Historically the summer offers many U.S. residents the perfect time to travel abroad, and summer 2015 was no exception. After analyzing the most common rental pickup cities around the world from June through August 2015, European capitals stood out as favorites for Auto Europe’s U.S.-based customers.
2015 Rental data reveals several interesting car rental trends: travelers are opting to rent cars in Italy the most often, accounting for 24% of all summer 2015 bookings. According to a study released by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, 35% of U.S. travelers going abroad last year visited European destinations, with 11% of all U.S. outbound travelers opting to rent a car during their trip.
Overall Pickup City Rankings
Taking a closer look at the rental data, the most popular pickup cities this summer were ones you might expect, but a few interesting nuances emerged across the regions. Overall Paris was the most common rental location for U.S. summer travelers to pick up their vehicle. Dublin, Florence, and Rome were extremely close in terms of popularity.
Region Data Review
The most popular pickup city in each region represented over 5% of bookings from each region. Based on our data and discussed in further detail below, travelers originating in the Northeast and West most frequently added flexibility to their trip by securing a rental car.
Travelers from the Northeast rented the most cars abroad this summer, representing 32% of all bookings. New Yorkers lead the pack with over 11% of the U.S. summer rentals. Rome was the top ranked pickup destination for travelers from this region. This region was the only region to include Lisbon within their top 5 pickup cities, with 5.2% of rental car pickups in Portugal’s hilly capital.
This group of travelers made up 16% of all U.S. reservations abroad and most frequently picked up their rental vehicle in Paris. In the Southeast, Floridians booked the most rental cars at 6.7% of the U.S. total and Mississippi accounted for less than 1% of total bookings. Overall the race for the most popular pickup city from travelers in this region was a close one, as the spread between the top ranked pick up destination and the 5th was divided by less than 1%. U.S. travelers that picked up their rental in Paris most frequently secured a Compact Car.
Representing over 13% of total U.S. bookings for the 3 month period, the Midwest was the only region to select Dublin as their top location to pickup a rental car. Illinois residents booked the most rental cars from this region at 3.6% of all U.S. rentals abroad. This region had the largest spread of popularity amongst the top 5 cities with the top ranked Dublin ranking almost 3% more popular than the 5th most popular location, London.
With the fewest states of any American region (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas), travelers from the Southwestern U.S. accounted for just 7% of U.S. summer rentals abroad. Texans booked the most rental cars at 4.4% of the country’s total. The Southwest was the only region to rank Florence as their top pickup destination city at just under 7% of all bookings from the region. This is the highest percentage of bookings for any number one ranked city. The largest portion of rental cars in Florence, the first city in all of Europe to have paved streets, were categorized as a Mid-sized vehicle based on data collected on all U.S. reservations.
The West region made a strong showing with over 30% of U.S. bookings abroad. The region includes the state that booked the most and least rental cars abroad this summer. Californians booked the most out of any state claiming over 18% of the car rentals and residents of Wyoming booked the least at .06% (almost a tie with North Dakota). As with residents of the Southeast, Western residents chose Paris as their preferred rental car pickup city.
One of the most notable international car rental trends in 2015 versus the same period during 2014 was the signification drop in average rental rates. This made renting a car a more affordable option for U.S. outbound travelers.
Rental Rates Review by City
Comparing the average retail price of a Mid-Sized vehicle in the most popular pickup cities, we see rental rates this summer were dramatically lower than they were 2014. Travelers renting a vehicle in Florence experienced the highest reduction in price year over year with rates dropping over 24%. Rome was the most expensive city to rent a vehicle this summer and last and visitors to London, experienced the least expensive rental rates both this summer and last.
Rental Rates Review by Country
Next we compared the fluctuations in price of a 7 day rental of a Compact Car in the 5 most popular pickup countries for summer 2014 to 2015 based on bookings made by U.S. residents. Rental rates in Italy decreased considerably in 2015 with a 36% drop in price. Even with the large reduction in price, rentals in that country were the most expensive of any country overall, a designation that Italy also received last year. Rental rates in the United Kingdom continued to be the least expensive selection this summer as they were last summer.
The numbers clearly show U.S. travelers are increasingly adventurous and happy to navigate the streets of a foreign country by car. Based on the strong dollar against the Euro and global travel trends, Fall 2015 is expected to exceed 2014 as well.
About Auto Europe
With over 60 years in the rental car industry, Auto Europe has been helping travelers find the lowest car rental rates around the world. Our deep understanding of the complexities of renting cars abroad paired with our 24/7 availability of rental experts allows us to provide the best service in the industry before, during and after a rental. Let us find you the best rate on a car rental for your next trip abroad. For more information on car rental trends and today’s low rates visit www.autoeurope.com.