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

TUI Group is the world’s number one tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. The TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and in the German open market. In financial year 2018, TUI Group recorded turnover of €19.2bn and an operating result of €1.177bn. The Group employs 70,000 people in more than 100 countries. TUI offers its around 27 million customers, including 21 million in the national organisations in Europe, comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This comprises around 330 Group-owned hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU and Robinson as well as 16 cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels to the “Mein Schiff” fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Marella Cruises in the UK. The Group also includes leading international tour operator brands, 1,600 travel agencies in Europe and five European leisure airlines with around 150 modern medium- and long-haul aircraft. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. TUI Care Foundation was founded in 2015 and supports the positive impacts of tourism, learning and education and strengthening of environmental and social standards. It contributes to the development of holiday destinations. Today, the TUI Care Foundation is active in more than 20 countries worldwide and initiates projects creating opportunities for the next generation.