The COVID-19 Effect: Europe’s Hotel Demand Trends

For the first time since the lockdowns across Europe began, we are beginning to see an increase in hotel searches week-over-week, indicating that markets are tentatively entering a recovery phase. As we look forward to the rest of May, we can expect an increase in hotel searches as countries enter different phases of easing restrictions. While we can prepare for increased volume, we expect the highest demand increase to be for domestic searches.

As countries around the world gradually ease their lockdowns and quarantine guidelines, we took a deeper look at the top five tourism markets in Europe: Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Monitoring travel in these countries will give us greater insight into market recovery overall.

State of COVID-19 Lockdowns

Germany: Germany extended social distancing measures through May 3rd, allowing for small businesses to resume operations on April 20th, as long as customers maintain the recommended social distancing measure. Germany started opening schools on May 4th. Additionally, the government has extended an international travel warning until at least June 15th.

Italy: Starting Monday, May 4th, people in Italy are allowed to leave their homes again to take walks and visit relatives. Additionally, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for takeaway, and some stores can resume business. Italy had allowed some industries to reopen in April, including forestry and IT-related businesses.

France: While France will begin easing its lockdown measures for school and businesses on May 11th, the government announced that the state of emergency imposed in late March would be extended two additional months, until July 24th. Those who travel to France from outside continental Europe could be subject to a two-week quarantine, but specifics have not yet been announced.

Spain: Spain is setting its sights on a gradual reopening in the middle of May. Its state of emergency will remain in effect until May 9th. While some employees have gone back to work, measures restricting movement are still in effect, and children are allowed outside for a limited time each day.

The United Kingdom: As the UK’s death toll now tops Italy’s numbers, the government has not announced a formal date to end the lockdown. While some parks and DIY shops have remained open since the lockdown went into effect on March 23rd, children are not expected to return to school until June at the earliest, and no further measures have been announced as of May 4th.

The week of April 27- May 3 saw a +9.36% increase in hotel searches vs April 20-26. Here’s a further breakdown by country:

  • Germany +15.43%
  • United Kingdom +13.73%
  • France +4.99%
  • Italy +3.48%
  • Spain +1.16%


All domestic searches have grown week-over-week for each country (comparing April 27- May 3 to April 20-26), with DE and UK showing the most positive international trajectories. While countries are slowly opening shops and sending students back to school, stricter border measures persist. Overall, we see a lower rate of growth weekly for international searches versus domestic.

Searches for last-minute stays as well as the 2-7 day booking window increased the week of April 26, along with the 8-30 day booking window. As hotels open their doors again to tourists, we are primed to see an increase in domestic searches over the next few weeks, particularly for markets such as Germany and Spain which are easing restrictions in the first two weeks of May.

Current border restrictions are delaying a bounceback of international travel, but we have seen a decline in 91+ days searches, as well as an increase in immediate bookings and the 8-30 day window. With major markets such as Germany poised to loosen international travel restrictions in mid-June, the month-long booking window search could continue gaining traction.

Smaller European Markets

Smaller markets of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden are also seeing promising increases in demand. Sweden is an interesting case, in that it did not impose a national lockdown, encouraging people to socially distance themselves rather than enforcing it. Primary and junior schools are still open, as well as many shops and restaurants.

Looking Ahead

All five of the largest markets, with the exception of the United Kingdom, are set to begin easing restrictions from mid-May onward. As we inch closer to those dates, Koddi will be monitoring shifts in demand as recovery phases unfold across Europe. While we expect domestic searches to continue growing, international travel is still uncertain amidst border closures and restrictions. Koddi will be publishing additional insights in the coming weeks charting changes in consumer behavior in response to the virus, what we can expect from a rise in domestic and regional demand, as well as the potential impact of a second wave.

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Marketing , Travel