Europe’s leading train booking site, Voyages-sncf.com, has recently commissioned a survey from Atomik Research about European travel habits and the results have shown that, in the majority of cases, we all – somewhat surprisingly – share strikingly similar likes/dislikes about our holidays – whether we are German, Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Belgian or Italian. With 7,000 frequent traveller respondents drawn from various socio-economic groups in seven countries, we are united by a common goal – to simply chillax on our holidays (overall 58% European-sample-average*).
What makes us travel – When asked why do you travel, 37% of Brits said it was a desire to experience new cultures and destinations – a feeling echoed across Europe by all but the Germans who travel to forget about their work (29%). For the over 55’s, it’s all about visiting family and friends (24.11%) and its the women who are the driving force here. The British, Spanish, Belgians and Germans think with their hearts and have romance in mind when they book a trip. The young Spanish start the ball rolling with the other Europeans getting more romantic as they get older.
Feel red-faced – The most embarrassing thing for most travellers is missing their stop (European-average 33%) whilst nearly 1 in 5 Germans and Brits alike feel read faced at being woken up by the sound of their own snoring! Waking up to the sound of your own snoring embarrasses both men and women alike across Europe with the Brits and Germans feeling the most mortified. Those older are more likely to find this embarrassing especially if a lady.
The price is right – Budget conscious travel has shown up as a key factor when travelling with over half (53%) of Brits booking long in advance of travel (27% booking between 3 & 6 months in advance). This trait is echoed by our European neighbours with an over 70% average following suit. The Dutch are the most creative with saving money tips with 13% wearing multiple sets of clothing to save on baggage costs and one in 5 Italians have shared their travelling companion’s food to cut down on café costs. When it comes to setting a budget it’s the Brits, Spanish and Belgians who break the bank every time and forget to limit their spend!
Holiday gripes – Children running wild is the UK’s biggest gripe when travelling (38%), a sentiment echoed by the Spanish (27%) and the Dutch (24%). On the other hand, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this point simply didn’t register with the child-loving Italians. The older travellers of Europe find loud calls on mobile phones the most irritating! The Dutch, Italians, Spanish and Belgians like to flex their muscles when en route to a destination and hate sitting still in one place. Packing is universally the most hated part of taking a holiday with the over 55’s with the British and Italian youth finding it bothersome. What else comes close? Well, even the idea of a holiday is stressful to Spanish youth whilst for the Italians, they wish their holiday would simply never end.
Train travel is the continental favourite – Our European neighbours found that train travel was the answer to the stress of travel. The survey shows that travelling by rail tends to have a calming influence, so given that a third of British travellers (29%) said that the lack of traffic was the greatest thing about train travel, it comes as no surprise that rail roving is enjoying something of a resurgence amongst the Brits. The key thing that Europeans want when travelling by trains is glorious scenery so they can watch the world go by. Young Germans love WIFI as do young British travellers who enjoy arriving in the centre of towns and cities, a sentiment echoed by Spanish and Dutch silver surfers who enjoy being in the thick of things.
Where we research – 57% of Brits prefer to take holiday advice from friends, family & colleagues whilst other Europeans prefer Google (Europe-wide average 71%). The Swiss are the only nation who ask work colleagues for their destination recommendations in any great numbers (21%). Belgian (15%) and Italian (17%) travellers are much more likely to take travel advice from Facebook than any of the other countries. Surprisingly, its the young men in Italy and Germany who are most likely to be swayed by their friends’ holiday uploads. In the UK and Spain, students are most likely to get their information from magazines and newspapers with men hitting the newsagents more than women.
One centre or multi-centre – The Brits prefer to stay in one place when on holiday (48%) to probably simply relax after what the survey shows, was a journey made by road or air (65%). Interesting really as the British – and the Belgians and Germans – cite no traffic as a major advantage of rail travel. For their European neighbours, they prefer to use the destination as a base whilst exploring the area (42% Europe-wide average). Even though they should be back at their studies, British Students are taking their holidays in the Autumn along with the older Swiss. The Dutch and Italian empty nesters take their holidays as the buds begin to bloom with more woman than men putting a spring in their step.
Photo credit thanks to: iStock: Squaredpixels / Imgorthand / Martinan / AleksandarNakic / Dirima / Massonstock / franckreporter / pixdeluxe / Justin Horrocks / DragonImages / mabe123 / Nikada / TARIK KIZILKAYA / Juanmonino / rosipro / NiseriN / Full
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The research was undertaken by Atomik Research on behalf of Voyages-sncf.com, on a representative sample of 7,000 respondents aged 18+ based in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Switzerland and Belgium who are active travellers – in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations.
Fieldwork: 29 July – 03August 2016.
Methodology: online survey – Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS certified researchers and abide to MRS code.
About voyages-sncf.com: Voyages-sncf.com is a subsidiary of the French National Railway Company SNCF and an expert in railway travel to Europe and French destinations. It is a key player in the European tourism industry employing up to 1,000 people across its European business. In 2015, the group sold 83 million tickets with annual sales revenue of €4.32 billion, across more than 30 countries. Voyages-sncf.com comprises 15 websites in 8 languages, mobile sites and apps and an integrated call centre service.
About SNCF: Present in 120 countries, SNCF is a world leader in mobility and logistics. Its total workforce of 250,000 generated revenue of €31.4 billion in 2015, with over 33% of sales from markets outside France. A public sector group dedicated to public service, SNCF builds on its foundations in rail to offer a broad range of services, delivering seamless door-to-door mobility for transport and logistics operators, passengers and the regional and local governments that are its organizing authorities.