Although the first months of 2016 were tumultuous due to international events and a shaky stock-market, the volume of travel to Europe by U.S. Citizens was up 6.9% for the first two months of this year compared to last based on the March results of the air-travel reports issued by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office. This trend was mirrored in the increase in the number of U.S. residents renting cars abroad during the first quarter.
Q1 2016 Results
Most Popular Pickup Country by State
After analyzing the new car rental bookings made January 1 through March 31, 2016; Italy continues to be the most popular European pickup location booked by US residents, accounting for 22.5 % of all U.S. first quarter bookings, down slightly from 24.5% for all U.S. bookings in 2015. The second & third most popular pickup countries booked by volume are France & Germany, accounting for just over 14% and 8% of all Q1 bookings respectively. Ireland missed ranking in the top 3 by .3%. The map below illustrates the most popular pickup country by state.
Top 10 European Pickup Cities for U.S. Residents in Q1 2016
Based on our data on car rentals picked up in Europe by U.S. residents in the first quarter, the list of top 10 pickup cities shifted slightly since the first quarter of last year. The most notable shift was Dublin’s jump from the 3rd most popular pickup city in Q1 2015 to 1st this year. Also worth noting is the introduction of two new cities to the most popular list with Amsterdam & Madrid replacing Frankfurt & Nice.
Top 10 European Pickup Cities for Canadian Residents in Q1 2016
We also reviewed the top European pickup cities for Canadian residents in the first quarter and found that the list of top 10 pickup cities only shuffled in order from last year. The most notable change is Frankfurt’s drop in popularity year over year from 4th most popular to 10th. The remaining cities only shifted slightly with no other cities moving more than two spots either way.
Booking Trends for Summer 2016 – An Early Bird View
Most Popular Pickup Cities for Summer 2016 (June – August)
With summer fast approaching we were curious to see what the most popular European pickup cities booked by U.S. and Canadian residents are so far. Surprisingly the list of the top 5 most popular pickup cities for summer 2016 based on advanced bookings is relatively consistent with the most popular locations last summer. Rome is unequivocally the most popular pickup location booked for summer 2016 as it was last year at this time. As we mentioned in our year-end results, Rome’s increased popularity may be attributed to the convocation of a Jubilee Holy Year. One subtle difference between the forecasted popularity of cities this summer compared to last is Dublin moving to the 3rd most popular pickup city and London dropping to 5th. Advanced bookings for summer made by U.S. residents are up overall year over year.
Average Duration of Rental for Summer 2016
In terms of trip duration, travelers scheduled to pick up their vehicles this summer have extended their travel slightly in 4 out of the 5 most popular pickup cities. Travelers to London have reduced their duration of rental by over 2 days.
Most Popular Week of Travel for Summer 2015
Based on bookings by U.S. and Canadian residents for summer 2015, the most popular week of summer travel to Europe was June 22-28, 2015 and the second most popular was June 29-July 5, 2015. The least popular week was August 29-Sept 6, 2015 as summer came to a close. We expect to see similar trends for summer 2016.
In alignment with the trends we saw in our early bird snapshot of 2016 trends, the results of the first quarter of 2016 confirm more U.S. travelers are hitting the road while abroad than ever before. We expect that trend to continue as families begin to finalize their summer travel plans.
*All statistics are based on Auto Europe internal data.*
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.