Öger extends summer season to 9 months

Thomas Cook subsidiary Öger Tours will extend the summer season to nine months in future. The tour operator also reported strong late sales for Turkey, a trend which has prompted Sun Express to offer more flights from Germany this summer.

July 05, 2017
Songül Göktas-Rosati and Turkey product manager Altan Tarakci at the winter programme presentation
Photo: fvw/Tobias Pusch

The Hamburg-based tour operator had a surprise move at this week’s presentation of its winter 2017/18 programme. In future, the summer season will run from March until November, with the winter season covering only December – February.

“We had a lot of bookings crossing from the winter into the summer and also the other way around,” explained managing director Songül Göktas-Rosati. Asked whether this meant higher prices in the new “summer” months, she admitted this might be the case but was not the intention behind the step.

For the new short winter season, Öger Tours has 90 hotels in its main Turkey brochure, down from 120 last year, but will offer 300 other hotels through reservation systems. Similarly, the number of hotels in the Orient brochure (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and the UAE) has been reduced to 100 from 157.

Göktas-Rosati explained this reduction with the tour operator’s quality demands. “We want a 90% recommendation rate on Holidaycheck. Whoever does not reach that (level) will not get into the brochure but will be bookable through the systems.”

Prices for Turkey and other destinations next winter have been kept stable. Öger is also introducing the 24-hour customer satisfaction promise already offered by group brands such as Neckermann Reisen and Thomas Cook Signature for about half of the hotels in its brochures.

Commenting on current trends for summer 2017, the Öger Tours chief said demand for Turkey is good at present, with a double-digit increase on last year over the last six weeks. However, she admitted this surge in last-minute bookings was due to 20-25% reductions in hotel prices.

The upturn in demand has also convinced Sun Express to resume 15 regional routes to Turkey at short notice this summer, including 10 from Germany. These are Hamburg – Elazig, Münster - Adana, Hanover - Kayseri, Hahn and Münster to Izmir, along with flights to Ordu-Giresun on the Black Sea coast from Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

The Antalya-based leisure airline has an extensive network of flights from Germany to Turkey. However, at the end of May it dropped flights to Antalya from six regional airports (Dresden, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Friedrichshafen, Erfurt and Dortmund) due to weak bookings.

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