TDA analysis

German travel industry revenue loss tops €1.8 billion

The German travel industry has lost revenues of more than €1.8 billion since March due to large-scale holiday cancellations, while cruises are sailing away as the top holiday segment to be rescheduled into 2021, according to new figures.
Surprisingly high demand: In a tourism industry challenged by the corina crisis, cruise bookings are doing comparatively well.
Surprisingly high demand: In a tourism industry challenged by the corina crisis, cruise bookings are doing comparatively well.

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.

Bookings crash by 94%

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.

Germans reschedule cruise holidays

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.

Cruise fans still want to travel the high seas

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.

"The current trend shows the strong competitiveness of cruises within the tourism business," explained Tim Krätke, CMO of cruise booking portal E-hoi. "As soon as the first cruise liners start travelling again, customer demand will rise strongly," he predicted.

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."