Summer programmes

Old friends but nothing new

German tour operators are competing more intensively than ever but their programmes for summer 2016 display few big differences or innovations, fvw’s Martina Feyerherd explains.

The tourism world is far from being as sunny as in the summer 2016 programme presentations by the major German tour operators. That’s not just because crises and war keep knocking popular destinations off course.

Competition between tour operators has got more intensive. TUI and Thomas Cook don’t want to watch their market shares melt away any longer, Alltours wants to grow again and the winners of the last few years – Schauinsland-Reisen, FTI and dynamic tour operators – are defending themselves.

Yet the summer programmes that have been presented over the last few weeks seem like good old friends. Once again, the protagonists are seeking salvation in exclusive hotels, and the number of their own brands continues to increase. The main thing is to escape price comparisons.

After announcing its new strategy TUI has brought back many hotels that overlap with rivals into its programme. The reason is that customers are not really loyal to the brand. Instead of booking one of the group’s other hotels they simply book their favourite hotel with a different tour operator.

Overall, the market leaders have again adjusted details of their programmes to hide the fact that their offers resemble each other more and more.

However, about 44 million Germans booked a package holiday and came back satisfied this year. Despite strong competition from Booking.com, Airbnb & co, traditional tour operators will maintain their position for quite some time. And that should be enough for a decent season next summer.

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