Welcome to our first travel insights report of 2021, where we'll be sharing our weekly traveller pulse survey alongside the latest industry trends and flight search data.
Summer 2021 pent-up demand
We’re seeing positive growth in searches and bookings for travel this summer.
- Volumes from the UK are trending upwards, with 12% growth in searches and 7% growth in bookings over the past week.*
- July 2021 is currently the most searched month for flights for UK travellers.
Pent-up demand will only increase in 2021 as the world re-opens. For example, bookings for Portugal spiked by over 2,000% on Skyscanner immediately following the quarantine exemption announcement last year. We’ve seen similar responses to additions like the Canary Islands.
We recently surveyed over 1,000 UK travellers to find out their aspirations for travel in 2021.**
- 30% said they were planning to spend more money on their trip than they would have done pre-pandemic.
- 64% are planning a long-haul trip as their main holiday; 35% are planning a short-haul trip.
- More than half of people (56%) planned to carry over unused 2020 annual leave into 2021; 68% said they had on average seven or more days left to carry over.
Summer 2021 trending destinations
- Popular short-haul Spanish cities Malaga, Palma and Alicante are all in the top 10 destinations on skyscanner.net for the summer months, indicating that UK travellers are itching to get back to their favourite places as soon as possible.***
- Mid-haul destination Dalaman in Turkey is also increasing in popularity, while winter sun favourite Dubai is proving popular for summer holiday searches.
- Long-haul family favourite Orlando is back inside the top 10 for summer 2021.
- Crete is also present in the top 10 searches for this year, a result of 2020 when Greece was all over social media and the press as a summer hotspot.
Martin Nolan, Consumer Rights & Travel Insurance Expert at Skyscanner, commented:
“Travellers’ peace of mind needs to be the top priority for the industry and travel providers as they continue to navigate travel during a pandemic. Our research shows that greater measures to protect consumers will lead to an increase in confidence and more bookings.
“With some airline change fees currently waived or greatly reduced, and an increase in interest for flexible tickets on Skyscanner, jetting off at short notice will be a continuing trend we’d expect to see well into 2021.”
Butterfly Valley, Muğla, Turkey
We also polled over 2,000 UK adults to find out their attitudes toward travelling. It revealed that when news broke of the vaccine roll out, 41% felt increasingly confident about travelling abroad in the next six months.****
The top 10 international destinations for economy class return fares searched by UK travellers for summer (June – August) 2021 are:
Gavin Harris, Commercial Director at Skyscanner, commented:
“Flight prices are historically always affected by seasonality supply and demand, especially during peak seasons. Recently we’ve seen providers looking to stimulate bookings with attractive pricing and flexible booking policies.
“While this past year has been anything but normal for travellers, and we haven’t experienced the usual price flux we see, fares are currently cheaper than normal seasonal trends.”
“We have seen increasing interest in travel since news of vaccine readiness broke in November last year and we expect this to continue as they are approved and delivered in 2021.”
Traveller confidence falls
Here are the insights from our weekly pulse survey of over almost 2,000 travellers from 19 countries around the world.
Perceptions of international travel
After rising during November and early December, traveller confidence has, overall, been falling over the past few weeks.
- 27% think it’s improving, down from 31% last week and 27% the week before.
- 32% think it’s staying the same, up from 29% last week and 27% the week before.
- 41% think it’s getting worse, up from 39% last week but down from 46% the week before.
On a regional level, travellers in APAC are the most optimistic, but numbers are pretty low across the board. More people in APAC believe the situation is getting worse, but these numbers are falling, compared to EMEA and AMER where they’ve risen in the past week.
- 30% think it’s improving, up from 28% last week and 28% the week before.
- 24% think it’s improving, up from 22% last week and 21% the week before.
- 45% think it’s getting worse, down from 49% last week and 52% the week before.
- 27% think it’s improving, down from 31% last week but up from 26% the week before.
- 35% think it’s staying the same, up from 33% last week and 30% the week before.
- 39% think it’s getting worse, up from 36% last week but down from 44% the week before.
- 27% think it’s improving, down from 34% last week and 29% the week before.
- 32% think it’s staying the same, up from 28% last week and 28% the week before.
- 42% think it’s getting worse, up from 38% last week but down from 44% the week before.
Perceptions of domestic travel
Overall, fewer and fewer people believe the domestic travel situation is improving – with the trend declining from the end of November last year.
- 26% think it’s improving, down from 30% last week and 28% the week before.
- 29% think it’s staying the same, the same as last week and up from 27% the week before.
- 45% think it’s getting worse, up from 41% last week and the same as the week before.
Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
On a regional level, people in AMER are much less confident in domestic travel, with almost two-thirds believing the situation is getting worse. Travellers in APAC are more confident but these figures have been dropping over the past two weeks.
- 42% think it’s improving, down from 48% last week and 47% the week before.
- 26% think it’s staying the same, up from 23% last week and 20% the week before.
- 32% think it’s getting worse, up from 29% last week but down from 33% the week before.
- 27% think it’s improving, down from 28% last week but up from 24% the week before.
- 34% think it’s staying the same, up from 33% last week and the week before.
- 39% think it’s getting worse, the same as last week but down from 43% the week before.
- 16% think it’s improving, down from 23% last week and 21% the week before.
- 25% think it’s staying the same, down from 26% last week but up from 24% the week before.
- 58% think it’s getting worse, up from 51% last week and 55% the week before.
In two weeks, we'll share more data and insights on our blog, as well as keeping you updated with how we're helping travellers and the industry during the pandemic.
* Searches and redirects (bookings) from UK travellers from the beginning of 2021 for economy return travel in 2021.
** OnePoll surveyed 1,000 UK adults in employment from 31/11/20 to 02/12/20 online via its OnePoll website.
*** Searches for return economy flights from the UK from 01/01/21 to 10/01/21 for outbound travel during 01/06/21 to 01/09/21.
****The survey for Skyscanner was carried out among 2,152 adults by AudienceNet between 27/11/20 and 29/11/20.