GfK Travel Insights

German summer holiday bookings slump in April

Summer holiday bookings in Germany tumbled by 12% last month with weak demand for top destinations but there were strong last-minute sales for the late Easter holidays, according to the latest figures from GfK.

The main reasons for the 12% slump in summer sales in April were the Easter holidays, when many Germans went away on a family trip, as well as the extremely strong comparative figure of 21% growth in the same month last year.

The downturn ended two months of slight growth after lower sales in November, December and January. As a result, cumulative sales of summer 2019 holidays since last autumn are now 2% lower than 12 months ago, the market researchers’ analysis of sales by 2,000 representative travel agencies, OTAs and tour operator websites showed.

Both traditional travel agencies and, contrary to recent months, OTAs were affected by lower bookings in April for holidays between May and October 2019. According to GfK, demand for mainstream destinations are well down on last year. This matches the recent figures from Amadeus, which showed a 14% fall in bookings for the top ten package holiday flight destinations in the Mediterranean and North Africa last month.

In terms of travel periods, demand is down for spring-break holidays, with a 15% fall for May outweighing a 9.5% rise for June. The two main summer holiday months of July (2.6%) and August (-1.2%) are both slightly lower on a cumulative basis. Bookings for September are down by 3.6% but autumn breaks in October are up by 4.4%. 

One small positive development last month was the 28% surge in last-minute sales for the winter season that ended in April. As a result, cumulative revenues for trips last month soared by 30%, driven by the two-week Easter school holiday period. Although low in overall revenue terms, this growth pushed up the cumulative winter 2018/19 bookings by one percentage point to a 5% increase.

In addition, there were good early bookings for next winter. About one fifth of all bookings last month were already for winter 2019/20, which was 3.3 percentage points more than at the same time last year.

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