Trip.com analysed data from their booking sites across Europe and Asia and the results show that users are more confident to book further ahead this summer, and the appetite for city breaks, staycations and short-haul trips still holds firm in a post-pandemic world.
As consumers around the world plan a summer of ‘revenge travel’ in the wake of easing restrictions, Trip.com data reflects the global travel recovery trend. We analysed data from our booking sites across Europe and Asia and the results show that users are more confident to book further ahead this summer, and the appetite for city breaks, staycations and short-haul trips still holds firm in a post-pandemic world.
Wednesday is the most popular day to plan a trip
For summer 2022, midweek is the most popular time to plan a holiday. Our data shows that, among Trip.com users, Tuesday through Thursday are the peak days for browsing flights and hotels. Wednesday is the most popular day overall for flight searches, with Saturday being the quietest.
Deciding when to take a holiday over the summer is often a tricky task for consumers, with price fluctuations, school holidays and, in Europe, the threat of cancelled flights and strikes to consider.
When looking at the summer period (June-September) across many of our major global markets (UK, South Korea, Japan and Thailand), 1 July was the most popular day for flight departures. It was also the most popular hotel check-in date that users searched for on Trip.com’s sites in the UK and Thailand.
With more popular dates expected across July, August and September, we look forward to reviewing this data in the coming weeks and months.
Hotel booking window extended by up to a week
As Covid-19 began to affect travel in 2020, uncertainty and travel restrictions spread across the industry, customers – as expected – adapted their booking habits and moved to last-minute reservations.
Trip.com data shows that by June 2020, the booking window for hotel stays had fallen from 20.3 days (June 2019 data) to 6.1 days in Asia – highlighting the rising appetite for last-minute breaks. Flights saw a similar trend, with the booking window on Trip.com’s European sites falling to 13.4 days in June 2021 – from close to double that – 22.2 – just two years prior.
However, this summer, Trip.com’s data signals a return to pre-pandemic trends, with booking windows once again rising. In Europe, the window for hotel reservations in June 2022 matches the level seen in 2019 – 14.2 days; booking windows for flights extended to 14.2 days from 6.4 days of June 2021. Similar trends are evident across Asia, with booking windows for flights rising to 16.4 days in June 2022 from 6.1 days in June 2020.
This interesting finding has reflected the returning confidence of travellers to make their travel decisions earlier than when the pandemic had just started. However, it is important to note that booking windows still remain shorter than pre-pandemic in the region, as restrictions remain across many nations and districts.
Europe: city-centric summer holidays are high on the agenda
Airlines and hotel chains have reported bookings and occupancy levels rising to pre-pandemic numbers for the first time this spring, so there is plenty of cause for celebration across the travel sector.
Our European data echoes this uplift in demand. Trip.com’s European sites saw an average monthly growth in traffic of around 10% between April and July, further underlining the increased demand for summer getaways.
Interestingly, where many travellers are opting for beach holidays over city breaks this year, our data shows that city-centric summer holidays are still high on the agenda for Europeans, with must-visit sites, culture, food and new experiences tempting customers to take trips to some of
Europe’s most enticing cities.
Our European data also reflects the vast increase in short-haul travel demand for 1 June – 31 August 2022 versus the same period in 2021. This year, although European long-haul demand is also up incredibly, short-haul trips are 27 times more popular than long haul. This proves that when it comes to summer getaways, most travellers still appear to prefer to stay closer to home when they go away.
Customers book longer trips post-pandemic
With many consumers looking to book more lavish summer holidays after two years of pent-up demand, when it comes to trip length, the figures reveal some surprising insights. Interestingly, European customers travelled for longer during 2020 than they did previously, with the average trip length in June 2019 being 6.2 days, rising to 8.8 in 2020 and back down to 6.6 in June 2022.
Asian travellers, on the other hand, are travelling for an average of 7.6 days in 2022, an increase on the average of 6.6 days in June 2019 – but a decrease on 2021’s average of 8.7 days.
Local travel rebounds well in Asia
In Asia, countries and regions that have relaxed their travel restrictions have seen an impressive market performance, particularly those in southeast Asia. Overall in the APAC region, bookings increased by 21% in May and by a further 7.8% in June.
As the most popular destination among APAC users, it’s no surprise that Singapore’s hotel bookings saw a 42% year-on-year increase in June.
Thailand’s continued popularity is a pleasant surprise. The summer months tend to be the country’s low season, yet despite a slight dip in April following the Songkran Festival, bookings continue to grow throughout the season. Overall bookings have tripled when compared to June 2021, with a 17% rise in bookings compared with May this year.
Though Thailand continues to attract customers from the UK and APAC, the country’s recovery has mainly been driven by domestic travel, with domestic flights in June increasing 2.6 times yearon-year.
Japan and South Korea saw sharp growth in Q2, with South Korean outbound flights increasing by 16 times year on year and June outbound flight bookings up 31% compared to May. South Korea eased travel restrictions in early June, so expect this upward trajectory in bookings to continue.
Japan also eased its border restrictions in June, with a large spike in bookings following the news. In May, flight searches to Japan on Trip.com’s global sites were 7.5 times as popular when compared to the same period in 2021.
This summer, as travel recovery gains momentum, travellers’ confidence to book their trips further ahead have gradually returned, while short-haul travel remains the global holiday king. Despite the enduring summer holiday beach travel trend, city breaks continue to attract customers from around the world. As airport strikes and travel chaos in Europe continues to impact customers’ ability to get away, Trip.com plans to further analyse the sector at the end of this popular travel period. Watch this space.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.