As with everyone in the travel industry, we are interested in trends that may help determine how 2016 will come to a close. According to air travel reports issued by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel & Tourism Office, U.S. traffic to Europe is up 6.9% with August being the 4th consecutive month to see record travel. In the report below we provide insights into the travel trends for the remainder of 2016 and the first half of 2017. We also review the rental rates and the most popular pickup destinations for the third quarter. *All statistics are based on Auto Europe internal data.*
Q4 2016 Trends
In reviewing the trends in advanced bookings for Q4 made by U.S. & Canadian residents, it looks as though Dublin will be in a tight race with Rome to be selected as the most popular pickup destination for the fourth consecutive quarter. Paris, the most popular pickup destination in Q4 2015 has dropped to fourth most popular and is only slightly beating out London.
According to our data, travelers are taking advantage of reduced rental rates (see the Q3 Car Rental Rate Comparison section below) by choosing to extend their travel by an average of just about half a day. Interestingly those travelers planning to pick up a rental car in Paris have opted to extend their rental duration by the greatest rate of 1.7 days.
In reviewing rental rates for the trending most popular countries based on advanced bookings, travelers to 3 out of the 5 most popular countries, Italy, France & Spain will book a rate that is on average 14% lower than Q4 last year. This is based on comparing the rental rates of the most popular car category in each country. Those renting the most popular car class in France for 7 days, a compact, will secure a rate that is 20+% lower than the same time last year. Those renting a mid-size vehicle in Italy for 7 days will receive a rate that is 11+% lower than last year. Travelers in Great Britain planning to rent the most popular compact category vehicle for 7 days can expect to pay almost 20% more than the Q4 2015.
Early 2017 Trends
Based on advanced booking made by September 30 2016 for European travel between January 2017 and June 2017, Ireland & Italy are in a tight competition for the most popular pickup destination. Compared to advanced bookings made by September 30,2015 the top 5 most popular countries varies slightly with Italy ranking most popular followed by France, Great Britain, and Germany narrowly beating out Spain.
Q3 July-September Results
Q3 Car Rental Rate Comparison
Travelers in Q3 experienced a significant savings in rental rates compared to Q3 2015. This is based on a comparison of the rental rate of a 7 day compact car with inclusive insurance on bookings made by U.S. residents. Rates were an average of almost 7% lower in the five most popular pickup countries for that type of vehicle, with rates in Germany dropping by a significant 26% in Q3 compared to Q3 2015. Of the top 4 pickup countries, rates in France were the least expensive and rates in Portugal were the most expensive. It is worth noting however, that the rate for a 7 day compact car with basic insurance in Portugal was 12% lower in Q3 2016 than in 2015.
Q3 Top 10 European Pickup Cities for U.S. Residents
For the 3rd consecutive quarter, Dublin continues to dominate the list of top 10 European pickup cities for U.S. residents, beating the 2nd ranked city by a large margin. Although the rankings in Q3 have only shifted slightly since last quarter, the ranks compared to the same time-frame last year have changed considerably with Madrid climbing 4 positions to round out the top 10 and Dublin & Rome ousting Paris & Florence from the top 2 spots. Noticeably missing from the list is Nice which experienced a significant drop in popularity likely attributed to the July attacks.
Q3 Top 10 European Pickup Cities for Canadian Residents
The top 10 pickup cities for Canadians has remained consistent year over year for the third quarter with no shift among the ranks in the top 5. There has been however, movement among the 6-10 ranked cities with Glasgow moving up 2 positions to oust Nice out of the top 10. Compared to the same time period last quarter, the top 6 spots remain unchanged.
Most Popular Pickup Country by State
Although one of the most colorful maps since last summer, Italy continues to be the most popular European pickup location booked by U.S. residents, accounting for 23% of all U.S. bookings made in Q3. As in the past, France & Great Britain are the 2nd & 3rd most popular pickup countries in Q3 2016, accounting for 16% and almost 12% of all bookings respectively. Ireland & Germany rounded out the top 5 most popular pickup destinations, with Ireland again beating out Germany by a slight margin.
Based on the trends for Q4, we to expect travel to Europe to continue to increase as the dollar remains strong and the holiday & winter travel season approach.
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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.