Shutdown of Thomas Cook Did not Hurt: Tour operators increased their revenues by 2 percent in the tourism year ending October 31, 2019, the DRV announced at its annual conference in Hamburg this week. This included a slight 1 percent rise in revenues for summer 2019. The figures are based on monthly surveys of travel agency and online sales of tour operator holidays, conducted by the Nuremberg-based market researcher firm Travel Data & Analytics (TDA) ©Travel Intelligence. They were announced at the recent conference of the German Travel Association (DRV).
In addition to the wealth of mostly good news about the retail sector, it was announced that a beneficiary of the strong performance among long-haul destinations was the USA (+7 percent) and along with Mexico (+10 percent).
From the TDA Report: At the end of October 2019, the 2019 summer season and the 2018/19 tourism year were completed.
—On the “home straight,” travel sales in Germany managed to turn both balance sheets into positive figures: The 2019 summer season ends with a small growth in sales of one percent, the 2018/19 tourism year ended with a plus of two percent. In particular, the new 2019/20 winter season can improve significantly on the previous month.
—Only the early bookers for the coming summer 2020 are lagging behind the previous year (-10 percent), so that the booking month of October closed with an overall increase in turnover of only three per cent.
—With a sales increase of one percent, the 2019 summer season will not only be able to maintain the high growth level of the previous year’s season, but will even slightly exceed it: The summer of 2018 ended with a plus of ten percent. In stationary travel sales, this year’s summer balance is somewhat weaker (-1 percent) than in online travel sales (+7 percent). In the final result for the tourism year, stationary sales reached the break even, while online sales grew by nine per cent in terms of turnover.
—Thanks to last minute growth of 33 percent, the travel month of October 2019 can improve to 8.5 percent more turnover (previous month: 6.7 percent). The allegedly high last-minute traffic only accounts for a small share of the overall seasonal result. After all, it has turned out to be sufficiently high to be able to still increase summer 2019 to rounded plus one percent.
—In the last booking month of the season, 10.5 percent of booking revenues were generated in the summer season, which has now ended. This represents an increase of 2.4 percentage points year-on-year.
—The 10 percent increase in sales for the new winter season is much more significant: cumulated to the current booking level, it now shows only a slight minus of one percent. A month ago, it was still minus four percent.
Summer Ends in Plus; Winter Improves Significantly
—The increasing demand for winter holidays has primarily benefited travel agencies: With them the increase amounts to 12 percent in comparison to only plus three percent in on-line selling.
—A not inconsiderable part of these bookings is probably attributable to those affected by the Thomas Cook bankruptcy, who have booked replacements for their cancelled trips. What might distort the overall picture in the current seasonal balance sheets—summer and winter—are the Thomas Cook cancellations, which are missing for reasons of insolvency law.
—Most of the winter turnover achieved so far (53 percent) is attributable to the early travel months of November (+8.0 percent) and December (+0.2 percent). The sales balance for the travel month of February (+1.9 per cent) has now also turned positive in relation to the current booking status. Although all others were able to improve compared to the previous month, they are still in the minus, which for the later travel months of March and April 2020 is even double-digit. The demand for Easter holidays, which is already visibly increasing in most cases at this time, is lacking.
—The early bookers for the next summer holiday in 2020 are also cautious at the current booking status: the early summer bookings are ten percent below the previous year in terms of turnover, while in the booking month of October 2019 they already account for 39.5 percent of the total turnover in proportion to turnover – however, this is 5.7 percentage points less than in the same month last year. Possible explanations for the reluctance to book beyond the winter months could be general uncertainty among travelers due to the insolvency of one of Germany’s largest tour operators as well as the summer catalogues of other major tour operators which will be published later.