On 11 December 2019, the second day of this year’s DRV Annual Conference on the MS Artania in the Port of Hamburg, parallel specialist forums were held on topics such as climate protection and travel, tourism policy, technologies of the future and brexite. In addition, the travel agency theme conference was dedicated to “Tourist Travel 2025”. Here, Dr. Markus Heller, Managing Partner of the tourism consultancy Dr. Fried & Partner, Andreas Heimann, Managing Director of DER Deutsches Reisebüro, Hubert Kluske, CCO TUI Deutschland and Albin Loidl of Holiday Land discussed the effects of market changes and demand behaviour on the tourism distribution model.
The insolvencies of recent years, in particular that of the second largest broadcaster, point to far-reaching changes in the market. Although the overall travel market has grown steadily over the past few years, the major tour operator groups have suffered losses in market share. In contrast, the online market is growing steadily due to new travelers in the market, the cannibalization of other markets, and the general increase in travel intensity. The pioneer in this market is Booking.com, which now accounts for around a third of the online tourism business brokered in Germany in terms of the number of trips taken.
While bookings in personal meetings now account for less than 50% of all holiday bookings, the use of digital distribution channels is increasing across all generations. The changing ROPO effect is also clearly visible here, as customers increasingly seek advice in stationary travel agencies, but then often book online. In order to create an effective link between all channels with the customer at the centre, a holistic omnichannel concept in sales is essential in the long term.
In addition to clear positioning, high-margin products, appropriate services and high-quality service, a proactive customer approach and additional sales are also important factors influencing the sales force’s revenue models. These models are increasingly driven by customer data, which plays an important role not only in proactive and individualized customer approach. Data is just as important for putting together tailor-made offers as it is for realizing additional purchases, so-called ancillaries. If these elements are used correctly, the possibility of increasing conversion rates and customer loyalty increases.
In general, customers are very well informed thanks to the comprehensive range of information available online, are less loyal due to the high level of competition and expect more individuality in the future. Studies show that 57% of customers expect offers based on personal preferences and behaviour. However, such individualised offers can only be realised in a data-driven way. Therefore, cooperation and data aggregation partnerships in sales are indispensable in the long term.