Greece was considered as one of the most demanding destinations for Russians for 2017. As the season is almost over, Russian Travel Digest asked tour operators to give comments regarding results for Greece. The statistics in diagrams and tables is provided by Sletat.ru, one of the most popular web search engine for comparing prices from different tour operators on the Russian market.
"It Was The Best Season For Many Years"
According to Dimitris Charitidis, CEO Managing Director of Tez Tour Hellas, «this summer season was difficult, but successful. Despite the fact that not all destinations in Greece have grown from Russia, and Rhodes generally showed significant decline, we as Tez Tour have increase in number of tourists from Russia to Greece. Although, when competitors have adjusted their flight programs, also Rhodes started being sold steadily».
Konstantin Gorin, Director of Commerce of Ambotis Holidays, has the same opinion, «We can say that is was the best season for many years. It could be even better, if not the decline of demand in August and September. Crete was more difficult destination for selling because of high competitiveness. Ambotis Holidays had better sales on Halkidiki, of course, since it is the main destination for our company».
Alexander Tsandekidis, General Director of Mouzenidis Group: "Both for Russian market, and for us as Mouzenidis Travel, it was successful season. Greece showed an increase about 20%. For end of October, our company demonstrates an increase of 30% in comparison to the last year, although we have planed about 50%, but return of Turkey changed the situation. Crete and Halkidiki traditionally were the most popular destinations, although all others (Rhodes, Peloponnese, Zakynthos, Tasos etc.) were sold also well.
As Dimitris Charitidis, CEO Managing Director of Tez Tour Hellas, said, «traditionally the most difficult months are July and the first half of August».
Konstantin Gorin, Director of Commerce of Ambotis Holidays, also told about general «patterns»: «In low season (May) the demand is worse just because of weather conditions. It gets higher in June when sea is warm, but prices are low. Then, as prices grow, demand begins to fall on expensive segment and to increase on the budget segment.»
Nadezhda Tarbaeva, Head of Marketing Department of Panteon: If sales of tours to Greece from May till July were steadily good, then in August and September, traditionally the most popular months for holidays in Greece, the situation with bookings became more difficult - most of hotels were booked by international clients. So, most of special offers were implemented in particular in these months.
In Tez Tour noted that the number of people in a trip has not changed much, but the average duration of a trip was slightly reduced. Mouzenidis Travel has exactly the same observation, adding that as the last year, mostly "ten-days" trips (9-13 nights) were sold. But if in 2016, bookings were made for 11-12 nights, in 2017 - for 8-9 days. In Ambotis Holidays also noted the same number of people in a tour, but on the contrary reported about slight increase of trip duration, as well as about average check.
Panteon informed that average duration of a trip was on the level of 2016 (10-14 days), but the number of people in a tour increased, especially in family hotels. Anex Tour also told that the average duration of a trip did not change, but named 7-8 nights as the most common booking.
"Early bookings gave start to successful season 2017"
Konstantin Gorin, Director of Commerce of Ambotis Holidays, told about very good results of early bookings this year. On different destinations of Greece, 25% to 45% of capacity was sold on early booking. Mostly tourists early booked high-class and middle-class hotels.
Alexander Tsandekidis, General Director of Mouzenidis Group, added that it is "an obvious trend that every year Russians book tours earlier, so they start to get closer to Eastern standards. So, in fall 2016 when early bookings started, the most active phase was in first dates of December. Mostly tourists booked expensive accommodation rather than 3-4-star properties". According to Alexander Tsandekidis, Mouzenidis company has sold on early bookings more than 35% of their flight program.
"Within the last three years, Greece has enormous demand from Russia, so hotel prices have risen. Early booking sales were very good, but after the end of EB discounts and with a parallel weakening of the ruble, the demand decreased», Dimitris Charitidis, CEO Managing Director of Tez Tour Hellas, commented.
Nadezhda Tarbaeva, Head of Marketing Department of Panteon also noted good results of early bookings (40% more in comparison to 2016) which actually gave start to successful season. Mostly tourists early booked by Panteon premium accommodation types, like villas, family suites with swimming pools, luxury bungalows etc.; most of early bookings were done for July and August.
Anex Tour also mentioned that early bookings were made rather actively.
Better Sales For 5-star Hotels
According to Dimitris Charitidis, CEO Managing Director of Tez Tour Hellas, Tez Tour has very well sold mostly 5-star hotels, like Aldemar, Grecotel, Aquila, Atrium, Pilot Beach and others. Nadezhda Tarbaeva from Panteon also mentioned better sales for 4-5-star hotels, especially Grecotel Hotels.
Anex Tour named among their leaders such hotels as: Rhodes - Electra palace, three Atrium Hotels, Sun Palace, Golden Odyssey, Sunny Days, Angela Suites and Lobby, October Downtown Rooms; Crete - Hersonissos Palace, Eri Beach and Villas, Hersonissos Hotel, Marilena, Atali Village, Ilios Hotel, Dimitra Hotel and Apartments.
The Top-5 list of most frequently requested hotels 5 star All Inclusive on the beach, according to Sletat.ru is Dodeka Sea Resort, Hersonissos Palace, Aegean Breeze Resort, Sentido Mikri Poli (Kos), CHC Athina Palace Resort and Spa.
The Top-5 list of most frequently requested hotels 5 star Half Board on the beach, according to Sletat.ru is Alexandros Palace, Cronwell Resort Sermilia, Grecotel Creta Palace, Olympic Palace, Aldemar Knossos Royal Family Resort.
The Top-5 list of most frequently requested hotels 4 star All Inclusive on the beach, according to Sletat.ru is Eri Beach & Village, Evripides Village, Mistral Mare, Horizon Beach Hotel (Crete), Elmi Suites.
Results in Big Numbers
Dimitris Charitidis shared preliminary results of summer season 2017 in Tez Tour: Crete - 72 000 tourists, Rhodes - 21 000 tourists, Peloponnese - 12 000 tourists, Corfu and Halkidiki - 5 000 tourists on each. In generally, Tez Tour has sent 115 000 tourists to Greece from Russia, which is about 15% increase in comparison to the last year.
Alexander Tsandekidis informed about 220 000 - 230 000 tourists sent to Greece in total by tour operator Mouzenidis in 2017.
Anex Tour mentioned that they have the same volumes as the last year.
Early Bookings for 2018 are not only for deluxe hotels
Most of Russian tour operators already have early bookings for 2018. Tez Tour published rates for the next season with transportation on Aegean Airlines, and soon will add packages on charter flights. As the last year, they will start their program at the end of April. Recently they report about 2-3 sales per day for Greece 2018.
Mouzenidis Travel also plans to start flight program to Greece from end of April, although their program for Thessaloniki is all year around. Tour operator already has published early booking rates and expects active sales from the second half of November.
Ambotis Holidays plans to start their programs on May holidays. They also have early bookings, mostly for 3-star hotels which is rather unusual. But the company does not see it as the new trend and generally expects the same results as this year with possible slight decrease.
Also smaller operators for Greece have published prices for summer 2018. Acti Tour got the first booking at the end of October and plans to start program at the end of April with guarantee flights on Aegean Airlines. Panteon plans to fly on Aeroflot airlines to Crete from end of April, and to start flights programs to Rhodes, Corfu and Peloponnese from 1-th of June. Early bookings are mostly done for deluxe hotels and for kids groups.
For October 31, Coral Travel did not answer to questions of Russian Travel Digest. Russian Express and Karlson Tourism decided not to give any comments regarding results of summer season.