Across the globe, travel restrictions are falling away. Popular travel destinations that have had their travel restrictions removed are starting to see surges in interest as consumers try to compensate for two years of curtailed travel.
Travel demand forecasts show a growing sentiment of optimism, and a rise in revenge travel as consumers look to make up for lost time. Delayed honeymoons, family gatherings and milestone trips are back on the cards once again, creating opportunities for the hotel industry. With the help of market intelligence data you can closely monitor the industry’s turnaround in fortunes following its biggest ever slump.
Using forward-looking data from OTA Insight’s Market Insight, we can analyse consumer demand to determine where and what days people are looking for hotels. Market Insight is able to map flight and hotel search data from around the world to provide granular insights into the market, highlighting demand patterns, and booking trends, in the planning stage of the customer’s booking journey.
This gives hotels a unique window of opportunity to adjust their pricing and marketing strategies and maximise their revenue potential, with the right price, to the right customer at the right time. And, as restrictions ease, and more holiday-makers start dreaming of their next journey, market intelligence data is delivering promising insights.
After removing some of their toughest travel restrictions, and having clear timelines in place, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea are once again seeing growing interest from international visitors. Hawaii became the last US state to ease its travel restrictions, while the opening up of Australia has also led to increasing interest in travel there.
Flight search evolution Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea
But, reimposed travel restrictions in China show there is still much to be cautious about. And, in Europe, where many pandemic restrictions have been removed, the outbreak of war in Ukraine at the end of February slowed the travel recovery trend in the early days of March. The free resource, global market insight shows the market is still very sensitive.
In this two part analysis, we will track demand through some of Western Europe’s most popular metropolitan hubs, where we can see increasing flight and hotel search traffic, and positive signs across the map.
We are seeing higher demand earlier in the year, and for dates that may not be in line with historic seasons. Booking lead times have shifted through the pandemic, and there seems to be higher demand for traditional shoulder seasons. These are promising signs that consumer confidence is returning, as travellers are desperate to get back to visiting some of these popular European cities
Hotel searches to Amsterdam are 7.56 times higher than they were over the same period last year, representing a 756% increase. Flight searches, too, are as much as 10 times higher than they were at the same time last year. GDS searches to Amsterdam - an indicator of the state of business travel - are also higher than they have been since the pandemic began, and 16 times higher than in March 2021. This indicates an increase in corporate travel demand, a sector that was decimated by the pandemic.
GDS search evolution Amsterdam
Since the beginning of 2022, there has been a noticeable upward trend in search queries for both flight and hotels, and searches are currently higher than they were at any point since the pandemic began. The upward trend was disrupted at the end of February when war broke out in Ukraine, but searches look to be picking up once again.
The majority of search traffic is coming from within Europe - 79% of flight searches, and 73% of hotel searches, and the lead time between booking and travel is also evolving. In March 2021, when there was still so much uncertainty, 70% of hotel searches were for dates more than 90 days ahead. But, by the end of March 2022, this had declined to just 22% of searches.
Currently 34% of all OTA searches are for travel dates in the 8-28 day window, indicating that consumers are increasingly confident that they are able to follow through with their travel plans. A further 34% of hotel searches are for dates in the 29-90 day window. However, hotel searches in this window seem to be declining - in the middle of March 46% were for dates in the 29 - 90 day bucket. 33% of searches were for a stay of between 4 and 7 nights, while 30% are for 3 nights.
Rome, another major tourism hub, is seeing 10.75 times more flight searches than the same time last year, and a 10.78 times rise in hotel searches compared to the same time last year. GDS searches are also up 5 times since the end of March 2021.
As summer travel gears up, other Italian leisure travel hotspots are also experiencing a significant increase in search traffic. And, in Florence, the booking lead time is evolving. In the middle of March, 46% of hotel booking searches for dates in the 29-90 day window. This has since dropped to 38%. Meanwhile flight searches for dates in the 8-28 day window have grown from 20% to 30% from the middle of March. There’s a similar trend in Venice, where booking lead times are moving more towards the 8-28 day window.
OTA and Metasearch evolution for Florence
80% of these flight searches are from other European countries, as were 72% of hotel searches. 37% of the searches were for dates in the early part of the summer, while 28% were for dates within the next month. It’s in this bucket that these search numbers are increasing, while in the 29-90 window searches have been declining week on week since the middle of March. In Rome, 39% of all searches are for a trip with a 4 - 7 day length of stay, and in Venice 35% were for stays averaging that length of time.
Longer booking lead times are a clear indicator that demand is picking up as peak season approaches. And, after two years of pent up demand, consumers finally have their confidence back.
In part two, we will examine what is happening in some of the other major cities in Western Europe, including Paris and London.