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EU Mobility Report: Summer Travel Trends 2022

Travel is back, and it’s stronger than ever before

At Omio, we sleep, eat and live travel. But it’s not just us. We’ve been crunching numbers and taking a look at our booking data from this past summer, the first since 2019 that was pretty much regulation-free across Europe, and have seen that – despite flight cancellations, train delays, and increased fuel prices, people are continuing to book and take trips.

As global travel resumes, our bookings have rebounded and our revenue across the business is up 200%.

The message is clear: travel is here to stay, and the sector is not just surviving, but thriving.

We have taken a deep dive into our booking data for the last four summers, looking at the changes in travel behaviour from pre-pandemic, through the worst of the restrictions, and into this summer that was full of chaos as the world began to step outside of its own borders and begin rediscovering travel.

At the start of the pandemic, we lost 98% of our revenue overnight. It was a scary time. The guiding light through the past two years was the knowledge that travel is universal and is something people long for. Travel is back, and it’s stronger than ever before; we’re at 200% revenue compared to the same time in 2019. People keep travelling, and we are here to help them get where they need to be, seamlessly.

Naren Shaam, CEO and Founder, Omio Group

Europe’s key summer travel trends 2022

Travel hasn’t just bounced back, it’s thriving; these are travel behaviours you need to know about

A lot has changed in the past three years, so we decided to take a look at our booking data to see how travel behaviours have adapted: what’s changed and what hasn’t in the world of travel since the summer of 2019?

We’d like to encourage you to think about the trends not just as individual trends, but as building blocks that fit together to tell a greater story. For instance, there’s an increase in train travel, an increase in the amount spent per flight, and an increase in domestic travel – this could be because during the pandemic, numerous flights were cancelled and people felt safer travelling by train, as restrictions fell away, there were pilot shortages means the cost of flights increased but by this point, people were in the habit of taking more train journeys and booking trips in their home country. Combining insights allows us to see how the industry has changed (or not) as a whole! Happy reading!

Empty train station
1. Ground transport prices have been stable while the cost of flying has increased
The average amount consumers are spending per travel mode has remained relatively stable compared to 2019, while the amount spent on flights has increased by more than a third.
Woman in a hat on a train
2. Travellers are significantly more likely to book last-minute
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant and sustained increase in the number of bookings made on the same day as travel, with the majority of bookings made maximum a week in advance.
Empty airport
3. Travellers able to self-determine which mode of travel suits them for different distance trips
There has been an increase in people taking short-haul flights, compared to the end of 2021 (as shown in the inaugural EU Mobility Report). Still, the number of people using ground transport for these distances has also increased, implying a preference for trips closer to home.
Suitcase being pulled
4. Domestic travel is here to stay
As borders closed, people sought solace in trips closer to home. They liked what they found, as the number of people taking staycations continues to increase.
Two seats on a train
5. People are increasingly travelling in pairs
Through the pandemic, solo travel became the norm, but this summer, we see the rise of travel in pairs.

Travel trends in depth

First things first, there’s a LOT of data here. In order to keep it as simple as possible, we have only chosen a select amount of information to surface, but you can always get in touch to ask for more complex data breakdowns (by mode or by country or by both!).

1. Ground transport prices have been stable while the cost of flying has increased

The average amount consumers are spending per travel mode has remained relatively stable compared to 2019, while the amount spent on flights has increased by more than a third.

Modal spend: Trains, flights, buses—how has the cost of travelling changed?

What the data shows: The amount travellers are spending for train and bus tickets has remained relatively stable, with a 3% decrease in the amount spent on train travel and 1% decrease on bus travel, while the amount spent per flight booking has increased by 34%. 

0 item(s) selected
Q3 2019 100% 100% 100%
Q4 2019 96% 102% 88%
Q1 2020 78% 108% 111%
Q2 2020 75% 84% 95%
Q3 2020 69% 82% 83%
Q4 2020 72% 104% 91%
Q1 2021 90% 100% 97%
Q2 2021 95% 99% 98%
Q3 2021 96% 101% 91%
Q4 2021 93% 103% 91%
Q1 2022 103% 142% 106%
Q2 2022 102% 148% 112%
Q3 2022 97% 134% 99%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

  • Germany: Across the board, Germany has increased the amount spent per mode of travel, with the most significant increase in average amount spent per flight booking (we see a 71% increase), while there was a 4% increase in spend per train and 48% per bus booking.

  • Italy: In Italy, however, there was a decrease in the average amount spent on ground transportation: train bookings were down by 11% compared to summer 2019 and a 28% decrease in the amount spent per bus booking. The average flight spend amount increased by 29%.

  • United Kingdom: In the UK, there was also an increase in the average amount spent per mode, with an 11% increase in spend on trains, a 27% increase on flights and a 3% increase in bus travel.

2. Travellers are significantly more likely to book last-minute

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant and sustained increase in the number of bookings made on the same day as travel, with the majority of bookings made maximum a week in advance.

