11.10.2019 – 17:01
GCE news mail: German market news week 41
German market news week 41
Please find hereby the weekly market news:
- Central Europe was the big winner in August: According to fvw, Germans were more interested in domestic holidays or nearby destinations than in heading for the Mediterranean in August as the latest fvw Hotel Ranking showed. The clear winners were Germany (+148%), France (+122%), Switzerland (+105%) and Austria (+101%), which all had more than double the number of booking enquiries compared to August 2018, according to the ranking, which is compiled in cooperation with data analysts TrevoTrend and ratings portal HolidayCheck. Winners among the big destinations in Southern Europe included Italy (+67%), Croatia (+56%), Greece (+32%), Spain (+20%), Portugal (+14%) and Turkey (+9%).The main losers, according to the ranking, were Bulgaria (-24%), Cyprus (-16%) and Egypt (-1%). But other North African and Middle Eastern destinations performed better, with stronger interest in Morocco (+47%), the UAE (+47%) and Tunisia (+12%). In terms of hotel recommendations, German holidaymakers were more satisfied with hotels in Tunisia and Cyprus (+4%), Spain and France (both +2%). They were less satisfied with holiday accommodation in Morocco (-5%), UAE and Bulgaria (both -4%).
- Hotelplan buys German dynamic tour operator Vtours: Switzerland's Hotelplan Group is making a move into the German tourism market with the takeover of dynamic tour operator Vtours, reports fvw. The Swiss group is buying the German company, including its Vtours international subsidiary, for an undisclosed sum. Both brands will continue to trade autonomously under their established names under the management of CEO Achim Schneider, the former owner. "With Vtours we have achieved a success story over the last 15 years, and we're delighted to have a strong partner at our side for our future development," Schneider said. "Through the merger, we can become active not only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland but throughout Europe, and benefit above all from the technological expertise of the Hotelplan Group," he added. Hotelplan Group CEO Thomas Stirnimann described Vtours as a "profitable, creative, innovative and growing provider" and said it offered "ideal complementary" synergy potential in IT, procurement and sales to grow in the German-speaking markets. Vtours, with 150 employees, generates annual turnover of more than 400 million Euro. The pioneer of dynamic holiday packages in Germany now offers holidays in about 7,000 hotels in 195 destinations, selling through travel agencies and online via OTAs. The Hotelplan Group, with turnover of CHF 1.4 billion (1.3 billion Euro) last year, is the largest Swiss-owned tourism group. To date, it has only been active in the German market through its holiday home businesses InterChalet and Interhome.
- Thomas Cook cancels further trips: The German organizers of the insolvent Thomas Cook must cancel all trips before December 31st, reports the travel trade magazine TravelTalk. According to Thomas Cook, the affected customers should be informed proactively as quickly as possible. After the Cook organizers had already cancelled all trips by the end of October, the period will now be extended to the end of the year. The new regulation applies to the tour operator brands Thomas Cook Signature, Thomas Cook Signature Finest Selection, Neckermann Reisen, Öger Tours, Bucher Reisen and Air Marin - as well as to services booked via Thomas Cook International. In addition, the new date also applies if the trips have already been partially or fully paid for, as the company from Oberursel explained on Wednesday. Thomas Cook announced that for trips with a travel start date of January 1, 2020, the further procedure will be reviewed in consultation with the insolvency administrator. Affected customers should file their claims with Kaera, the service provider commissioned by the responsible insurance company Zurich.
