German travel agents rate cruise lines and specialists higher than all-round tour operators, a new fvw study found.
TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Studiosus are Germany’s three best tour operators, the in-depth survey of travel agents’ views, needs and wishes showed.
In the survey, owners and sales experts from 212 representative travel agencies were asked to evaluate 20 named tour operators in terms of various criteria on a scale of 1 (very good) to 6 (very bad). These included ‘reliable quality’, ‘fair commissions’, ‘availability/exact pricing’, and ‘value for money’.
TUI Cruises came out top of the overall ranking, clearly ahead of sister company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and cultural travel specialist Studiosus. Three all-round tour operators – TUI, Schauinsland-Reisen and DER Touristik – came 4th to 6th respectively, followed by Aida Cruises and river cruises firm A-Rosa, and Southern Europe specialist Olimar.
Looking at the most important criteria, the overall top three - TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Studiosus – were rated best for ‘reliable quality’ (which agents defined as the key factor) as well as for ‘availability/exact pricing’ (the third-most important sales factor). Schauinsland-Reisen came first for ‘fair commissions’ (ahead of TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) and for ‘value for money’ (followed by TUI Cruises and Studiosus).
Several major tour operators such as Thomas Cook (10th), Alltours (11th) and FTI (15th) scored surprisingly poorly in the overall ranking of 20 major tour operators. Cook was last but one in the category of ‘fair commissions’, while FTI was a very low 18th in the category of ‘complaints’.
But the worst scores went to dynamic packaging specialists Tropo, JT, LMX and Vtours. They suffered from lacking a clear profile in the eyes of travel agents, along with poor product availability and inexact pricing.