The Omio Mobility Report: Winter Travel Trends 2022/23

How travel has evolved

As travel restrictions across the globe lift, the world continues to change. For instance, we see an economic downturn affecting many industries, the transportation sector included, and a simultaneous rebound in travel intent with the resuming of international and long-haul travel. 

While we believe travel will continue to remain an incredibly important part of life, it will inevitably change, as consumers prioritise saving costs and transport providers adapt to rising fuel costs and pilot/driver shortages. At the same time, technology is altering travel habits and sustainability as a travel consideration is gaining more weight.

At Omio, we have been monitoring our booking data and observing behaviour shifts, looking at how external, global factors impact consumers’ travel decisions. In this report, we’ve dug into our Q1 2023 data – looking at different modes and geographies – to get a better grasp on how the act of travelling has shifted when compared to 2019.

Revenge travel is just a buzzword; consumers are travelling more and more, with no let-up in sight.

The Omio Group – Omio Travel (B2B & B2C) and Rome2Rio – is in a unique position in the travel industry. We offer consumers the chance to search, compare and book different types of transport (train, bus, flight, ferry and airport transfers) across the globe. We can see that when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted, travel did indeed boom. But this boom wasn’t a pent-up demand that died away; across the world, consumers continue to book trips. 

This graph shows the percentage increase in searches on Rome2Rio. From 20219 to 2023, there has been a 133% increase.

In fact, our revenue reflects this and is up 200% compared to 2019.

The Omio Group is confident that, despite the new challenges the world is facing, travel will continue to get stronger and remain an important element of the global economy.

The desire to travel never left, but now people are able to move freely and bookings are increasing. Our search data shows people are looking for travel more frequently, and then are more likely to follow through and book trips. We are very happy to share that, as of the start of 2023, the Omio Group has seen a 200% growth in revenue since the same period in 2019.

Naren Shaam, CEO and Founder, Omio Group

Winter travel trends and behaviours 2022-3

Travel has evolved since 2019, and these are the behaviours you need to know

As shown in our previous Mobility Report, travel has evolved in the past years, and the data below shows that it is continuing to do so. In this report, we have chosen to highlight a handful of insights we find particularly relevant. We encourage you to see them as puzzle pieces that can fit together to tell a much bigger story. Happy reading!

Empty airport
1. Flight prices have increased substantially, as train costs remain consistent
Looking at our top 100 most booked routes, we can see that there has been a 58% increase in the amount spent per flight booking by our consumers (down 14% from last summer). Meanwhile, the amount consumers spent on the same route when travelling by train was 3% lower when compared to the same period in 2019. Stable rail prices could be caused by various factors, such as new EU policy that enforces competition in the rail sector, as well as increased consumer confidence in advanced bookings.
Friends at a train station
2. Consumers are searching for train journeys more and then actually booking them
Searches for train travel have increased significantly, and are 98% higher than in 2019. But it’s not just searches that have increased, we see consumers actually booking more train travel, too with train bookings 8% higher than in 2019. In comparison, flight searches are up 220% but bookings are down by 50%.
Young women arriving to room with bunk beds, at youth hostel
3. Travellers are making decisions based on cost, but are conscious about sustainability
Via an Omio survey, we asked consumers what factor they consider as top priority when booking travel: 55% said cost was the most important factor, travel time was key for 30%, and 12% said sustainability was the top deciding factor (which a significant increase compared to a 2021 Omio survey, which showed sustainability was a deciding factor for just 2% of respondents).
Young Asian woman sitting on deck chair in the balcony, using laptop on lap at home. Surrounded by beautiful houseplants. Lifestyle and technology
4. People are slowly returning to old habits of booking travel further in advance
Through the pandemic, there was a significant shift away from advance bookings (for obvious reasons…) but in the last six months, we are seeing a slow-but-steady increase in the number of advanced bookings (of over one month in advance). At the height of the pandemic, advance bookings were down 94% compared to 2019, now it’s down by just 18%.
Seas and islands surround the sandy beach of Koh Hong in Krabi, Thailand.
5. Long-haul and international travel interest is resuming
As our traffic and revenue data above shows, travel is growing, and is being pushed up by the return of international travel. We specifically see growing interest in the Asian and Latin American markets. In Asia, India and the Philippines sit at the number one and number two spots with Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore rotating in spot three. In Latin America, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia hold the top three spots.

Travel trends in depth

At the Omio Group, we have a lot of data. In order to ensure a clear insight into the trends we’re seeing, we have selected only the most relevant data. But you can always get in touch to ask for more complex data breakdowns (by transport type, country or both!).

1. Flight prices have increased further, as train costs remain remarkably consistent

Modal spend: Trains vs. flights—how has the cost of travelling changed?

What the data shows: We took a look at the top 100 routes booked on Omio in 2019 and compared the average basket size of these routes for train and flight journeys (basket size means the amount a consumer spent per booking). We found that the average spend on rail journeys has dropped by 3% when compared to Q1 2019, while the average cost for flights has increased by 58%.

