The disastrous financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on German tour operators and travel agents has been revealed in figures drawn up exclusively for fvw by market researchers Travel Data + Analytics (TDA), who regularly assess the travel agency sales trends.
New bookings up to the end of April have shrunk to a mere 6% of last year's level, according to the TDA estimates. Moreover, 80% of these bookings are not generating 'new' revenues but are 'old' bookings rescheduled from cancelled dates in March – June to later dates. This indicates that the sector's cashflow is virtually non-existent at present.
The revenue volume of cancelled holidays for the traditionally low season months of March and April was about €900 million, while revenue for cancelled holidays in May, when travel demand normally starts picking up, is likely to reach €947 million, TDA estimated.
Looking at representative booking trends in calendar week 18 (Monday April 27 – Sunday May 3), TDA found that 22% of customers who rescheduled a holiday selected new dates in the coming winter season but 38% decided to delay the holiday until summer 2021. This follows tour operator and cruise company options allowing customers to reschedule a booking right up to October next year.
In terms of the holiday type, 44% of rescheduled holidays were cruise trips, only 23% were traditional package holidays and 18% were hotel stays booked through tour operators.
There are several reasons why many Germans are re-booking their cruise holidays. The segment is traditionally booked very early and many cruise operators have already published their complete programmes for next year and beyond. In addition, US companies in particular are offering attractive deals with incentives and discounts to motivate customers to fix new dates instead of cancelling their trip completely.
MSC Germany managing director Christian Hein commented: "We are seeing a strong trend for summer 2021. About half of these bookings are real new bookings while the others are the result of re-bookings from summer 2020."