Europe's travel market is forging ahead with renewed vigor as the region's travel bookings reach record highs. According to an upcoming Phocuswright European and Global Edition report, total European gross travel bookings surpassed their pre-recession peak in 2012 and are projected to hit a record €251.4 billion in 2013. Despite mixed economic conditions across European markets, the region as a whole has turned a critical corner.
"Economies like Spain and Italy continue to cast a shadow over more robust markets such as the U.K. and Germany," says Luke Bujarski, Phocuswright's director, research. "But Europe's travel players are beginning to put the recovery phase behind them and focus on growth drivers for the coming years."
Europe's online travel market will continue to grow faster than the total travel market, averaging 8% annual growth through 2015. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets – projected to capture one fifth of online travel gross bookings by 2015 – will play a key role in fueling online gains.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) are projected to grow faster than supplier websites over the next two years, although they will still represent a minority (41%) of online bookings by 2015. OTAs' distinct advantage in leveraging the mobile channel, paired with their ability to aggregate Europe's sizeable but fragmented lodging supply, will fuel double-digit OTA growth through 2015.