fvw dossier

OTAs profit differently from Unister insolvency

Expedia, Seven Travel and Check 24 profited most of all from the collapse of Unister, Germany’s largest OTA, last year. Booking.com, HRS and Airbnb also generated good growth, according to fvw’s ‘German travel sales 2017’ dossier.

July 05, 2017
fvw’s in-depth dossier on German travel distribution
Photo: fvw

The spectacular collapse of Unister, including the fatal plane crash of founder Thomas Wagner and the group’s rapid insolvency, did not shake Germans’ trust in booking travel online. According to market researchers GfK, online travel sales in Germany increased by 11% to €23 billion last year, representing 39% of the overall €59.8 billion market for holidays and private travel.

The 20 largest online travel retailers in Germany, including accommodation providers, OTAs, tour operators and travel agents, listed in the annual fvw dossier had estimated combined revenues of €12.5 billion in 2016, a 5% increase on the previous year. Nearly all company figures are estimates based on limited company information and expert assessments.

The biggest change in the ranking was the fall of Unister from first place to fourth, with a 42% revenue drop to estimated turnover of €1.1 billion compared to €1.9 billion in 2015. The Leipzig-based group had stable revenues in the first half of last year before the insolvency caused a dramatic sales slump but managed to recover towards the end of the year.

The new number one on the German online travel market is Booking.com with a strong 25% rise to estimated sales of €2 billion. Expedia, one of the main winners from Unister’s demise, remained in second place with estimated revenues up 7.7% to €1.4 billion (excluding Egencia, Trivago and Homeaway/Fewo-Direkt). Third-placed HRS grew only moderately with a 5.7% increase to estimated turnover of €1.3 billion.

Two of last year’s main winners follow in fifth and sixth places behind Unister. ProSiebenSat1’s Seven Travel (Weg.de, Tropo.de, Etraveli and others) increased sales by 17.6% to €1 billion, while Check24 grew 32% to €850 million. However, the German broadcaster is splitting up Seven Travel this year with the sale of Etraveli and potential disposal of the other travel businesses. Check24, which has created a dynamic tour operator business, profited from its large-scale and expensive advertising.

In contrast, the seventh-placed Holidaycheck Group only increased German revenues by 4% to €770 last year. The other top ten ranked companies were TUI (up to 7% to €750 million), Opodo parent Edreams Odigeo (up 5% to €730 million) and travel agency chain Schmetterling which disclosed online sales of €717 million, a 1.3% increase.

Other notable movers were Airbnb, whose Germany revenues soared by 37.5% to an estimated €550 million, LastMinute.com with a 25% rise to €200 million, and HolidayPirates, the blog-turned-bargains OTA, with a 25% increase to €150 million.

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