Advanced planning time: How far in advance are people planning to travel?

What the data shows: There has been a steep decrease in the number of travellers booking in advance (31+ days in advance); compared to summer 2019, there has been a 50% drop off in the number of these advanced bookings. This however is an increase when compared to the previous two summers. Compared to the previous two summers, there has been an increase in bookings made up to a month (8-30 days) in advance of travel, with summer 2022 numbers being at 80% of what they were in 2019. Same-day travel, however, has dramatically increased when compared to summer 2019, and we are seeing a 65% increase in bookings happening on the day of travel.

0 item(s) selected
Q3 2019 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Q4 2019 110% 106% 104% 98% 87% 103%
Q1 2020 113% 111% 129% 135% 85% 40%
Q2 2020 141% 125% 128% 122% 77% 23%
Q3 2020 154% 130% 130% 117% 69% 21%
Q4 2020 161% 133% 131% 121% 60% 19%
Q1 2021 135% 119% 114% 110% 79% 56%
Q2 2021 143% 129% 121% 108% 78% 35%
Q3 2021 149% 122% 111% 103% 78% 48%
Q4 2021 146% 118% 105% 96% 80% 66%
Q1 2022 143% 113% 96% 88% 82% 86%
Q2 2022 157% 126% 106% 91% 76% 55%
Q3 2022 165% 119% 103% 93% 79% 51%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

  • Train: Train travel is increasingly being booked last-minute, as we are seeing travellers booking 1 day in advance (13% increase from summer 2019) or on the same day as they travel (59% increase from summer 2019). Booking trains more than 30 days in advance has decreased significantly (down 41% compared to summer 2019).

  • Flight: More people are booking seats on planes less than a week before they travel (3-7 days in advance saw a 12% increase, 2 days in advance saw a 34% increase, 1 day in advance saw a 37% increase, and same day bookings increased by 35% when compared to summer 2019).

  • Bus: Bus travel has shifted in a similar direction, with an increase in travellers booking last-minute bus trips. Most notably, same-day bookings increased by 39% and day-before bookings increased by 19%. Bookings made more than 30 days in advance decreased by more than 50%.

3. Travellers able to self-determine which mode of travel suits them for different distance trips

There has been an increase in people taking short-haul flights, compared to the end of 2021 (as shown in the inaugural EU Mobility Report). Still, the number of people using ground transport for these distances has also increased, implying a preference for trips closer to home.

Travel distances: What length journeys are being prioritised?

What the data shows: Short-distance journeys (less than 400km), have increased, while everything over has decreased, especially journeys over 800km, which are down by 47%. When compared to the mode of transport booked (trend 1), this makes sense as more trains are being booked.

0 item(s) selected
Q3 2019 100% 100% 100% 100%
Q4 2019 118% 105% 100% 99%
Q1 2020 75% 60% 123% 97%
Q2 2020 78% 69% 98% 103%
Q3 2020 83% 72% 99% 103%
Q4 2020 72% 62% 107% 101%
Q1 2021 65% 71% 102% 103%
Q2 2021 46% 62% 90% 107%
Q3 2021 47% 66% 88% 108%
Q4 2021 63% 74% 88% 106%
Q1 2022 49% 62% 78% 110%
Q2 2022 47% 53% 73% 112%
Q3 2022 53% 53% 76% 111%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

  • Train: There was a significant drop of 93% in train journeys of 200km+ when compared to summer 2019, while journeys of under 400km increased by 4%.

  • Bus: Bus trips of more than 1200km decreased by 73% compared to 2019, and journeys of under 400km increased by 8%).

  • Flight: Flight bookings have been pretty consistent in terms of distance travelled. There has been a minor increase in both short-haul flights (under 400km up by 3%) and long-haul flights (over 1200km up 2%), with the number of people taking mid-distance flights dropping (400-800km is down by 6%).

4. Domestic travel is here to stay

As borders closed, people sought solace in trips closer to home. They liked what they found, as the number of people taking staycations continues to increase.

Cross-border travel: Have staycations increased?

What the data shows: The message is very clear, domestic travel – aka staycations – are here to stay! There was a 14% increase in people travelling in their own country versus a 31% decrease in the number of people booking cross-border travel.

0 item(s) selected
Q3 2019 100%
Q4 2019 101%
Q1 2020 116%
Q2 2020 114%
Q3 2020 118%
Q4 2020 122%
Q1 2021 118%
Q2 2021 117%
Q3 2021 114%
Q4 2021 111%
Q1 2022 113%
Q2 2022 114%
Q3 2022 114%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

  • Germany: There was a small decrease in international journeys taken (down 19% from summer 2019), however, it’s worth noting that in the spring of 2022, international trips were up by 2%. Domestic travel has increased by 13% compared to the summer of 2019 (but had decreased by 1% in the spring of 2022. This seems to be a seasonal trend, with the same pattern (at a decreased scale) in both 2020 and 2021.

