Stats: Travelers Planning Longer Stays for Holiday Travel

Despite some ups and downs across the travel industry in Q3, there are overall positive trends as the sector continues its recovery—that’s according to Expedia Group Media Solutions’ "Q3 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report." The quarterly report noted that global search volumes held steady as border restrictions lifted but that international bookings were on the rise.

Here’s what to know:

Global Search Volume Holding Steady

Following a strong Q2, global search volumes remained consistent during Q3, with nominal change quarter-over-quarter. EMEA and LATAM saw the strongest quarter-over-quarter change from Q2, with increases of 50 percent and 10 percent, respectively, while APAC and NORAM saw modest decreases, which could be attributed to travel restrictions and the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in July and August. That said, searches globally began to rise again in September, and when compared to Q3 2020 global search volumes, Q3 2021 delivered triple-digit growth year-over-year. 

Short Booking Windows Dominate

In Q3, nearly 70 percent of global searches fell within the 0- to 30-day search window, a 15 percent increase quarter-over-quarter. Global searches in the 31- to 90-day search window dropped slightly from 25 percent in Q2 to 20 percent in Q3. This shift in search windows indicates that travelers are reverting to planning trips for the near future, compared to the lengthening search windows reported in Q2 2021. 

Cities Growing Fast

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 world. Notably, 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 appearing on this list in Q3 include Boston and Denver for NORAM travelers; New York, Sapporo and London for APAC bookers; Berlin and Edinburgh for those in EMEA; and São Paulo, Paris and Los Angeles for customers in LATAM. 

At the regional level, Q3 delivered a more diverse mix of destinations across each region. 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; the destination jumped from the 33rd position in July to the 10th position in September, while Paris moved from 22nd to fifth during the same time period. 

Holiday Season Head Start

Travelers are eager to make up for the time lost with family and friends during the 2020 holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, and 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, and the global average daily rate (ADR) increased by approximately 25 percent on average year-over-year. 

In addition, many travelers are planning their holiday trips earlier than in prior years and they are booking longer stays this holiday season.

Source: Expedia Group

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