Our impact on the planet and a two-year pandemic have unsurprisingly had a huge effect on our travel habits this year. But, what trends can be learned from travel booking data?

Travel is constantly changing and you may think that given the rising costs of fuel and living, which has a knock-on effect on the cost of air and train travel, people might be reconsidering going on holiday this year.

However, while the trend for a staycation certainly exists and continues to see a promising future, people just can’t get enough of going abroad, whether to relax on a beach, climb a mountain or on a short business trip. A recent report gathering data from the summer of 2022 has revealed a number of changes to the way people are travelling, particularly since the 2019 pre-pandemic. 

Trains or Planes?

Although the cost of ground transportation has remained fairly consistent over the past few years, flight prices have increased by more than a third, leading to many people opting out of flying on their future holidays. 

This positively correlates with data regarding the number of bookings, which shows that bookings for train and bus travel increasing by around 7%, compared to flight bookings which have decreased by a huge 55%. This is verifiable proof of travellers leaning more towards sustainable, and affordable, modes of travel. 

Even though it may not be as sustainable, driving and car-rental-based holidays are also picking up speed. This is also particularly prevalent when it comes to European travel, as passengers have become increasingly frustrated with delays and cancellations by airlines due to the pandemic, instead opting for the ‘slow-travel’ route via car, even if it may take longer. However, sustainability is still the main concern, with data showing that scooters and bikes have seen a huge surge in popularity and funding, both for getting around destinations and on activity-specific holidays. 

To promote this further, Google has updated its travel utilities to help people discover more sustainable travel routes, such as in Germany, Spain and Italy, where travellers can easily find rail routes for their journey via Google search.  

The best time to book

Data has shown that following the pandemic, many people are opting to book their travel at the very last minute, with an increase in bookings made on the day of travel. In fact, since 2019, there has been a 165% increase in same-day travel bookings, while bookings made more than a month in advance have fallen by over 50%. Most bookings overall are only made a maximum of one week in advance. 

These statistics are likely borne from travellers’ concern that their plans may be forced to change due to restrictions surrounding proof of vaccination or PCR testing. For those travelling by bus or train, it is often the case that prices don’t rise significantly whether or not they choose to book in advance, compared to flight travel where same-day bookings are generally disproportionately expensive. 

Staycations and city breaks

As previously mentioned, staycations, and similarly short-term city breaks within Europe, are inevitably becoming increasingly popular due to a number of factors. The more affordable cost of travel within the UK, as well as extremely cheap flight prices to European destinations with short-haul carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair, mean people, can get away for less. This doesn’t just apply to UK travellers either, with German travellers searching for trips to nearby France and the Netherlands, while we are searching for the same destinations in order to stay close to home. Within Europe, many travellers are opting for trips less than 400km away from home, and cross-border travel rates are declining by around 30%. 

Lesser visited destinations

While travellers are keen on staying close to home, such as Brits heading to France, data shows that people are choosing to avoid classic ‘tourist’ destinations. This applies to both the country people visit and the time they choose to travel. Booking.com data revealed that 33% of people opt to travel outside of peak season, while 27% of people have opted to travel to less popular destinations amid concerns for overcrowding and over-tourism.

However, it appears that this trend has a way to go to be successful since 42% of travellers said that they struggled to find appealing destinations that are less crowded, while 34% feel that it is not possible to find sustainable travel options in the most popular destinations and cities. This could lead to positive change if more destinations and properties highlighted their sustainability to potential visitors. 

It is clear that within travel, regardless of whether it is short haul or long haul, people’s plans are already changing to reflect their concern for the environment, as well as rising costs in general. 70% of global travellers said that they would rather choose the accommodation that is sustainable, even if they hadn’t planned to. 

On top of this, 35% of people said that the sustainability efforts of both transport providers and properties played a significant role in their choice of whether to use it. The main reasons travellers are choosing eco-friendly options are not just to save the planet, but also so that they can enjoy more authentic, local experiences and because they believe sustainable properties often work with and treat the local community better.

Sustainability with Nestor

Nestor is a brand that is leading the way in sustainability. Within our spacious, luxury properties, we are constantly striving to make the guest experience more environmentally friendly, seen in our recyclable coffee pods, refillable toiletries or compostable toilet paper. Our apartments are centrally located in the heart of London, in Kensington, Earl’s Court and Victoria, reducing the need for unsustainable transportation, since guests can walk, bike or take an e-scooter to the capital’s best sights. 

With every booking made, Nestor plants a tree so that each and every one of our visitors begins their sustainability journey before they’ve even stepped foot into an apartment. Going forward, we aim to continue studying relevant data to adapt our brand to be consciously eco-friendly in every way possible and continue working with partners who hold these same beliefs.