Vacationers make travel decisions at short notice

Nuremberg, October 7, 2020 - Vacation trips booked in travel agencies and on traditional online travel portals in August 2020 correspond in sales to 29 percent, just under a third of the previous year's level. Greece continues to be in high demand, and bookings for Turkey have jumped. However, the fact that many vacations still had to be canceled in August due to existing travel warnings is further impacting the sales figures in travel distribution: The 2020 summer season is down 74 percent cumulatively in terms of bookings as of the end of August. The upcoming 2020/21 winter season is so far 59 percent down on the previous year.

Reliable vacation planning is currently difficult due to rapidly changing travel conditions. No wonder, then, that bookings are being made at extremely short notice. Around a quarter of sales in August were due to last-minute bookings with departures before the end of the month. Travel bookings for the fall months of September and October accounted for a further 40 percent. Overall, booking volumes are only just under a third of the previous year's level: many Germans are still taking a wait-and-see approach to vacation planning. When the travel warning for Turkey was lifted at the beginning of August, weekly bookings jumped to three times the previous year's level. For Greece, booking volumes in August were in some cases even higher than the previous year's level.

In turn, many previously booked vacations could not be taken due to existing travel warnings. Due to the high cancellation rates, the revenue balance in travel distribution continues to deteriorate. The 2020 summer season shows a cumulative loss of 74 percent compared to the previous year's season as of the end of August 2020 - four percentage points more than in the previous month. In all likelihood, the losses will continue to grow, as many vacation trips will not be able to take place in the coming travel months due to existing travel warnings.

The travel warnings currently in force - for the Canary Islands and Egypt, for example - are having a particularly severe impact on the upcoming winter season. Advance bookings for the winter travel months are well below average, with losses adding up from month to month. As of the current booking status at the end of August 2020, booking sales are cumulatively 59 percent below the previous year. Compared to the previous month, the interim balance has thus deteriorated by 7 percentage points. Only eleven percent of the vacation sales booked in August are for the coming winter season. Normally, this share should be at least three times as high.

Early vacation bookings for next year's summer season remain a silver lining on the horizon: Around one in five sales euros generated in travel agencies or on online travel portals relates to the travel season starting in May 2021. Compared with the previous year, the sales volume for summer 2021 has more than tripled at the current booking level. However, this growth is likely to be due not only to the early release of bookings for summer 2021 - a not inconsiderable proportion will be attributable to postponed or rebooked summer vacations from 2020.


The chart shows the cumulative travel revenues generated up to the end of August 2020 for the 2020 summer season and the upcoming 2020/21 winter season compared with the previous year. Both vacation 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 chart on the left shows the percentage of sales generated in the booking month of August for the individual travel months and seasons.
Note: Holiday sales that have definitely not been departed due to cancellations on the part of the tour operators are adjusted in the balance sheets at TDA Travel Intelligence at the end of the respective travel month. As of today, this applies to all trips cancelled by the end of August 2020.

About TDA Travel Intelligence

Travel Data + Analytics GmbH (TDA), founded by Dr. Markus Heller, acquired the tourism retail panel "Travel Insights" from GfK in April 2019 and continues to operate it as "TDA Travel Intelligence". It is based on the booking data of around 2,000 travel agencies, which represent the stationary distribution market in Germany. In addition, the online area includes the booking data of classic travel portals and tour operators. Projected to the total market, the evaluations of TDA Travel Intelligence 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 tracked in real time. The core business of travel agencies, 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: Alexandra Weigand,, phone: +49 (0)911 951 510 03