Europe Outbound

European traveller trends amid economic uncertainty

It’s a marketplace of mixed signals and lingering economic uncertainty. More French, German and UK travellers are exploring, but they are not necessarily spending more amid shifts in where they go and what they buy. Travellers are cutting back where they can, meaning fewer trips and packaged holidays. However, they are holding out for long, international excursions to new places.


In France, the t h r e a t of ter ror ism and high unemployment have created a changing travel landscape: The traveller pool is growing but with more cost-conscious travellers. Germans remain confident due to an expanding economy, strong GDP growth and low unemployment, leading to a stable and strong travel environment. Brexit, rising inflation and an already wavering economy has caused Britons to cut back on leisure travel, casting a shadow on the near-term outlook for travel and tourism in the UK


With travellers spending less on leisure trips, air and rail transportation took a hit in France, Germany and the UK Less air and rail means more drive trips. In France, which had the biggest jump in budget travellers, nearly two thirds of travellers who didn’t book airfare ended up driving to their last destination. Intentions for transportation purchases in the coming year remain modest. Intentions for car travel is decreasing in France, where one in five travellers plan to travel more by rail. On the other hand, Germany is likely to continue seeing more leisure trips close to home, as travellers have much stronger intentions for increasing road travel than air or rail trips.


Lodging consumption is rising in France and the UK to the highest levels in years, but accommodation preferences are changing among all travellers. Over a third of French travellers stayed at midscale hotels. However, all lodging categories dropped within the past year, and staying with friends and family remains a top choice for travellers on a budget. UK travellers shifted away from staying with family and friends and contributed to more resources to paid lodging – good news for threeand four-star hotels. German travellers prefer a variety of lodging types. While most categories decreased, midscale resorts and B&Bs received a nice boost in 2016. But the rise of rentals, combined with the declining euro and a still shaky regional economy, may now increasingly impact traditional lodging options. In France and Germany, hotel use has mostly slipped as more travellers use private accommodation. Learn more about European consumer travel trends at Phocuswright’s Fast Track at ITB Berlin on Thursday, 9 March 2017 (11:00 – 12:00, Hall 6.1, eTravel Stage). The briskly paced program addresses Europe’s payments landscape, consumer travel trends and more. Phocuswright’s European Consumer Travel Report Sixth Edition ( provides a detailed analysis of European traveller behaviours and purchase trends to help travel companies gauge how macroeconomic conditions are impacting the European travel industry. The report lends insight into online/offline channels and features used during destination selection, travel shopping and purchasing, and measures the growing impact of mobile devices


More of the population is traveling, but fewer trips. France’s travel population is climbing, however seven in 10 travellers now just take one to two trips per year. The UK has the most travellers taking more than three trips annually, but that has dropped 11 points in two years. French travellers may be cutting back on the number of trips annually, but they are holding out for bigger and longer excursions. The percentage of quick getaways fell 14 points since 2014. The same is true for British travellers; the number of trips lasting two weeks or longer is increasing.