New data for 2022 show that the growth of online booking in Europe since the pandemic is unevenly distributed. The data concerns guest nights in short-term rental accommodations booked through platforms like Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group, or TripAdvisor.
In countries like Poland, France, and Sweden, rural areas have experienced significant growth rates regarding the short-term rentals, whereas urban destinations like Berlin, Prague, and Vienna are still below their 2019 figures.
In 2022, the total number of overnight stays in the EU rose by about 7 percent, from 512 million in 2019 to 547 million in 2022. However, this overall growth masks very different results at the regional level. The data from 2019 is being used for comparison to establish a pre-pandemic baseline.
Eurostat has released data for 2022 at the regional and city levels and national and EU-level data for the first quarter of 2023. The European Commission has agreed with four private collaborative economy platforms to collect this data in March 2020. Regional data is published one quarter after national data, following the agreement’s regulations.
Rural Areas on the Rise
Based on the available data, the growth rates of EU regions with at least moderate tourism significance (i.e., regions with over 1 million overnight stays in 2022) varied greatly, ranging from a decrease of 52% of short-term rentals in Prague to an increase of 93% in Franche-Conte. Of the top ten regions with the highest growth rates, nine were rural areas in France, while other regions with high growth rates were Poland, Germany, and Sweden.
On the other hand, the regions with the most significant losses compared to 2019 were Prague (-52 percent), Berlin (-39 percent), Budapest (-34 percent), and Vienna (-25 percent).
Of Europe’s 20 most popular regions, Spain and France have six, Italy has five, Portugal has two, and Croatia has one. Except for cities like Paris and Madrid, all these regions are located on the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts, making them coastal destinations.
The number of overnight stays in short-term rentals in the EU during the first quarter of 2023 surpassed the previous high levels for the same period in 2020 and 2022. There were 83.9 million overnight stays in short-term accommodation booked through four platforms, an increase from 67.3 million in the first quarter of 2022. The majority of these stays occurred in France (22.0 million), Spain (18.2 million), and Italy (9.7 million).