Skift Take

So far, it looks like safety and security concerns won't deter North American travelers from renting cars in Europe this summer. This could change once Q2 bookings data are released, though.

Despite security concerns, a new report on car rental bookings from Auto Europe shows that the number of North American vacationers renting cars will continue to increase in Europe.

While booking data from the first quarter of 2016 reflects only a few days following the March 22 attack in Brussels, data for advance bookings shows travelers are planning on renting cars this summer for longer periods than last year.

“We did see a bit of a shift as France had some headwinds and there was certainly a more pronounced impact on rentals across Europe after Brussels,” said Scott Braun, Auto Europe’s chief marketing officer. “The million dollar question, of course, is how long that impact will remain or whether things essentially return to normal.”

Rome, Dublin, Paris, and Florence saw average rental duration increase year-over-year, while trip duration dropped in London.

The usual cities will dominate European car rentals in 2016, with one surprise: attractive pricing in Dublin has led to a major boost in interest from North American vacationers.

“Of course Europe’s premier travel destinations like London, Paris and Rome remain some the largest pickup centers by volume,” said Braun. “But there have also been some shifts. For Q1 Dublin actually saw the most rentals from Americans. We see three factors that drove this. First, travel to Ireland is up with numerous direct flights and competitive airfares. Second, car rentals in Ireland have never been more competitively priced, so it likely has expanded the market. Third, car rentals in Ireland are really concentrated in Dublin, representing a higher percent of the total country rentals than say, Paris, would represent in France.”

The report also presents data on which European cities led the pack in terms of North American rental car bookings in the first quarter of 2016.

London, Paris and Milan saw decreased rental car pickups in the first quarter of 2016, while Dublin and Amsterdam saw increased pickups.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes compared to last year.

Q1 2016 Top European Pickup Cities Q1 2015 Top European Pickup Cities
1.Dublin 1.Paris
2.Paris 2.London
3.London 3.Dublin
4.Rome 4.Milan
5.Milan 5.Rome
6.Amsterdam 6.Munich
7.Munich 7.Frankfurt
8.Geneva 8.Geneva
9.Lisbon 9.Lisbon
10.Madrid 10.Nice

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Tags: auto europe, car rentals, europe

Photo credit: A Dublin, Ireland, driver in 2013. Raúl Villalón / Flickr

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