Midst the usual welter of end-of-year travel trade press news items and analyses were accounts that suggest that the travelers in the USA’s top two European source markets—Germany and the UK—still sometimes rely on, prefer, and like package tours.
In the UK, British retail and shopper marketing agency Savvy released the results of a survey of more than 1,000 holidaymakers for BBC Radio’s “You & Yours” program which indicated that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said that they were still comfortable with booking a package holiday—this despite the collapse last September of Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest tour operator.
And according to the latest data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) the package holiday market has experience five consecutive years of growth.
In Germany, meanwhile, FVW reported that a survey for the German Travel Association (DRV) showed that slightly less than half (44 percent) of the 1,005 respondents—they had been on a holiday at least once in the past three years—had booked a package holiday, with 94 percent of them indicating that they were satisfied
Also from the survey, which was conducted by the Berlin-based Forsa Institute: the three most important factors for package holiday customers were good value for money (97 percent); reliable help and crisis management from the tour operator (96 percent); and financial protection for unforeseen incidents or cancellations (94 percent).
In addition—in a finding sure to have pleased travel agents—results showed that more than half (57 percent) of the respondents were convinced that advice in a travel agency went beyond what they could research and book for themselves on the internet. While this view is strongest amongst customers aged over 45 but even 50 percent of young people (18 – 29) shared the opinion.
DRV’s president, Norbert Fiebig, took note of the findings at the association’s annual conference as he addressed the impact of the Thomas Cook shutdown, commenting that, “The insolvency of the founder of package holidays is a hard blow and leaves the industry facing serious challenges … Thomas Cook may be bankrupt but package holidays are not.”