Tourism
Green shoots

Millions of European travellers returned to the market in 2013, according to recent research by PhoCusWright. Analyst Marcello Gasdia talks us through the findings

By Marcello Gasdia | Published in Leisure Management 2014 issue 1


Finally, the European economy is starting to pick up, and consumers who skipped their holidays when times were tough are feeling confident enough to return to the market. According to a recent report by travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, a leisure travel recovery is underway in France, Germany and the UK.

The share of adults who took at least one holiday over the past year jumped four per cent in France (to 70 per cent) and Germany (to 72 per cent) compared to 2012. In the UK, the share increased three points to reach 78 per cent.Europeans are also spending more on travel – consumers in Germany spent an average of E206 more on holidays in 2013 versus 2012, and spending among UK travellers jumped E283. In France, however, where trip spend lags the other two markets, annual household leisure travel spend dropped slightly year-on-year.

When choosing how to spend their discretionary income, consumers in all three markets report that they prioritise holidays over a wide range of recreational goods and services, including dining and nightlife, entertainment and sports, fashion, and electronics.

Here PhoCusWright analyst Marcello Gasdia takes a look at the report’s findings in more detail.

What do you consider to be the most interesting findings from the European Consumer Travel Report?
The most powerful thing that we look at when we’re trying to take the pulse of a market is travel incidence. We take a sample of the adult consumer population aged 18 and over, and measure how many took at least one overnight leisure trip 100km away from home that included at least one night paid lodging or a flight.

Nine times out of 10, as you can imagine, those who don’t take a trip aren’t travelling because they can’t afford to. So when you’re looking at a population, the percentage of adults who can afford a trip away is very telling as a barometer of the economic health of that country.

Macro-economic trends are taking a slight turn for the better, with some stating that the recession is over. The picture still isn’t rosy, of course, but things are starting to pick up. I wasn’t sure whether that would show up in my data, but it did.

The percentage of adults in each of the three markets (France, Germany and the UK) who took at least one leisure trip increased by 2 or 3 or 4 percentage points. The traveller pool (adults who took at least one leisure trip) grew from 75 per cent to 78 per cent in the UK, 68 per cent to 72 per cent in Germany and from 66 per cent to 70 per cent in France.

Those don’t sound like dramatic changes, but when you branch that 3 per cent across the adult population, it means that millions of travellers are returning back to the traveller pool. We’re heading back towards pre-recessionary levels.

Can you talk through the findings for France, Germany and the UK in more detail?
Travellers took slightly fewer trips, but overall, trips were longer. Fewer took quick, cheap weekend trips, and trips of one or two weeks represented a larger part of the whole, which represents a sign of health.

Germany shows the strongest rebound. German consumers don’t travel very often, but they take really long trips. They go further than travellers in the UK and France, they spend more and they buy complex holidays.

France is rebounding as well, albeit at a slower pace. French travellers often stay with friends or family, so domestic travel is popular. It’s a unique market. You don’t have to go far in France to find a great destination. What’s interesting about UK consumers is that they put a really high prioritity on travel and tourism. Overall, travel incidence in the UK climbed up by three per cent, which is great, and we hope for more next year.

How does this compare to the US?
In the US, leisure travel incidence has been a bit more stagnant, remaining in the low 60s (per cent) since the recession. Recovery is taking a bit longer in the US; it’s going to be a long road.

Which markets are performing best in terms of travel at the moment?
Europe is looking much healthier than the US. Almost four in 10 US adults skipped vacations in 2012. We’ve been waiting for that to figure grow, but it hasn’t happened yet. Other economic indicators, like retail spending, are showing improvement in the US, but I think there’s going to be a lag in terms of leisure travel.

Recently, Asia Pacific surged past Europe to become the world’s largest regional travel market in 2012, with US$326bn in gross travel bookings.

What do you expect from 2014 in terms of travel behaviour?
I wouldn’t expect another year of strong European growth like we saw in 2013. Things improved a lot during the year, and if that holds, the industry will be in good shape.

What are the main trends driving consumers at the moment?
Compared to other European markets, the UK leisure traveller is paving the way in terms of technology adoption. They are a bit savvier in terms of shopping for hotels and flights on their tablets and smartphones. Germany is lagging a bit further back, with France somewhere in the middle.

We’re also seeing online shoppers take on more and more complex shopping routines. Not only are more people shopping on the web each year, but more people are also accessing interactive maps, professional photography, ratings and reviews, professional videos and incorporating social media.

What drives you?
The ability to turn human behaviour into a data set, and then explore that data set to see what makes us tick.

