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Expedia: Travelers Planning Early, Booking Longer Stays for Christmas Holidays

Travelers are planning early and booking longer stays for the 2021 Christmas holidays, in efforts to make up for the time lost with family and friends during last year’s holiday season, according to a recent report by global travel advertising platform Expedia Group Media Solutions.

The company released its Q3 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report combining Expedia Group first-party data and custom research with actionable insights to help travel marketers on their continued road to recovery.

According to the report, travelers are planning early to make the most of the 2021 holidays including Christmas and New Year’s. Compared to the same period in 2020, Q3 searches for trips starting in November and December saw triple-digit growth, with NORAM (North America) and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) leading the surge, while LATAM (Latin America) 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 percent on average year-over-year.

Meanwhile, demand for Vrbo vacation rentals in December 2021 is up more than 15 percent from 2019, with many travelers planning their holiday trips even earlier than in prior years.

Travelers are also booking longer stays this holiday season – nearly half of Vrbo bookings in December are for at least seven nights.

This data further illustrates travelers’ desire to escape their surroundings and spend extended time away with family and friends, resulting in a timely opportunity for lodging providers to drive demand this holiday season.

Global search volume steady

Following a strong Q2, global search volumes remained consistent during Q3, with nominal change quarter-over-quarter.

EMEA and LATAM saw the strongest quarter-over-quarter change from Q2, with increases of 50 percent and 10 percent 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 September 13 saw the largest increase in week-over-week global searches – up more than 5 percent – 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 percent increase in searches during the same week.

During the week of September 20, searches from EMEA to the United States increased 95 percent week-over-week, after the White House announced it would soon lift travel restrictions on international visitors who are vaccinated.

Business travel building momentum

With business returning to normal in some parts of the world, including a rise in employees returning to the office and in-person events, business travel is starting to take off.

Egencia data shows that globally, business travel demand in Q3 was up more than 40 percent quarter-over-quarter and up more than 110 percent compared to Q3 2020.

During Q3, Paris, Chicago, London and New York were the top booked destinations for business travelers globally.

In NORAM, Q3 business travel demand was up more than 40 percent compared to Q2, and up 200 percent year-over-year.

EMEA business travel demand in Q3 was up 50 percent quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, and in APAC, business travel demand was up nearly 50 percent year-over-year.

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 travelers; 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.

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