Which European destinations are becoming travel powerhouses?
Recent years have seen some well-documented threats to the strength of global tourism but it seems nothing, neither man nor nature, can quench the world’s travel bug.
Despite being some of the most affected, France and the UK continue to be powerhouses, according to Sojern’s latest research. Being only 350km apart, many travellers plan to fit both London and Paris into the space of one trip, creating an alliance of sorts between the cities.
Tourism industry value skyrockets
Visitors to London and Paris spend in excess of £30bn (€34bn) per year, and the tourism economy in both cities supports 1.2 million jobs. Tourism spend in the UK is up 8% from last year. In fact, Britain’s tourism industry is forecasted to be worth over £257bn by 2025.
Visitors to London and Paris are incredibly valuable, spending in excess of £30bn per year.
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Yearly visitors are increasing
While the UK and France are already popular, Sojern found they’re becoming moreso. The UK rises two spots as a top destination for both Western Europe and Latin America from last year, and Middle Eastern travellers also show a stronger intent to travel to the UK. Conversely, France climbs the rankings for North American and East and South Asian travellers.
More than 82 million international tourists are expected to visit France in 2017 – up 3% from 2016, while almost 40 million are entered the UK in 2016. And more than 50% of non-European travellers plan to stay a week or more, with trips of 12 or more days being the most popular.
This is a great sign for both destinations given the turmoil that has surrounded Paris and London in the past two years.
Travellers are planning early
Europeans have traditionally short lead times when visiting other European destinations, but even they plan their trips to the UK and France well in advance. There’s only a 4% increase in the percentage of non-European travellers with a lead time of over 30 days compared to European travellers.
The share of long lead times is the highest it’s been over the last three years with well over 25% of travellers planning 120 days or more in advance.
Compared to the global average, France and the UK have slightly higher lead times of 67 and 73 days, respectively.
Growing lead time could be attributed to the enlarging, savvy, millennial market; a group hotels should place a large focus on marketing to and now have ample time to do so.
Hotel numbers are increasing
With nearly 650,000 expected hotel rooms in the UK by the end of 2017 and already 800,000 hotel rooms in France, the rising travel demand is being managed and the challenge for hoteliers is to know when, where, and how far in advance travellers are going to book.
Hotels should highlight their best assets through a range of media to attract as many high-value customers as possible. Over 70% of consumers prefer customised ads and there’s ample opportunity to do this via social media, video, and mobile. As many as 80% of people report that they can recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.
Trip duration is one of the biggest drivers of value
It makes sense that those staying longer are likely to spend more money in-destination.
Overseas visitors spent £22.5 billion on visits to the UK in 2016, an increase of 2% compared with 2015. If each of those people spent even one additional day in the UK, it would mean a major increase in revenue for travel brands, and the economy as a whole.
Hotels should prioritise strategies to extend stays, by finding the right incentives through data and guest profiles or developing attractive packages.