Whether it’s the power of the U.S. dollar, or the Brexit vote, or a general unease about travel to the U.S., searches for U.S. hotels by potential travelers from the UK and European have dropped dramatically compared to the same time last year.
The Brexit vote and its aftermath caused the UK pound to drop to its lowest point against the U.S. dollar and several other major currencies in nearly 30 years.
UK interest in booking a U.S. hotel decreased the most — 53 percent — during the week of June 27, the week after the vote, compared to the same week in 2015. Interest somewhat recovered during the weeks of July 4 and July 11, however, but was still down 44 and 39 percent, respectively. That’s according to nSight, a hotel and destination data company, and the data include searches made with online travel agencies, tour operators, and sites selling packaged travel. The data broadly consider searches for U.S. hotel stays at some point in the future and includes this summer.
Searches by French travelers were down 31 percent the week after the vote while Germany, for example, showed sharp increases in interest with 45 and 66 percent more searches than last year. France and Germany’s searches were down 6.6 and 3.8 percent, respectively, as of last week.
Overall U.S. hotel interest is down 17.7 percent as of last week for all EU countries, excluding the UK, and has been down an average of 20 percent for most weeks since the beginning of June.
UK search interest for other European destinations is even weaker in the weeks after Brexit, down 55 percent year-over-year as of last week.
“Brexit has created uncertainty and any time there’s uncertainty that changes behavior pretty drastically,” said Rich Maradik, nSight’s founder. “Travel interest always comes back but the question is how long will that take?”
Maradik said hotel bookings are also sliding year-over-year as well and reflect what’s happening with searches.
The UK is the largest overseas market for several hotels and destinations, including the U.S., “that’s why we’re looking at the UK as a source market because we’ve already seen that demand for travel to the UK is up significantly after the Brexit vote for many outbound markets.”
International arrivals to the U.S. have shown only moderate growth so far this year but that growth includes markets like China, Japan and Brazil that are gaining market share.
Searches by UK, French, German, Italy and Spanish travelers in June for stays in July, August and September are down 12.9, 15.9 and 28.6 percent, respectively.
European Travelers’ June 2016 Searches for U.S. Hotel Stays
July to September 2016 vs. July to September 2015