One explanation for more stable rail prices is that many of our top 100 most popular routes are in the European countries of Spain, Italy and France, where increased rail competition has been shown to keep rail prices lower. Another could be that consumers are booking rail travel further in advance.

0 item(s) selected
Q1 2019 0% 0%
Q2 2019 24% 12%
Q3 2019 29% 10%
Q4 2019 20% 5%
Q1 2020 12% 3%
Q2 2020 4% -15%
Q3 2020 -14% -14%
Q4 2020 -19% -20%
Q1 2021 -9% -20%
Q2 2021 -1% -1%
Q3 2021 12% 6%
Q4 2021 29% 12%
Q1 2022 22% 3%
Q2 2022 75% 11%
Q3 2022 72% 9%
Q4 2022 59% 3%
Q1 2023 58% -3%
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

🇩🇪 Germany: When looking at all of our bookings by consumers in Germany, we see that the average spend per train journey has increased by 19%, while the average amount spent per flight in Q1 2023 has increased to 169% compared to Q1 in 2019. 

🇬🇧 United Kingdom: British travellers spent 3% more per train journey in Q1 2023 than in Q1 2019, while they paid – on average – 71% more for flights for the same period.

 

2. Consumers are searching for train journeys more – and then actually booking

Search data: What are travellers searching for when planning trips?

What the data shows: There has been a significant increase in searches for travel in the last six months for both flights and train travel. Flight searches are up 223%, and train searches are up 98%.

Booking data: Do people actually book what they’re searching for?

What the data shows:  The above Rome2Rio data shows a significant increase in searches for trains, and we see from the Omio booking data that consumers are booking more trips by rail. When looking at the top 100 routes booked on Omio in 2019, we see a significant modal shift. There’s a 20% increase in train bookings for these top routes and a 54% decrease in the number of flights booked. (Note that Rome2Rio search data is global, and Omio’s top 100 most booked routes are predominantly in Europe.)

0 item(s) selected
Q1 2019 0 0
Q2 2019 3 8
Q3 2019 134 14
Q4 2019 153 -13
Q1 2020 193 0
Q2 2020 43 -57
Q3 2020 85 -32
Q4 2020 45 -62
Q1 2021 17 -66
Q2 2021 -5 -77
Q3 2021 47 -75
Q4 2021 10 -77
Q1 2022 1 -78
Q2 2022 -2 -71
Q3 2022 31 -66
Q4 2022 122 92
Q1 2023 223 98
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

0 item(s) selected
Q1 2019 0 0
Q2 2019 -16 0
Q3 2019 -15 -3
Q4 2019 3 -5
Q1 2020 12 -4
Q2 2020 -51 16
Q3 2020 -18 -14
Q4 2020 -15 0
Q1 2021 -33 15
Q2 2021 -47 11
Q3 2021 -52 11
Q4 2021 -48 6
Q1 2022 -41 8
Q2 2022 -49 11
Q3 2022 -53 10
Q4 2022 -53 15
Q1 2023 -54 20
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

3. Travellers are making decisions based on cost, but consumers are more conscious of sustainability

Travel motivation: the most important decision-making factor for consumers when booking travel tickets.

What the data shows: We surveyed a selection of our consumers* to understand what rationale is behind their decision to book their mode of transport. Cost is, by far, the biggest consideration, followed by time, and then by sustainability. Some added that the comfort of travel was also important. It is worth noting that the focus on sustainability as a decision driver has increased in the past year, as only 2% of consumers surveyed for Omio in 2022 stated that “being able to book transportation with low co2 emission” was something they considered when choosing a travel brand. (*There were 311 respondents to our 2023 small-scale survey.)

4. People are slowly returning to old habits of booking travel further in advance

Travel planning: consumers are begining to book travel further in advance (but last-minute bookings are still booming).

What the data shows: Through the pandemic, there was a 92% drop in bookings made more than 2 months in advance; as of Q1 2023, we see that advanced booking numbers are just 18% below where they were in Q1 2019, showing a cautious return to advanced bookings. However, last-minute bookings are still incredibly popular, and there was a 73% increase in bookings made on the same day in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2019. This shows how booking habits have evolved, as while travellers are resuming travel planning months in advance, perhaps to get the best prices, many are still opting to be spontaneous with their travel.

0 item(s) selected
Q1 2019 0 0 0 0 0 0
Q2 2019 -1 2 0 2 2 -11
Q3 2019 10 17 10 -1 -18 -54
Q4 2019 19 8 5 0 -12 -44
Q1 2020 32 14 4 -13 -24 -21
Q2 2020 36 21 39 -15 -65 -82
Q3 2020 69 34 30 -23 -76 -94
Q4 2020 83 40 27 -31 -79 -92
Q1 2021 92 43 29 -40 -83 -90
Q2 2021 61 28 16 -21 -50 -70
Q3 2021 71 38 17 -22 -64 -88
Q4 2021 77 31 11 -22 -52 -81
Q1 2022 74 27 3 -20 -46 -58
Q2 2022 71 21 -6 -18 -28 -45
Q3 2022 88 36 0 -24 -47 -75
Q4 2022 89 26 -3 -20 -42 -67
Q1 2023 73 14 -11 -19 -26 -18
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

🇩🇪 Germany: In Germany, there are far fewer last-minute bookings, with just a 29% increase in consumers buying same-day tickets compared to 2019. Germans are bang on average with booking in advance, but there has been an increase in bookings made for journeys over two months in advance. In Q1 2021, advance bookings were down 91% while now they are down by 18% when compared to 2019. 

