FTI Group is claiming dramatic growth this summer despite weak overall demand in Germany and is expanding its ‘individual holidays’ brand for next winter.
Germany’s fourth-largest tour operator (including last-minute brand Fünf vor Flug) has a double-digit revenue increase of 12 – 13% this summer, according to sales director Ralph Schiller, while customer numbers are up by a single-digit rate. This is far higher than most other leading tour operators who are seeing low growth at best for the summer 2019 season.
CEO Dietmar Gunz said at the winter 2019/20 programme presentation in Berlin: “In contrast to the stagnating market trend, we have an increase. This is because our main destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and the Emirates, where we have our largest customer volumes, are seeing very good demand this summer. And with Cuba and Gambia we have two destinations that have been well-accepted.”
After an “uneven” booking pattern in the first few months of this year, FTI also has good late sales, he added. “We are seeing that apart from singles and young adults an increasing number of families are booking spontaneously, despite being tied to school holidays.”
For winter 2019/20, the Munich-based group is focusing more on individuality and flexibility to give customers a wider choice. The brochures have been completely re-designed in magazine style, with background information, customer reviews, and tips. The barely-readable price section, full of detailed price tables, has been scrapped in favour of simply giving price examples.
In general, winter 2019/20 prices are generally stable for most package holiday destinations. “We’re happy that prices are stable for popular destinations such as Egypt in winter 2019/20,” said Gunz. “Holidays in Turkey will even be cheaper due to the development of the local currency. And the Canaries have had to adjust their prices to remain competitive,” he pointed out. Only trips to dollar regions such as the USA and the Caribbean might be slightly more expensive, he noted.
FTI has increased capacity for Turkey and the UAE with various new hotels, is offering winter holidays in Bahrain and Qatar for the first time, will have daily flights to Antalya and is cooperating closely with Lufthansa for flights to Egypt and Cuba.
The main product innovation is the expansion of ‘FTI360’, which has so far enabled travel agents to create individualised tours in the USA and Canada. This will be extended to Egypt next winter, enabling, for example, combinations of beach holidays and Nile cruises. Other destinations and combinations are set to follow.
Moreover, FTI is highlighting more than 2,000 ‘green’ hotels in its winter brochures. The group has contracted capacity in 2,012 hotels out of the 6,000 properties ranked in the Green Travel Index (GTI) B2B bedbank, and is supporting the sustainable travel initiative.