Despite flight cancellations, train delays and increased fuel prices, travelers are continuing to book and take trips – but where and how they travel looks different now compared to before the pandemic.
Across Europe this summer, as pandemic-related restrictions dropped, mobility bookings rebounded and revealed several key changes in traveler behavior, according to a new report from ground transportation platform Omio.
Omio’s EU Mobility Report: Summer Travel Trends 2022 report provides insights into how traveler behavior has changed since 2019 as well as what search trends reveal about travel in the coming months.
Compared to 2019, ground transport prices have remained stable – the amount travelers have spent on train travel has decreased by 3% and by 1% on bus travel - while the cost of flying has increased by more than a third, the report finds.
Meanwhile, the overall percentage of people booking ground transport options has increased compared to 2019, with train bookings up 7% and bus bookings up 5%. Flight bookings have decreased by more than 55%, pointing to a shift in preference for more sustainable modes of travel.
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Travelers are also more likely to book at the last minute, according to the report. Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a significant and sustained increase in the number of bookings made on the same day as travel, with most bookings made a maximum of a week in advance.
Compared to 2019, there has been a 165% increase in bookings occurring on the day of travel, while there has been a 50% drop-off in the number of bookings made 31-plus days in advance.
Additionally, travelers are opting for short-distance journeys (under 400 km), while trips more than 800 km are down by 47%. Domestic travel, or staycations, has increased by 14%, while cross-border travel has decreased by 31%.
Looking at data from September and October, travelers in Europe are planning to stay closer to home this winter. German travelers, for example, are searching for trips to France, the Netherlands and Austria, while travelers in the United Kingdom are searching for trips to France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium.
Similarly, Phocuswright’s State of Travel Startups 2022 report finds that sectors such as rail, car rental and ride-hailing picked up business over the summer as travelers grew frustrated with air travel.
Investors have taken note: According to the report, from 2012 through May 2022, ride-hailing startups secured $7.3 billion in funding, while urban transportation - spanning autonomous driving technology, eVTOL and other forms of public and mass transportation – has received $5.5 billion in funding over the period.
The bike/scooter sector has brought in $4.4 billion over the 10-year stretch, while car rental has brought in $1.6 billion and taxi-hailing $998 million. The bus and rail sectors have received $462 million and $34 million, respectively.
Meanwhile, in September, Google updated its travel tools to make it easier for travelers to identify and choose climate-friendly modes of transportation.
For the first time, travelers interested in traveling by train in and around Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan can shop directly in Google Search.
Google has a direct partnership with Deutsche Bahn, the country’s national railway, in Germany, and schedule and price data comes from Travelfusion for bookings with Renfe in Spain, Trenitalia and Italo in Italy and Japan Rail in Japan.
The search giant plans to increase its coverage by partnering with additional rail operators, aggregators and third-party booking sites, and a similar feature for bus tickets will be added soon.