Results of season 2019 for Greece
The summer season in Greece came to the end. It’s high time to speak about the result and make some conclusions. We have turned to Russian tour operators working on the destination. Almost all operators consider the season 2019 in Greece as rather successful. But the situation is different for mass market tour operators and those who works on requests only.
Dimitris Charitidis, the Head of Tez Tour Greece, said that according to airports’ arrivals statistics, the islands are in “minus” compared to 2018. There were 292 000 Russians in Crete last year. Now till the same date (30.09.19) the number is 253 000 (-13%). Last year Rhodes was visited by 108 000 Russians while this year only 103 000 (-4,6%). And that is the tendency of several last years. Although Tez Tour has its own growth for +11,7% in Crete island and +26% in Rhodes.
Such islands as Corfu, Kos and Zakynthos have got -5% of arrivals from Russia compared to 2018. But Thessaloniki, Peloponnese and Athens show the growth of visitors. It’s possible to foresee +0,5-1% till the end of October here. Anastasia Karpova, representative of Tui, also speaks about tourists’ flow growth twice compared to 2018. Panteon has +15% in Greece. For Ambotis Holidays, the season 2019 was also better than 2018. This year the flight program of this tour operator was optimised beforehand so that there were almost no “hot tours”. But according to results, 2019 was worse than 2017.
Attention to Early Booking
This year early booking was very important for all tour operators, as it gives the most number of bookings for 5-star hotels. All tour operators note that this year early bookings came more active than usually. So, the results are Tui - 100%, Anex Tour - 47%, Ambotis - 35%, Tez Tour - 11%, Panteon – up to 10%.
Tez tour sees that EB is widely used by repeaters in segment 5-star and 5-star deluxe when travellers know for sure what hotel and room type they are looking for. Anex Tour marked the tendency to book 4- and 5-star hotels and hotels belonging to well known chains like Grecotel. as Panteon notes, the most popular room categories in luxury hotels were booked by groups and families with children. Almost the same experience Ambotis Holidays has got, but the real “surprise” for this operator were the bookings in December 2018 of budget hotels, which we use to consider as “last minute” choice. Tui specialists saw the requests for the popular hotels which usually are in stop sale list during the season. They were the best sellers in “price for quality” category.
The popular destinations in Greece at period of early booking were Crete, Peloponnese, Northern Greece and Corfu.
Many Special Offers from Hoteliers in the Middle of Season
There were many special offers from the hotels this season. Dimitris Charitidis thought that the decrease of Europeans’ flow to Greece this year became the reason of numerous SPO. Panteon representative marked the increasing number of SPO since July. In Panteon, priorities in May were the following: Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Peloponnese for 4- and 5-star hotels on half board for 10 days. Victoria Khudaeva, PR Department manager of Anex Tour, has noted that thanks to special offers tourists have got interesting proposals which sometimes were more attractive than during early booking period.
The big number of special offers during July and August show that market has reached its highest position when the clients are not able to book at the normal price, according to observations of Ambotis Holidays. According to tour operator, the start and the end of the season were marked by 5-star hotels’ bookings, while the middle season reservations were mainly for more budget hotels in Halkidiki and Corfu. This means that Russians became very sensitive to the change of prices during the season.
It’s necessary to mention that many travel agents were also speaking about rather high prices of Greek hotels this summer. And that is not the question of currency which was rather stable.
Better Number of Bookings for Autumn
Many tour operators noted that it was the best autumn sales for the several last years, since the bookings for autumn holidays were rather active throughout the year. The weather was great and the prices became lower, these are the two main reasons for excellent number of bookings to Crete and Rhodes islands in autumn, according to Ambotis holidays. Tez Tour is satisfied with the end of the season, which was almost sold beforehand. Panteon also said that October was sold in September.
Early Booking for 2020 started earlier
The specific feature of the year is that early bookings in 2019 for 2020 started earlier than in 2018. Thus Dimitris Charitidis said that Tez Tour has started sales for 2020 on 01.08.19 in comparison to 01.11.18. Alexander Tsandekidi, CEO of Mouzenidis Travel, reported about 700 persons booked for summer season 2020 in September 2019. And that is 20 times more than in the same period of the last year.
Trends of Season 2019
According to Panteon, 60% of all the bookings were made by single travellers (60% females and 40% males) and 40% by couples. Clients of Anex Tour are families with children mainly younger than 12 years and couples, the average age of adults is 35-40 years. Almost the same proportion is in Tui statistics: 50% families with children and 30% couples. Proportion 60% of families and 40% of singles and couples is named by Ambotis Holidays.
Among one of the latest trend, representative of Panteon named lowering of hotel category for bookings (from 5-star deluxe to 5-star, from 5-star to 4-star etc.), and the same is with meal plan (FB to HB, HB to BB). The budget of VIP tourists was the same as in 2018.
Anastasia Karpova from Tui said about the growth of reservations on GDS. The same tendency was named by Vitaly Stamatov, General Director of Ambotis Holidays Russia. GDS packages and accommodation only were the most profitable segment for this operator alongside with the growth of luxury 5-star hotels’ bookings.
Tour operators also noted the growth of families with many children and readiness to buy tours in the last minute.
But there was also tough competition for the clients in the middle price segment. “Sell it for the price of another operator” was the new agents’ demand of the season.
Karlson Tourism is the tour operator, working on GDS only, so it considers the situation a bit different. Anastasia Timoshenko, Director of Sales FIT Reservation Center of Karlson Tourism, told that the results of the season were expected to be better. The operator has marked the decrease in middle segment, although luxury segment was stable, since even the new travellers from other destinations turned to Greece this summer. The operator has got the main number of early bookings reservations in February, not earlier as it has no practice of big discounts. Anastasia spoke about the growth of tourists’ flow to Athens Riviera thanks to the opening of the new luxury 5-star hotel “Four Seasons Astir”. Thessaloniki destination with Sani Resort has the constant number of Russians from Karlson Tourism. Mikonos was in sale and villas on Corfu too. The operator works with GDS tickets, has no guaranteed seats and had only profitable sales. It is sure, that Greece has and will have in future the requests in luxury segment.
Who is the Leader for Greece?
Russian Travel Digest asked each tour operator who was the leader on Greek destination in 2019. The answers were rather predictable. Thus, Tez Tour is sure in its top ranking in sales of 4- and 5-star hotels. The operator has the best European air carriers - Greek Aegean Airlines and Russian S7. This partnership proofs the high quality of the product. Tez tour is looking at Mouzenidis as to the nearest competitor on the destination.
The representative of Tui named Mouzenidis being the leader of the destination, although in category the “dynamic development” Tui Russia named itself as the leader.
Ambotis Holidays is originally from Greece and that is the main destination for this tour operator, so, it is sure in their leadership. The company is attentive to the competitors, but not satisfied with the contemporary market condition. Nadezda Tarbaeva from Panteon also considers the company to be the leader.
Russian Travel Digest appreciates the assistance of the following tour operators: Ambotis Holidays, Anex Tour, Karlson Tourism, Mouzenidis Travel, Panteon, Tez Tour.