Welcome to our travel insights report, where we share some of our latest search and booking demand data, as well as our weekly traveller pulse survey results and industry trends and hot topics.
Following the recent news of potential vaccines, we’ve seen more interest from UK travellers in getting away next spring and summer. In fact, comparing 9 November with 2 November for travel between 1 April and 31 August 2021, searches are up 48% week-on-week.
These are the top five flight searches to Europe and further afield next summer.*
- New York
Skyscanner's Senior Global Brand Director, Jo McClintock, comments:
"Over the last few months we've seen travellers in the UK reacting to changes as they happen. Obviously, it’s early days but with the promising vaccine news hitting the headlines yesterday, we did see an immediate spike in searches for travel next spring and summer. Our data shows a 48% week-on-week increase in all searches from the UK for travel between 1 April and 31 August 2021 – showing there really is a pent-up appetite for Brits to get exploring again.”
Beneath traveller caution and lower booking figures, there’s pent-up demand for travel. Two recent events have shown us that – when travel corridors are made available in the UK – we see a surge of interest and bookings.
Following updated travel advice from the UK government on 12 November, we saw a dramatic increase in searches for flights to the United Arab Emirates, a popular winter destination.
The graph below shows redirects (bookings) for travel dates to Dubai in December and January compared to the same time last year – and is based on daily numbers.
Following the Canary Islands being added to the UK’s safe travel list at the end of October, we observed a 508% week-on-week increase in searches to Spain, with volumes reaching 80% of 2019 levels.**
The graph below shows redirects (bookings) for travel dates in November to December compared to the same time period last year. The spike in September 2019 was when Thomas Cook collapsed, particularly affecting people in Spain, who then needed to book replacement flights home.
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Black Friday traveller insights
As the holiday shopping season approaches, we commissioned a study to understand the mindset and purchase intentions of travellers.
Extremely competitive prices have been a hallmark of travel (when it’s been possible) during 2020, so could lower fares coupled with flexible policies and special add-ons drive a sales spike for 2021 travel this Black Friday?
These are the results from a survey of 1,600 people from the UK, US and Australia.***
- New to the scene: 91% of travellers who are looking to purchase travel on Black Friday this year did not purchase any travel as part of Black Friday 2019.
- No standout provider: 89% do not have a particular travel provider in mind for any Black Friday deals.
- Value for money: 34% are looking to spend between £201-£500 per person, while 20% are looking to spend £501-£1000 per person.
- Convenience (49%) and flexibility (37%) remain essential components of the purchasing decision.
- 2020 vs 2021: 52% of those surveyed said they would still like to get away before the end of year, however 39% are looking to travel in H1 2021.
- International calling: 82% are looking for international travel, split between short-haul (44%) and long-haul (38%).
- Family first: Most of those looking to purchase travel are looking for a family break (27%), but this was closely followed by 22% who wanted to purchase solo travel on Black Friday.
- Escape and relax: Although the highest number of participants stated they wanted to use their Black Friday trip to relax (31%), a large portion of participants (22%) stated they want to use it to see somewhere they haven’t been.
Zeynep Mutlu, Senior Partner Discovery Manager, Skyscanner, comments:
“Black Friday has been a popular time for booking travel deals for many years, but we expect this year to be different. We know that during 2020 lots of people invested in technology that they might normally have waited to purchase on Black Friday.
Our hypothesis is that spend on experiences for the future, such as travel, will be prioritised throughout the holiday season and into January. We know from our search data that there is underlying demand in the market and recent positive developments have drawn people’s focus to the end of the year and into 2021.
Our latest study with travellers reflects this and reveals fascinating insights into purchase intent for airlines, tourist boards and hoteliers alike.”
Find out more about our advertising solutions by visiting our advertising page.
Traveller confidence rises
Here are the insights from our weekly pulse survey of over 5,000 travellers across the world.
After the news of a potential vaccine, traveller confidence has grown over the past week, reversing a five-week trend.
Perceptions of international travel
Traveller confidence has risen for the first time in five weeks, but still remain low.
- 27% think the situation is improving, up from 23% last week and 24% the week before.
- 29% think it’s staying the same, up from 28% last week and 26% the week before.
- 44% think it’s getting worse, down from 49% last week and 51% the week before.
On a regional level, travellers in the Americas are the most optimistic, but the biggest jump in optimism came from those in EMEA.
Fewer people in APAC are as optimistic as they were last week and two weeks ago, with more people also thinking the situation is getting worse.
- 27% think it’s improving, down from 30% last week and 31% the week before.
- 46% think it’s getting worse, up from 45% last week and 42% the week before.
- 23% think it’s getting better, up from 14% last week and 12% the week before.
- 48% think it’s getting worse, down from 59% last week and 65% the week before.
- 33% think it’s getting better, up from 30% last week and 33% the week before.
- 37% think it’s getting worse, down from 40% last week and 37% the week before.
Perceptions of domestic travel
It’s a similar story for domestic travel, with confidence levels rising sharply.
- 27% think the situation is getting better, up from 18% last week and 15% the week before.
- 26% think it’s staying the same, up from 22% last week and 19% the week before.
- 47% think it’s getting worse, down from 60% last week and 66% the week before.
On a regional level, travellers in APAC are the most optimistic, but these figures have been falling over the past few weeks.
The biggest rise in optimism is from travellers in EMEA, but overall they remain the least optimistic group – with over half still believing the situation is getting worse.
- 60% think it’s getting better, down from 63% last week and 66% the week before.
- 19% think it’s getting worse, up from 15% last week and 12% the week before.
- 25% think it’s getting better, up from 16% last week and 11% the week before.
- 51% think it’s getting worse, down from 61% last week and 71% the week before.
- 32% think it’s getting better, down from 34% last week and 35% the week before.
- 39% think it’s getting worse, up from 38% last week and the week before.
Next week, we'll share more data and insights from the past two weeks on our blog as well as keeping you updated with how we're helping travellers and the wider industry during the pandemic.
* Searches made on skyscanner.net on 9 and 10 November 2020 for economy class, return travel in July and August 2021 .
**Based on searches on Skyscanner platforms between 19-25 October, compared to the previous week. All itinerary types and cabin classes.
***Survey of Skyscanner customers from UK, US and AU on 3-5 November 2020, participant n=1600.