Travel trends

Travel trends: insights on European travellers

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Understanding traveller behaviour is key to unlocking potential opportunities. That’s why, each year, we survey thousands of global travellers to analyse outlooks and trends. In this post, we’ll look at the results for European travellers.

In total, we surveyed 19,000 bookers from across Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and Portugal. Here, we offer you insights into their sentiment and plans. 

Planned traveller spending remains resilient

Despite potential economic and geopolitical headwinds, travel remains a priority for European respondents.

travel trends europe

The majority (51%) plan to spend the same on travel as they had done in previous years, with a third (33%) planning to spend more, compared with only 17% planning to spend less.

Those looking to spend more are expecting to increase expenditure by taking a higher number of trips (36%), taking longer trips (35%), spending more while travelling (34%) and travelling further from home (31%).

Interestingly, even of those who expected to reduce their spending, less than a third (29%) weren’t planning to take fewer trips. Instead, they were placing an emphasis on where and when they travel, and planning around the travel deals they can find.
 

Beach trips remain a priority

The top five trip types that appeal to a European audience are:

  • A beach vacation – 48%
  • A city trip – 40% 
  • Weekend trip – 37%
  • A trip to visit family or friends – 29%
  • A road trip – 20%

Beach trips proved the most popular in every European country surveyed, except Italy and Spain where they were narrowly pushed to second place in favour of city trips. 

A notable result if you deal with a Portuguese audience – their appetite for a road trip was 39%.
 

Activities on the trip

Sightseeing remained the most popular activity across European respondents. This was followed by museum/gallery visits, a day of shopping and visiting a viewpoint to get great views of the destination.

Eco-tours are somewhat niche to a European audience, but travellers from Italy are more likely to list this as a planned activity, which could make this an important audience to target for sustainability-led activities.

Europeans are planning couples’ trips

The top response for expected travel companions was a partner or spouse (57%), followed by a nuclear family (33%) and solo traveller and group of friends (both 17%).

travel trends europe

European travellers prefer apps to mobile websites

Laptops and personal computers (PC) remain a key source for Europeans planning their trips, with 61% on average, used by the majority across each country. 

But for those who do go mobile, apps outperformed mobile websites in almost every country – except Denmark and France.

The most mobile-embracing country was Ireland, which came top for app use (39%) and mobile website (33%).

Beyond accommodation, the top three trip components respondents booked online included flights, packages (for example, multiple elements booked together) and attractions/activities.

Business travel

Business travel isn’t a priority for the majority of European travellers, with 65% reporting that they are unlikely to travel for business – the highest of any region. 

Of those that are likely, 19% are expecting to travel for domestic business, and 12% for international.

However, those that do travel for business are likely to want to make the most of the trip, with 64% planning to enhance a business trip by seeing the sights, and 55% planning to extend a business trip by adding on time for leisure 55%, which could unlock additional opportunities.

*Research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who had taken a trip in the last 12 months and planned to take a trip in 2023. The sample comprised 19,000 bookers from across Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and Portugal. Respondents completed an online survey in January or February 2023. 

 

Key takeaways

  • At the beginning of the year, European traveller demand remained resilient, with only 17% of travellers planning to spend less on travel
  • Beach breaks, city trips and weekend getaways are the main plans for European travellers
  • When it comes to where European travellers are booking, apps outperformed mobile websites in almost every country
  • European travellers were the least likely to travel for business, with 65% of respondents saying they had no plans to do so

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