Cook Insolvency Boosts Last Minute Bookings

Nuremberg, 31 October 2019 - In the booking month of September 2019, last-minute bookings for holidays departing in September or October increased significantly (+27 per cent). The insolvency of Thomas Cook thus leaves its mark on the booking balance surprisingly early: many Germans have apparently booked their cancelled holiday with another tour operator without further ado. The holiday business for the new 2019/20 winter season, on the other hand, remains at the comparatively weak level of the previous month.

As cynical as it may sound, the Cook bankruptcy has not only caused grief in travel sales, but has also resulted in a good deal of new business. In the stationary travel agencies, short-term holiday bookings for the 2019 summer season, which runs until the end of October, led to an increase in turnover of 30 per cent in September. Travellers who couldn’t go on their trips have thus increasingly turned to a travel agency. In any case, online travel sales are growing less strongly at +22 per cent.

In total, 41.3 per cent of the monthly turnover in September 2019 was due to short-term departures in September and October. This represents an increase of a remarkable 5.9 percentage points compared with the same month of the previous year. As a result, the revenue balance sheets for the remaining travel months have visibly improved compared to the previous month: September 2019 ends with a small minus of 0.3 per cent (status of the previous month: -1.4 per cent). The travel month of October improved from the booking status at the end of September to a plus of 6.7 per cent (previous month: +2.9 per cent).

What is to be considered with this allegedly so positive last-minute boom: The respective travel cancellations are missing in the balance, because the cancelled journeys with the organizers of Thomas Cook can neither be changed for insolvency-legal reasons at present nor be cancelled. The strong last-minute bookings also have little effect on the cumulative summer balance sheet: although it improves in the zero-point range, it remains rounded, as in the previous month, at a black zero.

For the upcoming winter season 2019/20 there is little news to report on the current booking status as of the end of September 2019: Just as in the previous month, incoming bookings amounted to minus three per cent in sales, the cumulative level remained at a minus of four per cent. In the monthly sales balance, winter holidays accounted for 37 per cent of sales - 4.2 percentage points less than in the previous year. The early bookers for the 2020 summer season also lost 1.6 percentage points in September. They accounted for 21.7 per cent of sales.


The chart shows the travel revenues generated in September 2019 and cumulated up to the end of September 2019 for the 2019 summer season and the 2019/20 winter season compared with the previous year. Both holiday travel bookings in stationary travel agencies and online on the travel portals of tour operators and online travel agencies (OTAs) with a focus on package tours are included. The left-hand side of the chart shows how much revenue has been generated in per cent for the summer and winter seasons compared to the previous year's season (final figures).

About TDA Travel Intelligence

The tourist retail panel Travel Insights is based on the booking data of around 2,000 travel agencies that represent the stationary sales market in Germany. In addition, the booking data of the classic travel portals and tour operators are recorded online. Extrapolated to the overall market, the Travel Insights analyses allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about the booking and travel behaviour of German holidaymakers. Current trends and developments in the tourism market can be traced promptly. The core business of travel agencies and the online travel portals of tour operators and so-called OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) is based on holiday trips booked as a package or in modules.

Further Information: Dörte Nordbeck,, phone: +49 (0)911 951 510 02

About Travel Data + Analytics

Travel Data + Analytics GmbH (TDA), founded by Dr Markus Heller, acquired the tourism retail panel Travel Insights from GfK in April 2019. Until the end of the current tourism year 2018/19, i.e. the end of October 2019, booking data from travel sales and analyses will continue to be processed via GfK's systems. The system development on the part of TDA runs in parallel. Upon completion of the transition phase, all booking data will be loaded retroactively from the 2016/17 tourism year, ensuring a seamless transition.