A Picture Of Optimism

New research indicates that the tide of Canadian consumer sentiment towards air travel is changing.

Expedia Group — in collaboration with ARC – offers some new insights into emerging Canadian traveller trends — as well as opportunities for travellers to capitalize on.

Following a tumultuous year and a half, IATA has shared its view of a light at the end of the tunnel, fueled largely by the North American domestic market.

Here in Canada, Expedia Group’s data shows that there has been a 210% year-over-year growth in air searches between 2020 and 2021, with Toronto and Vancouver topping the ‘most searched for destinations’ list (20%) by Canadian travellers, trailed by Calgary and Montreal (10%) [1].

The intent to travel domestically is on an upward swing in Canada, with most of these Canadian flights (90%) planned for Q4 2021 – half of which are slated for October.

Julie Kyse, VP, Global Air Partnerships with Expedia Group, observes that: “Expedia Group has been attuned to the momentum of rising travel confidence, and as more and more people are searching for flights on our sites in Q4 into 2022, we want to ensure that our airline partners are prepared as much as they can be to understand and capture this new demand.”

Yet while domestic travel has been the driver fueling the air industry’s recovery, Expedia Group and ARC data points to the return of international travel. Expedia Group Canadian search data revealed that in comparison to 2020, 2021 has seen more interest in international destinations, including London, Delhi, and Las Vegas.

Over the last six months, there has been a consistent climb in the percentage of international short haul flights with August 2021 seeing a 66% increase since February this year, according to ARC [2].

Expedia Group and ARC research also reported on key traveller purchasing behaviours [3]:

  • Premium flight pricing is not rebounding as quickly as economy flight pricing — In 2021, premium tickets were 193% more expensive than economy tickets compared with 2020 where they were 246% more expensive and 2019, at 260% more expensive. So, for travellers hunting for a good deal, 2021 is the year for premium air travel.
  • Airfares booked by Canadian travellers for the first half of 2021 have shown a return to pre-pandemic levels, with the latter half of Q2 into Q3 tracking lower than pre-pandemic levels (and significantly lower than mid-pandemic, 2020, levels). June 2021 shows a 12.9% decrease, July shows a 11.9% decrease and August 2021 shows a 6.4% decrease compared to their respective months in 2019. This reveals that while the airfare pricing levels have dropped steadily, August indicates that Q4 2021 prices are beginning to balance out.

To glean further insight into traveller behaviours, read the Expedia Group’s recently launched Traveler Value Index report here

For findings on air travel, click here.