fvw interview

Discount giant plans to expand Lidl Holidays and JT Touristik

Germany’s second-largest discount supermarket group wants to expand its two tour operator brands with a broader portfolio and more exclusive offers, a top manager told fvw.

August 08, 2018
Christoph Hahn is head of Lidl’s travel business.
Photo: Lidl

After making headlines earlier this year with the acquisition and re-launch of insolvent tour operator JT Touristik, Lidl is now planning to expand its tourism activities, Christoph Hahn, managing director of travel, said in an interview.

Fundamentally, tourism sales complement Lidl’s product offering both in supermarkets and online, Hahn emphasised. The privately-owned group generated sales of €21.4 billion from its 3,200 German supermarkets and online activities last year. Its tourism sales are not disclosed.

The long-serving manager, who has been responsible for Lidl’s tourism business since 2007, made clear that the group will maintain a two-brand strategy, selling holidays and other travel products through both Lidl Holidays and JT Touristik. “The product and marketing strategies of the two tour operators are clearly differentiated. So, a two-brand strategy makes absolute sense at present,” he said.

“JT stands for dynamically packaged products in beach destinations around the world that are sold through travel agents and OTAs. In addition, we are continually expanding JT’s city trips offering. With this portfolio JT complements the online offers of Lidl Reisen.” In contrast, Lidl Holidays concentrates on selling attractively-priced tours, cruises and self-drive holidays supplied by four key partners.

Hahn said JT would continue to focus on beach holidays but the brand would also add more city trips and self-drive holidays in future. Lidl Holidays would be expanded with more family holidays as well as exclusive hotels and other offers.

The Lidl manager said he was satisfied with JT’s sales since the re-launch in March but did not disclose any figures. “With QTA and TSS we have won two strong travel agency alliances as partners,” he pointed out. At present, JT is selling slightly more through online portals than through travel agencies.

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