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This is how COVID-19 changed travel (and how it didn’t); Omio launches the European Mobility Report

An insight into travellers’ habits through the COVID-19 pandemic, from Jan 2019 to Dec 2021 and beyond.

  • While the pandemic caused a 98% loss in revenue for Omio overnight, we saw a slow but steady return of travel, with people adapting their travel behaviours, rather than avoiding it   
  • There was a marked difference in the way different countries adapted to the pandemic; Italians were more cautious about returning to travel again, and Germans were one of the few countries where international travel rebounded strongly
  • Short-haul flights are being avoided (with a corresponding increase in the use of ground transportation), plus people are travelling shorter distances more generally

Berlin, 24 May 2022: Omio, the leading travel platform to compare and book trains, bus and flights, launches its first EU Mobility Report to assess the way the pandemic impacted the travel industry, both consumer behaviour and business operations. 

As we become accustomed to a new normal following the outbreak of the global pandemic in 2020, we wanted to take a look back at our data in order to assess the role of travel in an altered world and to see how travel habits have shifted. Omio is in a unique position to do so, as we sell tickets for trains, buses, flights and ferries in 37 different countries. We believe that, for travel to fully rebound in a responsible way that is empowering for travellers, we need to be open and transparent with our data. 

The report, which assesses data from 01/01/2019 to 30/12/2021 on a global scale and with country or mode specific deep-dives, highlights eight high-level travel trends across Europe, including the following:

#1: Travel and tourism are important for people: When markets reopen, people immediately re-start travelling. 

The steep drop-off in travel bookings at the start of 2020 (during which Omio lost 98% of revenue overnight) was temporary. We now see a significant increase in travel bookings, comparable to 2019 levels; data shows that, as soon as markets reopened, there was an immediate uptick in travel bookings.

#2: People are travelling shorter distances.

Short-haul flight share (of less than 4h) dropped significantly, and we saw a general trend to shorter distances being covered by travellers on trains and buses. Long-distance bus and train travel saw a significant decrease in bookings, suggesting travellers wanted to minimise time in transit. Long distance (800+ km) travel is 25% down to pre-Covid, while mid/long distance (400-800 km) share is also a third lower.

#3: Travel bookings are increasingly made at the last minute.

With uncertainty during the pandemic, Omio has seen last-minute bookings nearly double, with over 20% of trips being booked on the same day that travel is happening. In 2021, the number peaked at around 25%, whereas in 2019, the number was closer to 10%.

Naren Shaam, CEO and Founder of Omio, said: “While the world, to a degree, remains – and will continue to be – an uncertain place, we deeply believe that in 2022 travel will bounce back stronger than before the pandemic. I hope that this report, the first of its kind, will give valuable insights into how the travel industry is continuing to adapt and evolve. We are already seeing a resurgence in travel, which will only get stronger in the coming months, paired with public pressure for more climate-friendly choices. This will force the transportation sector to push for innovative, digital solutions, which better serve these needs of users.” 

The full report, including country-specific statistics and mode-specific data, can be found here.

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Methodology

To get the results of the report, Omio collected aggregated data from all individual bookings made during the specified timeframe 01/01/2019-21/12/2021. Different metrics, such as a monetary volume, distance travelled etc, have been used for different trend sections, and this is noted. Data shown in the report here focuses on quarter on quarter % increases (each quarter is compared with the prior quarter) from Jan 2019 to Dec 2021. The featured date indicates when the data was pulled, and refers to the trailing quarter).