COVID-19: Insights on Travel Impact, Europe #43

June 9, 2020

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, as the industry stabilises. 

These insights are based on data collected on the 8th June, 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.

Travel Intent and Demand Recovering in Some European Markets

This past week, we’ve seen positive upticks across Europe in global search intent. Nowhere is this more apparent than flight searches to Greece, where we are seeing an incredible increase in interest. In previous weeks we’ve reported that Greece has controlled their COVID-19 outbreak well, and are among the first markets in Europe open to travellers—though it is limited to 29 countries that have appeared to also control their outbreak. Flight searches to Greece are only about 14% down from 2019 levels.

Other European markets are also seeing flight searches improve, but at slower rates. At the lowest point, in April and May, flight searches were about 90% down YOY. We are now seeing flight searches down around 60-70% YOY. The one exception to this is the UK, which from Monday has established a 14-day quarantine on most arriving passengers. Travel intent to the UK remains down 83% from 2019 levels.

 

Global Flight Searches to Key European Markets


When it comes to bookings, things are taking a similar positive turn, but at a lower rate.  This is likely because people are still trying to determine where they can travel and when. However, it is clear that we are seeing definite sparks of improvement in many European markets.

 

Global Flight Bookings to Key European Markets 


Portugal is a Growing Summer Destination for Locals and Europeans Alike

Another country that successfully managed their incidence of COVID-19 was Portugal. While the country never went into a full lockdown, they’ve started a gradual reopening of sites that were closed as part of their efforts to manage the spread of the virus. Most recently, Portuguese beaches were reopened to the public this past weekend.

This, in addition to their proactive campaigns to welcome local and regional travel, has led to an increase in travel intent. While still 37% down YOY, flight searches are up significantly when compared to March and April.

 

Flight Searches to Portugal from European Origins

And when we look at actual bookings, we see that Europeans are booking for this summer (July and August), and then an acceleration of YOY bookings towards the end of year, where bookings are up over 250% YOY for April 2021.

 

Bookings from the last 14 days to Portugal from European Origins

We’ve indexed the below graph to the first week in April, when Europe was perhaps in the worst phase of the virus, lockdowns were strictest, and travel intent was at its lowest, in order to see the recovery and where it is coming from. When we look at where the interest in travel to Portugal is coming from, we can see that there is a clear interest for domestic travel from the Portuguese people—with demand up over 300% from early April. Germany is also showing an incredible growth in travel intent, up over 380% from the same period. The UK as well is showing an increase in travel intent to Portugal, up 120% from early April. There has been some talk of an ‘air bridge’ between Portugal and the UK for the summer holidays, whereby arrivals would not have to self-isolate, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

 

Travel Searches to Portugal, Indexed to 5th April


We will continue to share more insights as we monitor the situation. What remains clear is that Europeans are still actively looking for a chance to holiday this summer, whether within their own country or regionally—and those countries in a position to reopen to domestic and regional travel are already seeing a major uptick in interest. These forward looking insights will hopefully help travel marketers shape their strategies as the industry recovers from this outbreak. 

For the rest of the COVID-19 insights series click here


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