- Rivals target Cook customers and expand hotel capacity: According to fvw, leading tour operators in Germany, including TUI, DER Touristik, FTI, Alltours and Schauinsland-Reisen, are trying to win Thomas Cook customers with special offers and have secured additional capacity from former Cook hotel partners after the insolvent tour operator cancelled all bookings up to December 31. Amid uncertainty whether Thomas Cook can make any kind of comeback in Germany, competitors have been quick to offer affected customers various alternative holiday options and sign up capacity with hoteliers who previously marketed their properties exclusively or mostly through the insolvent tour operator. In terms of sales, TUI hopes to sign up "a three-digit" number of former Thomas Cook travel agencies to expand its network of sales partners. The company is offering Cook customers the option of booking an alternative TUI holiday until October 20 without having to make any advance payment and offering a 50 Euro discount on holidays costing more than 699 Euro. Customers would be able to cancel free of charge with TUI if Thomas Cook was able to carry out the originally planned trip. Germany CEO Marek Andryszak declared it was "bitter" when a long-standing competitor left the market but emphasized that TUI was a financially strong group with a different business model than Cook that customers and partners could rely on. There was a similar message today from Rewe-owned DER Touristik, which will become Germany's second-largest tour operator in future. CEO Sören Hartmann said: "We are a strong group. As Rewe Group we stand for reliability, quality and solvency. Holidaymakers and hotel, airline and travel agency partners can be certain that they can rely on us. "In terms of sales activities, DER Touristik is paying travel agents 2% additional commission for bookings from former Cook customers by October 31 and is offering attractively-priced holidays with Condor flights for the forthcoming autumn half-term holidays in Caribbean and Indian Ocean destinations. Meanwhile, Alltours said it has "taken over a large part" of the hotel and bed capacity of Thomas Cook's German tour operators in many Mediterranean and some long-haul destinations. It is now taking bookings for these hotels, which include Sentido, Casa Cook, Cook's Club and Sunconnect properties as well as Iberostar and H10 hotels, for winter 2019/20 and summer 2020. "This means that no holidaymaker has to give up on their preferred hotel," explained Karsten Fricke, the tour operator's hotel procurement director. In addition, Alltours is offering all customers booking a winter or summer holiday by November 15 the option of a free cancellation or re-booking to an alternative destination. Elsewhere, FTI is now offering holidays in 300 formerly exclusive Thomas Cook hotels (including Iberostar, Sentido and Sunconnect properties). Moreover, DER Touristik, FTI and Schauinsland are all offering the club resorts of Aldiana, which previously had a wide-ranging sales agreement with minority owner Thomas Cook. DER Touristik Central Europe chief Ingo Burmester said the Aldiana clubs "ideally extend" the group's product portfolio.
- Tuifly plans return to long-haul business: According to Reisevor9, this emerges from an internal paper reported by several media. According to the paper, the TUI airline plans to fly to long-haul destinations again by winter 2020/21. But a final decision has not yet been made. According to the paper, which the trade journal Touristik Aktuell first reported on, TUI intends "to achieve extensive market entry in long-haul traffic with modern Boeing 787 aircraft". The focus would be on destinations where TUI owns its own hotels or where major cruise ports are located. Following the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, Tuifly's Supervisory Board agreed to examine the market entry in this segment in Germany as well. This can also be seen as a rejection of a stake in Condor, which has been the subject of repeated speculation recently. In order to implement the plans, TUI needs the approval of the employee representatives and the trade unions. This could involve tough negotiations. FVW reports that "productivity improvements are required as a prerequisite for the successful economic operation of such new routes, which would then also pay for the long-haul route". This would now be discussed with the employee representatives. The discussion would not focus on salary issues, but rather on the rules governing the working hours of flying personnel.
- Atmosfair stops cruise compensation: So far, travelers have been able to offset the CO2 emissions caused by cruises through Atmosfair via donations. Now the Environment Agency is stopping this compensation, fvw reports. According to Atmosfair CEO Brockhagen, the reason is the industry's lack of commitment for more climate protection. Consumers can use Atmosfair's exhaust gas calculator to determine the CO2 emissions they cause on their travels and make a donation to a climate protection project to offset these emissions, a concept that Atmosfair had previously offered for flights and cruises. However, this is no longer possible for cruises. "For effective climate protection, CO2 compensation may only be secondary to the actual CO2 reduction in the ship. However, the industry's own contribution is too low here", Atmosfair Managing Director Dietrich Brockhagen explains to fvw. New cruise ships could already operate with synthetic liquefied natural gas (LNG) from renewable energies. Conventional LNG massively reduces sulphur and nitrogen oxides, which reduces local environmental pollution, Brockhagen continues. But CO2 emissions, which are relevant to climate change, are not being reduced accordingly, despite this being already possible today. Atmosfair had tried to set impulses in a cooperation with the industry, but the demands and speed had been far apart. Brockhagen: "It is not discernible that the cruise industry is on the right path to compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. In this situation, CO2 compensation would only be used as a pretext."
Best regards and enjoy your weekend,
your GCE Team
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