Youth travel is a growing market segment for specialist German tour operators who are expanding their offers to win new customers.
About 6.9 million Germans are aged between 12 and 20, making young people a large and increasingly attractive market segment for the travel industry. According to Reisenetz, an association of youth travel companies, young people (up to 26) undertake about 60 million trips (of several days) a year, including 12.6 million school trips.
Tour operators, mostly small specialists, report rising sales and are broadening their range of offers to win new business, especially group trips which have traditionally been organised directly by schools, clubs or associations.
“Business is very satisfactory at present, and that’s a long-term trend,” said Arndt Kattwinkel, from Klühspies Reisen. Two other specialists Alpetour and Herolé Reisen are also happy with their sales. Alpetour had turnover of €81 million and more than 300,000 customers last year, while Herolé generated revenues of €30.5 million from 105,000 customers, according to fvw’s annual dossier on the German tour operator market.
Bastian Rad, marketing manager of Alpetour, explained: “Tour operators offer attractive prices through their procurement volumes, a large portfolio and advantages in payment methods.” Franz Olender, founder of Herolé, said the company had grown more than 50% in the last three years, in part through offering free travel insurance for youth groups. “That was financially ambitious but the target of winning lots of new customers seems to have worked,” he said.
Most packages for school trips are based on coach or train travel to European destinations, although there is an increase in flight bookings. Programmes are often drawn up in close cooperation with school teachers to integrate educational activities into the trip.
Meanwhile, other specialists focusing on older teenagers are also expanding their programmes. RUF Reisen recently made headlines by offering cruise holidays for young people aged 16 or above. The cruises, from 2018 onwards, include trips in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and on the Danube.
Another specialist, Fun Reisen, has just acquired three small brands to expand its portfolio: Fit Jugendreisen, which focuses on camping trips and trips for choirs and music groups; and Abi4Life and Abipur, which both offer trips for teenagers who are celebrating finishing their final Abitur school exams. In addition, Fun Reisen has expanded geographically and is now also offering packages for Belgian and Dutch teenagers under the name ‘Summerbash’.