Expedia reports long-haul demand rise as search levels spike by 70%

Expedia reports long-haul demand rise as search levels spike by 70%

OTA giant reveals EMEA trends in latest travel recovery trends report

A sustained demand for long-haul destinations emerged in the final quarter of last year despite the emergence of Omircon, according to Expedia Group.

Overall travel searches rose by more than 70% year-on-year, latest data from the online travel firm revealed.

Search volumes in the EMEA region were even higher during the first two weeks of January compared to the last week of December 2021.

“When we last left off in 2021, we were adjusting to impacts from the Delta variant of Covid-19 but still seeing improvements,” the company said in a new travel recovery trend report.

“Then in Q4 Omicron arrived. But throughout 2021 we saw promising trends across the industry, including consistent global search volumes in Q3 and Q4, and more international destinations appearing on regional top 10 destination lists. Plus, looking at 2021 as a whole, searches were up 70% compared to 2020.”

Expedia added: “This eagerness for travel is also complemented by an apparent resilience in the traveller mindset, as evidenced by lodging cancellation rates, which remained flat throughout Q4 despite the continued and unpredictable headwinds of the pandemic.”

The research found that 68% of Americans are planning “to go big” on their next trip, and many are eyeing intercontinental destinations like Rome, Bali, London and Paris in 2022.

Paris, Dubai, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Madrid all saw double-digit  growth in hotel bookings during the final three months of 2021 over the previous quarter.

Looking at the 25 most-booked destinations globally, Dubai moved from 18th position in the third quarter to sixth in the final three months of 2021, driven by a 40% increase in room night bookings.

During the same period, Tokyo moved from 41st to 24th, Mexico City moved from 23rd to 17th, and Paris moved from 12th to fifth.

Global bookings for hotels and holiday rentals combined were up by more than 50% year-on-year.

“Comparing bookings in Q3 and Q4, there was a shift in share from hotels to vacation rentals, prompted by the busy holiday travel season and continued popularity among friends and families traveling together,” Expedia said.

“In EMEA, the average vacation rental length of stay surpassed the one-week mark, at 7.1 days.”

Expedia Group Media Solutions global vice president Jennifer Andre said: “The pandemic continued to impact travel around the world through the end of 2021, but in Q4 we saw consistent global search volumes, lengthening search windows and more international destinations appearing on regional top 10 destination lists.

“Consumers have learned how to travel under ever-changing circumstances, and we anticipate they will continue to adapt and evolve their behaviours and preferences as the landscape evolves.

“We are encouraged by the overall year-over-year progress and remain confident in the power of travel and the resilience of the industry and travellers.”