As travel bookings are on the increase so car rentals are also showing signs of recovery, particularly in Europe and Australasia, but there is a slowdown in the US

6 July, 2020

As travel bookings are on the increase so car rentals are also showing signs of recovery, particularly in Europe and Australasia, but there is a slowdown in the US.

Leisure travel is definitely showing signs of some recovery with many airlines and airports around the world reporting increases in bookings as borders open and consumer confidence begins to return.

Car rentals are also now showing signs of some recovery, particularly in Europe and Australasia, although growth in the US has temporarily slowed down.

One of the world's leading B2B multimodal travel technology platforms, CarTrawler, has looked at global booking trends and has reported that some regional consumer confidence levels are beginning to build. For the company as a whole they are reporting car rentals increasing across the board by around 15% week-on-week.

In Europe, bookings generally have increased by 8% week-on-week which largely reflects the opening up of borders across Europe. Some countries are doing better than others with bookings in Belgium up 60% on last week, Spain up 88%, Netherlands up 30% and the UK up 27%.

Longer rental periods are also an increasing trend with a year-on-year increase of around 29%. International travel within mainland Europe is also looking stronger with a definite upward tick in international bookings. The percentage of international bookings versus domestic has increased with the share of international in May being 46%, compared to 63% in June.

In Australasia too bookings are increasing with a 44% increase on last week. As the Australian government rolled out its plan to allow domestic interstate travel, bookings saw a significant hike with a +114% week-on-week increase in gross bookings. The majority of these bookings (41%) were made 30-90 days in the future versus just 19% for same period in 2019.

The average duration of a rental has also gone up compared to last year, with 45% of trips booked for 6+ days compared to 27% in 2019. The inability to travel internationally clearly encouraging Australians to consider a longer than normal domestic trip.

However not all countries are showing the same level of recovery. In the US, where COVID-19 continues to spread widely across the country, with some states reporting surges in cases, bookings are down 6.2% week-on-week.

This is also reflected by the lower number of consumers searching for flights and car rentals this week over last week, a drop of 12 percentage points, as consumer caution seems to be creeping in. This drop is not as dramatic when compared to two weeks previously due to a large number of searches in the week commencing 07-Jun-2020. Despite this weekly drop in searches, however, the US still remains ahead of many other markets with reservations up by 34% compared to the lowest point in early April.

Canada, by comparison to the US, remains consistent with a growth of 18% week-on-week although with a drop of 3% in car rental searches week-on-week. The overall growth in Canada is 19% from early April.

This gradual increase in searches and bookings is good news for travel companies desperate to build business back up. It is hoped that this increasing trend continues to rise.