Domestic travel is popular in France, with travellers often staying with family Credit: shutterstock.com/Viacheslav Lopatin
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Leisure Management
2014 issue 1

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Green shoots

Tourism

Green shoots


Millions of European travellers returned to the market in 2013, according to recent research by PhoCusWright. Analyst Marcello Gasdia talks us through the findings

Marcello Gasdia , PhoCusWright
The number of people taking a trip that includes a flight or paid lodging is on the up shutterstock.com/Nikolai Tsvetkov
Domestic travel is popular in France, with travellers often staying with family shutterstock.com/Viacheslav Lopatin

Finally, the European economy is starting to pick up, and consumers who skipped their holidays when times were tough are feeling confident enough to return to the market. According to a recent report by travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, a leisure travel recovery is underway in France, Germany and the UK.

The share of adults who took at least one holiday over the past year jumped four per cent in France (to 70 per cent) and Germany (to 72 per cent) compared to 2012. In the UK, the share increased three points to reach 78 per cent.Europeans are also spending more on travel – consumers in Germany spent an average of E206 more on holidays in 2013 versus 2012, and spending among UK travellers jumped E283. In France, however, where trip spend lags the other two markets, annual household leisure travel spend dropped slightly year-on-year.

When choosing how to spend their discretionary income, consumers in all three markets report that they prioritise holidays over a wide range of recreational goods and services, including dining and nightlife, entertainment and sports, fashion, and electronics.

Here PhoCusWright analyst Marcello Gasdia takes a look at the report’s findings in more detail.

What do you consider to be the most interesting findings from the European Consumer Travel Report?
The most powerful thing that we look at when we’re trying to take the pulse of a market is travel incidence. We take a sample of the adult consumer population aged 18 and over, and measure how many took at least one overnight leisure trip 100km away from home that included at least one night paid lodging or a flight.

Nine times out of 10, as you can imagine, those who don’t take a trip aren’t travelling because they can’t afford to. So when you’re looking at a population, the percentage of adults who can afford a trip away is very telling as a barometer of the economic health of that country.

Macro-economic trends are taking a slight turn for the better, with some stating that the recession is over. The picture still isn’t rosy, of course, but things are starting to pick up. I wasn’t sure whether that would show up in my data, but it did.

The percentage of adults in each of the three markets (France, Germany and the UK) who took at least one leisure trip increased by 2 or 3 or 4 percentage points. The traveller pool (adults who took at least one leisure trip) grew from 75 per cent to 78 per cent in the UK, 68 per cent to 72 per cent in Germany and from 66 per cent to 70 per cent in France.

Those don’t sound like dramatic changes, but when you branch that 3 per cent across the adult population, it means that millions of travellers are returning back to the traveller pool. We’re heading back towards pre-recessionary levels.

Can you talk through the findings for France, Germany and the UK in more detail?
Travellers took slightly fewer trips, but overall, trips were longer. Fewer took quick, cheap weekend trips, and trips of one or two weeks represented a larger part of the whole, which represents a sign of health.

Germany shows the strongest rebound. German consumers don’t travel very often, but they take really long trips. They go further than travellers in the UK and France, they spend more and they buy complex holidays.

France is rebounding as well, albeit at a slower pace. French travellers often stay with friends or family, so domestic travel is popular. It’s a unique market. You don’t have to go far in France to find a great destination. What’s interesting about UK consumers is that they put a really high prioritity on travel and tourism. Overall, travel incidence in the UK climbed up by three per cent, which is great, and we hope for more next year.

How does this compare to the US?
In the US, leisure travel incidence has been a bit more stagnant, remaining in the low 60s (per cent) since the recession. Recovery is taking a bit longer in the US; it’s going to be a long road.

Which markets are performing best in terms of travel at the moment?
Europe is looking much healthier than the US. Almost four in 10 US adults skipped vacations in 2012. We’ve been waiting for that to figure grow, but it hasn’t happened yet. Other economic indicators, like retail spending, are showing improvement in the US, but I think there’s going to be a lag in terms of leisure travel.

Recently, Asia Pacific surged past Europe to become the world’s largest regional travel market in 2012, with US$326bn in gross travel bookings.

What do you expect from 2014 in terms of travel behaviour?
I wouldn’t expect another year of strong European growth like we saw in 2013. Things improved a lot during the year, and if that holds, the industry will be in good shape.

What are the main trends driving consumers at the moment?
Compared to other European markets, the UK leisure traveller is paving the way in terms of technology adoption. They are a bit savvier in terms of shopping for hotels and flights on their tablets and smartphones. Germany is lagging a bit further back, with France somewhere in the middle.

We’re also seeing online shoppers take on more and more complex shopping routines. Not only are more people shopping on the web each year, but more people are also accessing interactive maps, professional photography, ratings and reviews, professional videos and incorporating social media.

What drives you?
The ability to turn human behaviour into a data set, and then explore that data set to see what makes us tick.


Originally published in Leisure Management 2014 issue 1

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