German web sales lag offline but are boost to Egypt and Tunisia

Retail analyst GfK has reported bookings for Egypt and Tunisia have picked up more quickly online in Germany than through high street agencies.

German-based GfK said sales of Egypt had returned to half their early January rate by the end of last month, after plunging to a fraction of normal sales in early February.

A GfK spokeswoman said: “Online bookings for Egypt and Tunisia have recovered quicker than offline.”

However, GfK also reported German agents sell a far larger proportion of higher-priced holidays than online retailers. High street agencies account for 53% of all sales of holidays costing in excess of €1,000 (£870) in Germany compared with 30% online.

Germans are almost three times more likely to book a trip costing at least €1,500 (£1,300) with an agency. By contrast, 47% of breaks costing less than €750 or £650 are sold online, compared with 26% through agency outlets.

GfK also reported that Germans are twice as likely to opt for a three-star hotel online as through an agency, but they are more likely to book a four or five-star property with an agent than online.

The analyst suggests there is little evidence of significant variation in online and offline booking behaviour within consumer groups such as single people, couples or families.

But last-minute bookings are more likely to be online, whereas bookings six months or more in advance are more likely to be made with an agent.

GfK concludes: “Price-sensitive holidaymakers prefer to book online.” The German online travel market lags behind the UK’s, leading Tui Travel to announce an “online offensive” last month.

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