Online travel spend for flights and hotels in Europe over the summer is expected to grow 6.8% this year to almost €67 billion, a new study shows.
The research shows that the best time for booking European flights is 48 days in advance, and 42-52 days in advance for travel outside Europe.
Prices increase dramatically if booking seven days prior to departure for flying within or outside Europe, with flights seeing a 27% average increase in cost.
German travellers can get the best bargains, with the average flight price from Germany to the cheapest destinations – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Ireland – averaging €71.79.
But UK travellers have the highest average costs, paying €85.97 to fly to the cheapest destinations – Slovakia, Estonia, Ireland, Poland and Latvia – from UK airports.
For those last-minute travellers looking to secure a good deal, flights to Italy and Spain have the lowest flight increases of 19% and 23%, respectively, when booked a week prior to departure.
At the other end of the spectrum, Germany (55%) and the Nordics (49%) were found to have the highest last-minute premiums.
However, places are more significant than price, with Europeans 8.3 times more likely to book the most popular destinations than the cheaper alternatives, with the UK, Germany, France and Nordics remaining the focus for summer travel.
London, Munich, Paris and Copenhagen were listed as the most popular cities within those regions.
Adobe’s Digital Index 2016 Europe Travel Report found that 27% of Europeans say they use a smartphone for travel planning while tablets remain more popular for ‘mobile’ booking (28%).
Desktop computers are still the preferred method, with almost three quarters (74%) of Europeans using them to do travel planning.
Although mobile use is rising, there is still work to be done by brands to make big purchases feel as secure and seamless on mobile as they do on desktops, supported by the fact that 65% of European consumers say they switch devices while travel planning, according to the research.
Buckingham Palace topped the list as the most popular attraction for European travellers, with over 54,000 social mentions between March and April 2016.
The London landmark is followed by the Taj Mahal (25,975) and the Statue of Liberty (19,585), which also ranked as the most expensive of the top attractions for Europeans to travel to, costing €1,029 and €1,227 respectively.
Other popular social destinations include the Louvre (18,650), Eifel Tower (15,310) and the Acropolis (11,800), plus the UK’s Tower Bridge (8,995), Big Ben (7,550) and Stonehenge (7,040).
As today’s ‘selfie culture’ continues, these top attractions will encourage more people to visit some of the biggest cities in the world, sharing their memories on social media as they travel.
Adobe Digital Index principal analyst, Tamara Gaffney, said: “With online travel spend in Europe expected to reach €67 billion this year, there is a huge opportunity for travel brands to make sure they are providing a consistent and relevant experience across devices, along with offering the right deal at the right time.
“Those brands that don’t deliver a seamless and stress-free online experience, from booking to when they return from holiday, will find themselves losing out to those who do.
“Ultimately, if the digital experience isn’t up-to-scratch, customers will switch to another site.”