150 days out: how the Olympic Games affect travel

Holger Taubmann

Senior VP Distribution, Amadeus IT Group

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Our Olympic travel analysis (the Amadeus guide to Olympic travel trends by ForwardKeys) of all in-bound Olympic flights for London confirms these ...



With only 150 days to go until the Olympic games and Paralympic games, it is estimated that over 29 days almost 12 million people will descend on London’s doorstep, turning an already bustling metropolis into an even greater hive during the Olympic games.

Our Olympic travel analysis (the Amadeus guide to Olympic travel trends by ForwardKeys) of all in-bound Olympic flights for London confirms these expectations with a massive spike in expected arrivals (143% increase compared to the same day 2011) on 26 July, the day before the opening of the Olympic Games.

But where will they be coming from, and how will they be travelling?

These questions drove us to look at how the Olympic games impact travel. In conjunction with Forward Data SL, a market research and consulting company publishing ForwardKeys, we took a look at actual Olympic flight booking data currently available – covering the period from 23 July through to 12 August 2012.



What we found is there is an early appetite for the Olympic Games, with travel to London set to be 31% higher than last year. Leading the charge are the Americans who represent 17% of scheduled arrivals. However, Germans are in hot pursuit representing 11% of expected visitors. But it is Estonia which is recording the largest increase in expected Olympic travel to London with a fourteen-fold increase during Games time. These far out long-haul bookings tend to be made first, so we could see short-haul nations increasing their share of Olympic flights closer to the event.

The research demonstrates the global impact of the Olympic Games as other European cities that are linked to London by high speed rail have registered surges in arrivals during the period of the Games. Future scheduled air arrivals in Brussels are up 49% compared to 2011; Amsterdam 28%; and Paris 5%.

These figures suggest that travellers are flying not just into London but also into other European hubs and then taking high speed rail under the English Channel, into London. The increasing use of air and high speed rail together is a trend being rapidly driven by improvements in technology, for example travel agents are now selling the two modes of transport together, from a single comparison screen.

Eurostar is contained within the Amadeus GDS and can be viewed and easily compared alongside airlines when bookings are being made. Amadeus has over 103 rail providers and 404 airlines within its system. We are investing a lot of time and energy discovering how travellers can search for and book Olympic travel across different modes of transport.

This is something we expect to see a lot more of as airlines and rail providers drive forward plans to make the customer journey easier and more joined up. For example, Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa as well as Air France and SNCF already partner to enable single tickets to be purchased for the entire journey. The global air travel industry has been doing this for a number of years, and today close to 20% of the bookings we process at Amadeus are these types of partnership booking. In case you missed it, find more information about where the air travel hotspotsare in our infographic.

We are planning further updates on how these trends develop so stay tuned to see how the Olympic Games are affecting our travel industry.


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