Hanover, 25 January 2019

Sunshine Saturdays: Europeans are looking to leave the winter blues behind

  • January weekends deliver huge spike in bookings for TUI
  • Europe-wide phenomenon – busiest day of the year for holiday bookings in Germany and the UK took place on 12 January
  • Turkey set to see strong comeback

As the winter continues with sub-zero temperatures, many Europeans are looking ahead to a summer, sun and beach getaway. This applies in particular to the days dubbed Sunshine Saturdays. This phenomenon has been observed across Europe during the first weekends of the year for a number of years: In many countries, Saturdays in January are the busiest days of the year for holiday bookings. The most popular booking day of the year in the UK and Germany was 12 January. Tens of thousands of bookings were made in Germany, involving more than one million German holiday-seekers visiting one of the retail stores or the website of the world’s largest tourism group to search for summer getaways.

In general, many holidaymakers decide to book early in order to be able to avoid having to make any concessions regarding their favourite destination and holiday period. In 2018, around 50 per cent of TUI’s German guests booked their trip at least five months in advance. According to an analysis of recent bookings made with TUI, January is the peak booking month in all European markets.

Holidaymakers take booking decisions during the weekend

Unlike the UK and Germany, Scandinavia and France see a spike in bookings on Sundays rather than Saturdays. In the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, most holiday-seekers take their decision during the weekend and book their holiday on a Monday.

Increase in proportion of online bookings

The analysis of bookings also shows that the smartphone and tablet are playing an increasingly important role in holidaymakers’ travel plans and bookings. In Scandinavia, this has already become the new normal. Here, more than 80 per cent of all bookings are made online. In Germany and Austria, by contrast, the retail store offering advice and services remains customers’ preferred booking channel. However, the proportion of online bookings is also steadily growing in the German-speaking area. Around half of the Group’s European holidaymakers book their trips online. The proportion of online bookings grew by 26 per cent over the past four years. Direct bookings made via TUI’s mobile apps have also increased across Europe. Mobile bookings will become increasingly important in future. TUI apps for mobile devices are already being used by around 5.5 million holidaymakers.

Turkey set to see considerable comeback – Increase in popularity of long-haul travel

The trends regarding the countries tipped to prove popular in 2019 are already emerging. The top destinations are Spain, Greece and Turkey. Turkey, in particular, is currently recording significant growth in booking numbers across all markets, and the same trend is observed for Egypt. Overall, Spain and Greece continue to be among the favourite destinations of TUI holidaymakers in all European markets. Spain remains one of the top holiday destinations; as expected, demand for Spain has normalised. Greece is recording an increase in bookings from source market UK this year. Moreover, long-haul travel is becoming increasingly popular across Europe, in particular in the Nordics, France and Germany. Alongside the US, strong demand has above all been recorded for Mexico and the Caribbean with Jamaica and Cuba as well as destinations in the Indian Ocean. New holiday countries have been included in the brochures for this year’s summer season. TUI holidaymakers in the Nordics and Austria now have the option to travel to Montenegro or Albania. German customers may also book Albania as a new travel destination. In the UK, TUI now offers trips to Calabria in Italy. Another newcomer among TUI’s most favourite destinations for German customers is Cyprus. The Mediterranean island is gaining popularity in the German travel market. TUI fly is expanding its route network for Summer 2019 and will newly include Larnaca in its flight schedule with a capacity of 20,000 seats.

About TUI Group

The TUI Group is the world's leading tourism group and operates worldwide. The Group is headquartered in Germany. The TUI share is listed on the FTSE 250, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and on the Regulated Unofficial Market in Germany.

The TUI Group offers integrated services from a single source for its 28 million customers, 21 million of whom are in the European national companies. The entire tourism value chain is represented under one roof. This includes over 400 hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU, TUI Blue and Robinson and 15 cruise ships, from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 in the luxury class and expedition ships to the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises and cruise ships at Marella Cruises in England. The Group also includes Europe's leading tour operator brands and online marketing platforms, five airlines with more than 100 modern medium and long-haul aircraft and over 1,000 travel agencies. Besides the expansion of its core business with hotels, cruises via successful joint ventures and activities in holiday destinations, TUI is increasingly focusing on the expansion of digital platforms. The Group is transforming itself into a digital company.

Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social action is at the core of our corporate culture. With projects in 25 countries, the TUI Care Foundation initiated by TUI focuses on the positive effects of tourism, education and training and the strengthening of environmental and social standards. It thus supports the development of holiday destinations. The globally active TUI Care Foundation initiates projects that create new opportunities for the next generation.