digit growth with NORAM and EMEA leading the surge, while LATAM saw double-digit growth.
In line with the search trends Q3, room night demand for trips in November and December also saw triple-digit growth across most regions. The global average daily rate (ADR) increased by approximately 25% on average year-over-year.
Demand for Vrbo vacation rentals
in December 2021 is up more than 15% from 2019, with many travellers planning
their holiday trips even earlier than in prior years. Travellers are also
booking longer stays this holiday season – nearly half of Vrbo bookings in
December are for at least seven nights.
“This data further illustrates travellers’ desire to escape their surroundings and spend extended time away with family and friends, resulting in a timely opportunity for lodging providers to drive demand this holiday season,” the report stated.
Rising demand for business travel
With business returning to normal in some parts of the world, including an increase in the number of employees returning to the office and in-person events, business travel is starting to take off. Egencia data shows that globally business travel demand in Q3 was up more than 40% quarter-over-quarter, and up more than 110% compared to Q3 2020.
During Q3 Paris, Chicago, London and New York were the top booked destinations for business travellers globally.
In NORAM Q3 business travel demand was up more than 40% compared to Q2, and up 200% year-over-year. EMEA business travel demand in Q3 was up 50% quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. In APAC business travel demand was up nearly 50% year-over-year.
Download: Q3 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report.
• Featured image credit: Kerkez/Getty Images