The Top European Holiday Destinations for 2019

With 2019 quickly coming to an end and the holiday season just around the corner, travelers in Europe are finalizing the details and booking their winter holiday getaways. Holiday festivities in Europe start exactly four Sundays before Christmas Eve, which marks the beginning of Advent. The celebrations continue throughout the month with Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th, Christmas Eve on the 24th, and Christmas Day on the 25th. Finally, New Year’s Eve on the 31st marks the end of the holiday season.

Holiday Booking Trends in Europe

According to Koddi data, approximately 45% of all September click traffic and 60% of October bookings were for a check-in period between December 1st and January 1st. Wrapping up November and stepping into December, we’re seeing a significant increase in consumer demand for check-in dates in December. Here are some of the other trends we’re noticing for holiday travel this year:

  • Planning ahead vs last-minute booking: Approximately 70% of November bookings have been made for a December arrival date. As we move later into December, we expect to see additional last-minute bookings, giving hoteliers an opportunity to fill their remaining occupancy.
  • Growth in mobile bookings: 30% of all holiday bookings throughout October and November were booked through mobile devices, a 20% uplift from previous years. The associated RPB for mobile is significantly less than on desktop, followed by lower ROI, but a definite improvement from 2017 and 2018. If growing booking volume is your main focus, the holiday period is the time to do it. With an increase in opportunities and appropriate digital marketing strategies, there is a chance to capture those additional bookings.
  • Shorter length of stays: In comparison to the summer period where the average night stay was +5 nights, the length of stay for the winter holidays period is approximately 2-3 nights. From these data points, we can conclude that consumers are less likely to book a longer length of stay for winter holidays in comparison to the summer ones. There is an additional opportunity to be captured, however, to a lesser extent.

Top 10 European Holiday Destinations

To get you into the holiday spirit, we have compiled a list of the ten most popular European holiday destinations in 2019 according to our own internal data. Well-known cities such as Vienna, Zagreb, and Prague have returned once again as popular cities for the holidays, while others such as Strasbourg, Dresden, and Bruges saw a significant uplift in demand.

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zagreb, Croatia
  3. Nuremberg, Germany
  4. Strasbourg, France
  5. Cologne, Germany
  6. Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Dresden, Germany
  8. Bruges, Belgium
  9. Budapest, Hungary
  10. London, United Kingdom

Takeaways for Hotel Marketers

Even though each European holiday destination has its own unique local charm, it’s clear that users tend to start their research in September while completing the actual booking in late October or November. Taking that into consideration, if the holiday period is your high booking season, September marketing budgets and plans are crucial and necessary. Therefore, “advance booking window” is something to keep in mind as well. All hoteliers, especially those in the top ten destinations, should keep a close eye on rates in the holiday period and adjust accordingly.

An interesting trend we noticed is that most of the holiday bookings happen on Sunday, usually after 5 PM CET, while the lowest booking volume for the holiday period happens on Tuesday. Additionally, the most desirable check-in day of the week is Friday and Saturday, while the average length of stay is 2-3 nights — making the four weekends during Advent the most popular booking period for hotels.

Finally, as mobile bookings continue to rise each year, having an easy-to-navigate website is a prerequisite for successful user experience. However, if this is not your priority at the moment, there are always alternative solutions to explore such as facilitated bookings.

Marketing , Travel