With over 1.9 million confirmed cases and more than 119,000 deaths from COVID-19 globally as of 14th April, we are undoubtedly seeing significant impact across all industries around the world, including the travel industry.
With our access to real-time traveller audiences and unmatched visibility into global travel demand, we’re in a unique position to share the current travel trends at the forefront of marketers’ minds. In this blog series, we’ll take a look at the data in order to aid travel marketers in their assessment of this worldwide event. They can use these trends to inform their marketing strategies during this period and be prepared for the recovery once the situation stabilises.
Whilst no-one can anticipate the full impact of these exceptional circumstances, our data can provide some insight into how travellers are responding to the current situation, the more long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on destinations, and when the first signs of recovery start to appear.
These insights are based on data collected on the 14th April, 2020. We will be reviewing our data on a weekly basis in order to provide a regular view of trends and patterns in consumer behaviour. Sojern’s insights are based on over 350 million traveller profiles and billions of travel intent signals, however it does not capture one hundred percent of the travel market.
Global Flight Searches and Bookings Down to the Point of Plateau
Global flight searches and bookings to Europe continue to be down amid increased or extended lockdowns. Flight bookings in particular have all but bottomed out, and we have reached a point of plateau.
Global Flight Searches to Key European Markets
Global Flight Bookings to Key European Markets
European Travel Intent Improves, but More Tempered Than First Reported
For the past couple of weeks, we have reported triple-figure YOY % increases in intra European travel, starting in Q4 and continuing into Q1 of 2021. However, as we see extended lockdowns and increased restrictions in place, it appears that travel confidence, while improving, is slightly more measured than it has been in previous weeks.
When we look at flight searches from the last 14 days, there is a marked improvement in flight searches near the end of the year, but these figures are still down YOY, as opposed to the increases of two and three-hundred percent that we saw the last couple of weeks.
European Flight Searches Made In Last 14 Days to Key European Destinations
Inbound Travel Intent to UK Increases from Nordics, Austria
While some European countries are increasing and extending their lockdowns, others are starting to lessen the restrictions in place. Denmark, for example, is looking to reopen schools and daycare centers next week. Likewise, Austria has opened thousands of stores and shops this week, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
These small steps are perhaps inspiring travel planning as these countries move into more of a state of recovery, and are causing people in those countries to dream about their next trip. We see this reflected in our own data. When we look to flight searches made in the last 14 days to the UK, we see spikes in intent for as early as August 2020, with YOY increases in travel intent by January from Austria and the Nordics. In fact, by February we see Austria and Nordic countries have YOY increases in flight searches of 22% and 34%, respectively.
Flight Searches Made in Last 14 Days From Select Western European Countries to the UK
We will continue to share more insights as we monitor the situation. While global flight searches and bookings remain down at present, we do see sparks of improvement in Q4 2020 and into 2021, with searches and bookings up both within Europe and even internationally. These forward looking insights will hopefully help travel marketers shape their strategies when the industry starts to recover from this outbreak.
For the rest of the COVID-19 insights series click here.