Brits are Obsessed with the Weather

#HELPME – A unique overview of the most widely discussed travel-related topics by internet users in 11 countries*

•The UK is the only country that features ‘climate conditions’ in its top ten of most discussed topics
•The top three most popular topics on a global level are: air transport, looking for a travel companion, and cruises. Economic concerns also feature, with lots of discussions on bargain travel, camping and loyalty programmes.
•In Europe, travellers also discuss travel agents, rights and laws abroad, and advice on travelling with children.
•In the UK, travellers love their travel equipment and are great brand ambassadors by promoting this on forums.

It’s official: the British are obsessed with the weather, and even more so, when they’re going on holiday. According to the #HelpMe research from Allianz Global Assistance which looked at almost seven million comments on 88 travel forums and blogs, the main concern for travellers from the 11 countries it studied, including the UK, is air travel. Discussions under this topic included airline companies, planes and airports.

However, judging by the almost 2 million posts from Britons in the same time period, the UK is the only country to feature ‘climate conditions’ in its top 10 most discussed topics; they want to know the weather forecast before they travel.

After airlines and air travel, UK travellers discuss travel equipment the most, putting it much higher than the world average of 8th place or 9th for Europe. In particular, they are happy to give feedback on new travel technology and keen to recommend their favourite brands.

British travellers are keen to share their knowledge, giving advice and top tips on a range of subjects, including road trips, travelling alone, budget holidays and travelling with disabilities. And of all the nationalities studied, UK honeymooners seem most likely to consider their post-nuptial getaway to be a trip of a lifetime. Honeymoons and romance is the 12th most discussed category in the UK. Many British travellers ask for advice and want to plan as much as they can, asking about the weather, prices and other people’s experiences.

Local Quirks Across the Globe
Some themes only appear in a single country, such as weather in the UK. China asks questions on ‘travelling with parents’, whilst the French appear to be the only ones concerned with ‘All-inclusive hotels and packages’ and ‘Bike tours’. Americans want advice on ‘car rental’ and ‘safety and security’, but the Polish are interested in ‘mountain holidays’ and ‘holiday camps’. In Spain, they ask questions about ‘Guides, drivers and taxi drivers’, but Italians want ‘holidays excluding air transportation’. Afraid of missing out on something interesting, Australians ask about ‘must see’ locations, whereas Austrians look for ‘outstanding destinations’ and Germans appear to be interested in ‘diving’.

The World’s Top 10 Travel Concerns
On average, the main concern for travellers from the 11 countries studied is air travel. They discuss airline companies and aeroplanes as well as airports. Several discussions also look at luggage (weight, size), objects not allowed on board, etc. This topic tops the list of themes discussed in Spain, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom while Americans are primarily concerned with airline companies’ loyalty and mileage programmes.

Travel forums, which are neither dating sites nor marriage agencies, are often used by women to seek companions with whom they can travel safely. They want travel partners who know the destination country and can provide guidance and reassurance. These search terms are very common particularly in China, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands (amongst top results of the Top 10).

In light of economic pressure, cruises are also a widely discussed theme amongst travellers wishing to maintain full control over their budgets and to travel in comfortable conditions. However, although cruises are a point of interest for France, Germany and Italy, they do not feature in the Top 10 for the USA or Australia and feature only in 10th position in China. From a similar economic perspective, bargain travel, camping and how to get the most out of airline companies’ loyalty schemes take 4th, 5th and 6th place in the World Top 10. These topics are particularly discussed in the Netherlands and in Italy.

Travel agencies (7th) are the subject of highly animated discussions. Tourism professionals are certainly looking closely at these discussions, which offer them the best possible study of customer satisfaction and reputation.

Eighth in the World Top 10 is equipment, which includes luggage, clothing, tents, etc. This concerns many travellers who want to be comfortable but also want to travel light. This is particularly true for China and the United Kingdom.

Ninth in the World Top 10 (shared across some European countries) is moving abroad to study or work. Internet users (often young people) seek advice on studying, standard of living, accommodation, obtaining long-term visas, etc. This theme was seen in some European countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands) where people seek better economic conditions in rapidly developing countries.

The Top 10 finishes, quite naturally, with questions on local rights and laws: visas, ID papers, passport renewal, driving licenses, commercial possibilities, local taxes, etc.

Aurelie Honeysett, Digital Expert for Allianz Global Assistance in the UK comments, “It’s clear from the #HELPME findings , that UK travellers want to know what to expect from the weather, wherever they go and they also like to share their knowledge with fellow globetrotters. The study also highlights incredible diversity between our European neighbours, as well as travellers as far afield as China and the US. Internet forums offer holidaymakers a wealth of information and advice, as they plan their trip, underlining the importance of professional support and advice once they reach their destination.”

The #HelpMe research focuses on 11 countries: eight European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) as well as Australia, China and the United States. For each of these countries, between five and ten travel forums were selected from the most highly ranked sites, featuring a total of several million comments over the five year period. A close analysis of these comments and their classification into different themes reveal the wide diversity of subjects and concerns which vary from one geographical area to another.