🇬🇧 United Kingdom: Brits are still booking very last minute, and we see same-day bookings are up 75% from 2019. While advance bookings have recovered a little, they are still 26% down compared to Q1 2019.

5. Long-haul and international travel interest is resuming

Search data: Which regions are travellers searching for?

What the data shows: When looking at Rome2Rio’s search data, we are able to understand where travellers want to visit. Through the pandemic, Asia and LATAM had some of the strictest restrictions, and thus we saw a huge drop in searches for these continents. However, in the last year, we have seen significant interest. Compared to 2019, searches to Asian countries are up 300% and searches to LATAM countries are up 258%.

In Asia, the most searched-for countries are India and the Philippines, and third place is tied between Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. In Q1 2023, Japan had the most interest of the four.

In LATAM, the most search interest has very stably been for Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

0 item(s) selected
Q4 2019 0 0 0 0 0
Q1 2020 128 127 137 83 101
Q2 2020 19 28 -12 -29 3
Q3 2020 283 139 105 36 68
Q4 2020 72 89 170 63 115
Q1 2021 17 70 98 25 74
Q2 2021 123 177 86 -12 81
Q3 2021 287 236 135 39 16
Q4 2021 175 191 158 103 53
Q1 2022 260 240 212 119 109
Q2 2022 521 343 202 227 159
Q3 2022 639 437 263 280 213
Q4 2022 300 267 212 280 193
Q1 2023 373 301 258 300 222
Row %1$d to %2$d of %3$d

Omio Mobility Report: Summer Travel Predictions 2023

What do our in-house experts think the summer will bring?

In addition to looking back at historic data, we have asked our in-house experts – who track our users’ behaviours daily – what they predict for the upcoming summer travel season.

From more rail travel and an increase in mixed-purpose trips to holidays inspired by films, this is what to watch out for.

Woman planning a trip
1. Travel will continue to increase, and will serve more than one purpose
“Travel intent is stronger than ever, and we will have people travelling more and more due to a mix of factors. For instance, people are more exposed to travel inspiration online, and working from home will cause people to seek out more social and stimulating holidays. Additionally, the purpose of a trip will become multiple, and travellers will book business travel and bring family or meet friends to add a leisure element. Remote and flexible working shifts - meaning locations are no longer as fixed - will build on this, and we will see longer trips being taken as people are happy to blend business and leisure.”
Bridge over water that is reflecting sunset
2. A mix of external factors will cause train travel to become a popular alternative to short-haul flights
“Consumers are looking to make more sustainable choices, but ultimately cost is still the main deciding factor for most. Given that rail prices have been more stable, we believe that consumers will - when given better access to information via platforms such as Omio and Rome2Rio - feel more confident booking train travel of around 4 hours (where previously short-haul flights would have been booked, thus ultimately making more sustainable choices which also benefit their wallets.”
Woman on phone by a train
3. New rail providers in Europe will help to keep train prices stable
“More and more rail providers are beginning to operate in multiple European countries. This new competition will help keep prices stable, which will also help encourage more consumers to take longer-distance rail journeys as the cost of these journeys compared to short-haul flights will become more interesting and enticing.”
Ancient structure by water
4. Digital content will drive destination choice
“TV and film locations have long acted as inspiration for travellers (think Dubrovnik thanks to Game of Thrones). In 2023, as international travel resumes and the world again becomes the proverbial oyster, we think this trend will continue to grow and consumers will seek out more and more destinations they have seen - and daydreamed about - on their screens (from Emily in Paris and Ted Lasso to Black Panther and White Lotus).”
Two women laughing on a train
5. Stable pricing will appeal to cost-conscious travellers
“As travellers regain confidence in booking further ahead, stability of rail pricing will be a big draw. It’s not just that rail is becoming ever more competitive against soaring prices for air travel, people will value knowing the price they’re paying is the best available and they won’t pay more by booking today."

How was the data collected:

Data was collected from the Omio platform via the tool Tableau and via Rome2Rio using Google Analytics. All booking data has been indexed against Q1 2019 (unless otherwise specified) and increases/decreases are shown as percentages against this time frame. This is because Omio is a privately held company and does not publicly disclose total booking numbers, revenue or gross booking values.

For more detailed, country-specific insights, please contact the press team: press@omio.com 

Emily McDonnell

Emily McDonnell

Corporate Communications

Elaine Azlin

Elaine Azlin

Head of Consumer PR