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Travel market 2017: German holiday-makers spend more money per booking – differences between online and stationary travel agencies remain clear

Wuerselen, 27 February 2018 – The different preferences and behaviours which German travellers show in stationary travel agencies and on online travel portals remained clear also in 2017. This is the result of the annual evaluation of the flight package travels which Traveltainment and Amadeus Germany processed via their consulting and booking products for stationary and online travel agencies in 2017. The most distinct change compared to 2016: In both distribution channels, but especially online, higher-priced bookings gained shares – the Germans spend more money on holidays.

In combination with Amadeus Tour Market Traveltainment Bistro Portal belongs to the most preferred solutions of classic stationary travel agencies, a large number of big German online portals use the Traveltainment IBE. The evaluation thus claims representativeness for itself. It includes more than five million travellers from Germany, and catalogue as well as last-minute offers.

The results:

Palma, Antalya and Hurghada were online as well as stationary the most popular holiday destinations in 2017. While there were still differences in the ranking in 2016, the top 10 in both distribution channels was almost identical in 2017 – only on ninth place, Marsa Alam was in the online customers’ favour while it was Lanzarote in stationary distribution. Online, the interest focused rather on the big destinations: The online top 3 collected 63 per cent of the top 10 bookings, the stationary top 3 57 per cent.

Groups book rather in the classic travel agency: The more persons travel together, the more often they go to stationary travel agencies. In 2017, 28 per cent of the bookings comprised three and more persons, in the online travel agencies it was 20 per cent. Conversely, onliners logically processed a bigger share of bookings with one or two guests. This distribution is almost identical with the one from 2016.

Stationary customers want rather longer trips: In the following respect, stationary and online travel agencies were the same also in 2017: In each case one third of their customers (34 per cent) booked medium long travels with a duration from eight to 13 days. But travels with 14 days and longer belong rather in stationary travel agencies where they amount to in total 26 per cent of the bookings (online: 17 per cent). But onliners have with 47 per cent a higher share of travels that last up to seven days (stationary: 40 per cent). The distributions differ only minimally from the ones in 2016: Travels with a duration from eight to 13 days won a share of one percentage point (34 instead of 33 per cent) in both channels, but online, shorter travels lasting up to seven days lost slightly (47 instead of 49 per cent) as is the case in stationary travel agencies for travels with 14 days and longer (26 instead of 28 per cent). Anyone who wishes to can read a shift to the middle from that – but this is not significant.

Stationary customers book more stars: As already in the previous year, four-star hotels are the favourite in both distribution channels also in 2017 – stationary travel agencies had a share of 61 per cent in this hotel category, online travel agencies 54 per cent. Because five-star houses gained a share of eleven per cent in both distribution channels, the onliners achieved a higher share (33 per cent) in the area of three and two stars than the stationary ones (28 per cent). Also here, in comparison to 2016 a slight shift becomes apparent, to be precise upwards: In the stationary travel agencies, hotels with one to three stars lost a share of two percentage points from 2016 to 2017, but five-star houses gained one percentage point. Online, hotels with one to three stars achieved a share of less than three points from 2016 to 2017, but four-star hotels gained two points, five-star hotels one point.

Stationary customers spend more money per booking: Customers of classic travel agencies booked rather in groups, rather more stars and at the same time rather longer travels in 2017 – as in the previous year, this was clearly reflected in the travel price per booking. In stationary agencies, little less than one third of the customers (32 per cent) spent up to 1499 euro per booking, more than two third (69 per cent) 1500 euro and more. Online, the relation was around 53 per cent (up to 1499 euro) to 47 per cent (1500 euro and more). In other words: Online travel agencies did their main business with travels under 1500 euro in 2017 and 2016, stationary agencies with travels over 1500 euro. But here, the slight shifts of the other parameters seem to summarise – because from 2016 to 2017, there is a clear trend to higher expenditures per booking: In the case of stationary travel agencies, the share of bookings with 1500 euro and more rose from 67 to 69 per cent, online from 41 to 47 per cent.

Online customers book at shorter notice: 60 per cent of the guests in classic travel agencies fixed their travel eleven weeks before the start of the travel or earlier. Shorter advance booking times were represented relatively evenly with a share of three or four per cent. However online, only 42 per cent of the bookers put wood behind the arrow eleven weeks or earlier – but up to eight per cent achieved shorter advance bookings (share of the bookings one week before the start of the travel). In comparison to 2016, a slight tendency for longer-term booking can be seen in the figures: The share of the advance booking time “eleven weeks or longer” increased by one to two points (online: from 40 to 42 per cent, stationary: from 59 to 60 per cent) in both distribution channels.

German regions book evenly online and stationary: As in 2016, the ranking of the departure airports in both distribution channels was almost identical in 2017: Düsseldorf was on top with 18 to 19 per cent, followed by Frankfurt am Main (15 to 18 per cent) and Munich (each 12 per cent). Single airports achieved in the two top 10 lists differences in the area of one percentage point. This leads to a slightly different ranking and to the fact, that at the end of the online table Berlin-Schönefeld appears and at the end of the stationary table Nuremberg. But there is no significant meaning behind this: Stationary and online bookings spread Germany-wide almost evenly also in 2017.

For the first time, Traveltainment compared the quality of the offer data in stationary and online travel agencies – the result is that stationary travel agencies the results of the booking requests show a slightly better data quality.

  • This applies especially to the price adjustment rate. It shows the share of bookable requests which showed a price change in the course of the booking process, because the tour operator has transmitted new price information in the meantime. 20 per cent or less booking requests with price variance are regarded as good quality. For the top 10 of the most requested holiday destinations, this limit was reached or undercut (range: 16 to 21 per cent) for almost all destinations in stationary distribution, in online distribution it was almost continuously exceeded (range: 19 to 31 per cent).
  • The availability rate showed a more even picture. It indicates how many booking requests prove themselves as really bookable. Good values achieve 80 per cent or more – and are reached superiorly in both distribution channels. Single destinations achieve better values online, others stationary.

“Online and stationary travel agencies fall back on the same offer data, but address other customer groups and thus align themselves differently. The evaluation of Traveltainment Market Analytics on the booking year 2017 reflects this – the differences between the distribution channels are clear,” says Bernhard Steffens, Managing Director of Traveltainment. “At the same time, the booking behaviour of the Germans remains stable in comparison to the previous year. The trend to higher expenses per booking is surely an expression of the rising consumption mood in Germany. The other shifts might range within the normal variation.”

Bernhard Steffens continues: “Overall, we are satisfied with the quality of the offer data. But the figures show that the prices are much more volatile in online travel distribution than in stationary travel agencies, which is reflected in more frequent price changes. There are several reasons for this. For instance online travel agencies sell a higher share of dynamically packaged travels which feed themselves from different quickly changing service provider databases. The revenue management of the tour operators which is more prominent in online business than in classic travel agencies must surely be named here as well.”

The top 10 analysis is an evaluation of Traveltainment Market Analytics, the experts for market data at Traveltainment. Traveltainment Market Analytics evaluates booking data for the development of touristic strategies on behalf of the customer.

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