Expedia sees the light of recovery

SINGAPORE, 12 November 2021: Expedia Group released its Q3 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report earlier this week that sees the light of positive trends on the road to recovery.

The quarterly report combines Expedia Group first-party data and custom research with actionable insights to help travel marketers on their continued road to recovery.

“While the travel industry experienced ups and downs throughout Q3, we continued to see positive trends and overall progress on the road to recovery,” said Expedia Media Solutions global vice president Jennifer Andre. “The rise in business travel demand and double-digit year-over-year increases in holiday season travel searches are just two of the trends that signal growing traveller confidence and industry improvements.”

Key findings 

Global Search Volume Holding Steady
Following a strong Q2, global search volumes remained consistent during Q3, with nominal change quarter-over-quarter. EMEA and LATAM saw the biggest quarter-over-quarter change from Q2, with increases of 50% and 10%, respectively, while APAC and NORAM saw modest decreases, which could be attributed to travel restrictions and the rise of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in July and August. However, searches globally began to rise again in September, and when compared to Q3 2020 global search volumes, Q3 2021 delivered triple-digit growth year-over-year.

The week of 13 September saw the largest increase in week-over-week global searches – up more than 5% – following border reopening announcements and travel easements across several regions. In APAC, the reopening of Singapore, and Australia’s trial vaccine passport program with select countries, resulted in a 10% increase in searches during the same week. During the week of 20 September, searches from EMEA to the United States increased 95% week-over-week, after the White House announced it would soon lift travel restrictions on international visitors who are vaccinated.

The 0 to 30-Day Search Window is the Sweet Spot
In Q3, nearly 70% of global searches fell within the 0- to the 30-day search window, a 15% increase quarter-over-quarter. Global searches in the 31- to 90-day search window dropped slightly from 25% in Q2 to 20% in Q3. This shift in search windows indicates that travellers are reverting to planning trips for the near future, compared to the lengthening search windows reported in Q2 2021.

EMEA saw the largest lift for the 0- to 30-day search window, up more than 30% quarter-over-quarter, while NORAM and APAC were largely flat for the same search window quarter-over-quarter.

Cities growing fast
Globally, Q3 saw a lot of movement in the top 10 booked destinations compared to Q2, with more international destinations making up the top 10 list in each region of the world. Notably, New York topped the list for both global bookings and NORAM bookings and was also a top 10 destination in APAC, EMEA and LATAM. Other new destinations appearing on this list in Q3 include Boston and Denver for NORAM travellers; New York, Sapporo, and London for APAC bookers; Berlin and Edinburgh for those in EMEA; and Sao Paulo, Paris and Los Angeles for customers in LATAM.

At the regional level, Q3 delivered a more diverse mix of destinations across each region. While most of the top 10 booked destinations were for destinations within the same region, APAC and LATAM each had top destinations spanning three different regions.

Cities such as Dubai, Paris, London, and Istanbul moved up the rankings quickly and entered the top 10 for September bookings. Dubai had a particularly strong showing – the destination jumped from the 33rd position in July to the 10th position in September, while Paris moved from 22nd to 5th during the same time period.

Holiday Season Head Start
Travellers are eager to make the most of the 2021 holidays. Compared to the same period in 2020, Q3 searches for trips starting in November and December saw triple-digit growth, with NORAM and EMEA leading the surge, while LATAM saw double-digit growth. 

In line with the search trends, Q3 room night demand for trips in November and December also saw triple-digit growth across most regions, and the global average daily rate (ADR) increased by approximately 25% on average year-over-year.

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