December travel trends already taking shape

Smith ... revealing December destinations

Sojern has recently released its Q3 Global Travel Insights Report revealing the latest global travel trends from the last quarter but also looking forward to travel trends surrounding the upcoming holiday season. As we get closer to the end of the year, we tend to see a spike in travel intent of those looking to enjoy a number of winter holidays, either heading for snow or seeking sunshine or perhaps just making their way home to celebrate the holiday season with family.

Although we are still some time out, we wanted to look forward to December travel in order to see the early trends that are beginning to evolve. Here we highlight some of the key Middle East and Africa travel intent patterns from not only the last quarter but also for the upcoming holiday season.

Shorter Lead Times:

When we look at Q3 and compare against the rest of the globe, we can see that this region has some of the shortest lead times globally:

42 per cent of Middle Eastern and African travellers searched for trips 14 days or less ahead of their planned departure date. A whopping 28 per cent of travellers searched seven days or less before their planned departure. When we look at North American travellers, only 32 per cent searched 14 days or less before their departure date. There were notable fewer last-minute travellers in Europe with 31 per cent and Latin America had the lowest percentage at only 23 per cent of travellers searching 14 days or less before their planned departure.

We know that there is a perception in the market that consumers in the Middle Eastern and African region have an affinity for impulse buying based on price point and last-minute bookings and the data seems to be echoing this trend.

Earlier December Departures

The most searched departure date in December for both UAE and Middle Eastern travellers is mid-month, on 15th December. Interestingly, this is considerably earlier than European and North American travellers, who favoured 23rd and 26th December.

Turkey Remains a Top Destination

Despite Turkey experiencing a notable loss in tourism this year, the Middle East is bucking a global trend with Turkey entering their top 10 destination list for December.

Looking at top destinations for December travel, Six of the top ten destination cities for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are located in Asia-Pacific, with India holding the largest share of destinations within that list. However, we see far greater diversity in destinations when looking at the Middle East as a whole, with European cities making up four out of the top ten list. The only regional destination on the top destination country list is Pakistan, coming in at tenth position for the UAE.

Long-Haul Travellers Favour London

When we opened up the trends to the whole of the last quarter rather than just December, here is what we found:

We can see from our travel intent data that Istanbul is currently the most searched short-haul destination for travellers for Q4 of 2016. Of course, these trends can fluctuate depending on last-minute travellers. For those Middle Eastern and African travellers looking to head further afield in Q4, London topped the charts. London was also the most searched destination in the previous quarter, Q3.

Sojern is partnering with Women in Travel Meetup at WTM London 2016

By Stewart Smith