Persistent lack of bookings in January

Nuremberg, 3rd of March 2021 – The booking volume for vacation trips in January 2021 is more than twice as high as the previous month of December 2020, but there are heavy losses compared to the previous month of January 2020. During the lockdown, only a few vacation trips are booked, the losses in travel sales add up: The cumulative sales of the coming summer season 2021 compared to the booking status at the end of January are now down by 75 percent (previous month: -68 percent). The current winter season 2020/21 has almost passed, as there are hardly any trips in the lockdown. 

January is traditionally the most important booking month of the year, in which a good two thirds of sales are usually accounted for by the upcoming summer season. Therefore, this year's declines due to the lockdown weigh heavily, the losses in travel sales continue to add up. For comparison: in January 2020 vacation trips with a turnover of almost 2.4 billion euros were booked, in January 2021 it was just under 300 million euros. This means that the upcoming summer season 2021 has a cumulative drop in sales of 75 percent, seven percentage points more than in the previous month. Even if the summer of the previous year is adjusted for the holiday travel sales that have not left due to later travel cancellations, a sales decline of 14 percent remains for summer 2021. The first significant increase in bookings did not show up until mid-February. 

A good quarter of the booking turnover in January is accounted for by the holiday season in July / August and an equally high share of turnover in the travel months of September and October in autumn. The most booked holiday travel destination for summer 2021 is currently Greece, followed by Turkey and the Canary Islands (as part Spain). Compared to the previous month, however, cruise and long-distance travel bookings have also increased visibly. Both travel segments are comparatively popular with early bookers.

Vacationers still show little confidence in being able to start their first vacation at Easter. In January, the share of sales for the travel months March / April is only seven percent. In the weekly data up to February 20, however, a slight increase to up to eleven percent can be seen. But even if short-term bookings for the Easter holidays should come in - assuming a certain freedom of travel - the winter season 2020/21, which will continue until April, will end with massive losses. At the booking status at the end of January 2021, adjusted for the vacation trips that had to be canceled, it already shows a loss of 89 percent in sales. 

“It is clear that the travel industry is facing a second year of painful losses. The loss-making winter season 2020/21 alone will influence the annual result with a share of sales of around a third. For the coming summer season, the booking turnover is missing more than three billion euros - a deficit that is certainly difficult to catch up, but on the other hand gives hope for catching-up effects, "concludes Alexandra Weigand from Travel Data + Analytics. The fact that the desire to travel again is great is also indicated by the number of early bookers: 18 percent of January sales were already made up of holiday travel bookings for the travel period from November 2021, by mid-February this share had grown to 25 percent. “As soon as the framework conditions allow, holiday travel will pick up again. We can already see that the hope of this is stimulating the number of bookings and that competition among the organizers is already in full swing,” said Weigand. 


The chart shows the cumulative travel sales generated up to the end of January 2021 for the winter season 2020/21 and the coming summer season 2021 compared to the previous year. Holiday travel bookings in stationary travel agencies as well as online on the travel portals of tour operators and online travel agencies (OTAs) with a focus on package tours are included. The chart on the left shows what percentage of sales in the booking month January is attributable to the individual travel months or seasons. 
Note: Holiday sales that have not been left due to cancellations by the organizers will be adjusted in the balance sheets at TDA Travel Intelligence at the end of the respective travel month. As of now, this affects all trips cancelled until the end of January 2021.

About TDA Travel Intelligence

Travel Data + Analytics (TDA) took over in spring 2019 the travel sales panel run by the Nuremberg market research company GfK since 2004. After the GfK data had been migrated to a new IT landscape, Travel Intelligence was set up as an independent solution with a self-learning database and associated analysis tool. The basis remains the booking data from stationary travel agencies and online portals that sell tour operator products. The requirements of tourism companies on a modern control instrument and evolving, increasingly dynamic questions can thus be mapped reliably and promptly, without giving up the core of a market-representative method that is consistently comparable over time. Current booking situation + individual product performance = new market opportunities.

Further information: Alexandra Weigand,
phone: +49 (0)911 951 510 03