  • Italy: Italians are more than happy to explore their own country, as we see a 57% decrease in cross-border trips booked when compared to 2019, and a 7% increase in domestic trips. Since the pandemic hit, this has been the norm (a 5-8% increase in domestic trips and a 40-60% decrease in cross-border trips).

  • United Kingdom: The UK follows the average EU trend, and we see a 52% decrease in cross-border trips and an 8% increase in domestic trips when compared to the summer of 2019. However, there’s been an increase in cross-border trips when compared to the summers of 2020 (there was a 64% decrease compared to summer 2019) and 2021 (there was a 78% decrease compared to summer 2019).

5. People are increasingly travelling in pairs

Through the pandemic, solo travel became the norm, but this summer, we see the rise of travel in pairs.

Travel companions: How many people are travelling per booking?

What the data shows: This summer, individual bookings have stabilised, returning to the same (or very similar) amounts when compared to summer 2019. For the first half of this year (2022), there was a significant increase in bookings of more than one person; however, group bookings (more than 3 people) was not a sustained behaviour, while the trend of booking travel for two has remained higher than at the same periods in 2019.

0 item(s) selected
Q3 2019 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Q4 2019 93% 86% 87% 89% 93% 104%
Q1 2020 94% 37% 32% 43% 50% 127%
Q2 2020 54% 51% 47% 61% 74% 116%
Q3 2020 252% 23% 22% 33% 43% 130%
Q4 2020 14% 19% 20% 30% 37% 135%
Q1 2021 56% 57% 56% 63% 69% 117%
Q2 2021 75% 76% 78% 86% 98% 103%
Q3 2021 63% 72% 71% 76% 87% 109%
Q4 2021 71% 74% 75% 78% 89% 108%
Q1 2022 116% 117% 120% 109% 113% 93%
Q2 2022 118% 119% 123% 112% 122% 89%
Q3 2022 90% 88% 94% 94% 114% 96%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

Key market and mode insights: Interestingly, when we look per mode and per country, there isn’t much of a notable difference, which is interesting in itself! There seems to be a universal trend that people are travelling in pairs more than in the summer of 2019.

What’s next? Travel predictions for winter 2022/23

This is the first winter since the pandemic outbreak where it’s unlikely for there to be country-wide lockdowns or restrictions on movements – what can we expect?

In addition to looking back at our booking data, we have dug into the search behaviour of our users, to see which destinations they are looking for. We have looked at Omio’s search data from September and October for the upcoming winter season.

Italian coastline
1. The top 5 destinations searched for winter
No matter which of Omio’s European market data you look at, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands are all in the top 10 most-searched-for destinations for the upcoming winter season.
Train station with two trains on the platform
2. This winter, people are staying closer to home
In all of Omio’s core European markets, we see an increase in travellers searching for trips to bordering countries. For example, in the top 10 searches by German travellers, we see France, Netherlands, Austria, Czechia, Poland, Switzerland and Belgium (Denmark takes 11th place!). Included in the top 10 searches by UK travellers are to France, Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium. And country destinations in the top 10 for Italian travellers are France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Malta.
Red Nordic house by a lake
3. Searches to the Nordics are steeply on the rise
Across Europe, we’ve seen an increase in searches for travel to northern Europe. Denmark is the most searched for of the Nordic, closely followed by Sweden, and then Norway. Other Nordic countries, such as Finland and Iceland, are also pulling increased search interest, but at a smaller scale (in every EU core market, Finland and Iceland have increased search interest compared to 2019).
Train running through the forest
4. There will be an increased shift to more sustainable modes of transport, driven by cost
Given that we see people searching for travel closer to home, and that past data shows an increase in travel using ground transportation for short- and mid-distances, when combined with the rising cost of flight travel, we expect to see a continued marked shift in travellers opting for the naturally more sustainable options of trains and buses.

“It has been a year of resurgence in travel across most of Europe and Americas, while parts of Asia are still coming out of restrictions. Rome2rio has seen a big increase in searches for international travel while surprisingly the pandemic trend of domestic travel still stays up. Ground transport has also been more important while the airline industry struggled to keep up with demand and with air ticket pricing being much higher than pre-pandemic.

Yesh Munnangi, CEO and Managing Director, Rome2rio, part of the Omio Group

People in an office illustration

The report structure:

Omio has a lot of data! So to keep things focused, the EU Mobility Report only looks at travel data from across Europe, and, from here, pulls its insights. 

We also break the data down into country-specific analyses, focusing on select key markets: Germany, Italy and United Kingdom.

How was the data collected:

Data was collected from the Omio platform via the tool Tableau. All booking data has been indexed against Q3 2019 (July, August, September) and increases/decreases are shown as percentages against this timeframe. This is because Omio is a privately held company and does not publicly disclose total booking numbers, revenue or gross booking values.

For more detailed, country-specific insights, please contact the press team: [email protected] 

Emily McDonnell

Emily McDonnell

Corporate Communications

Elaine Azlin

Elaine Azlin

Head of Consumer PR