Working in Market - Germany
See how to work in Germany, one of Tourism Australia's key markets, and learn key insights into the various travel distribution channels.
The travel distribution system in Germany features wholesalers as well as direct sellers. Bookings through traditional retail agencies remain strong for long haul travellers aged over 40 years. However, there has been an increase in long haul online bookings for airfares and accommodation, particularly those travelling for extended periods of time (e.g. Working Holiday Visa Makers).
Wholesalers/ Large Agents
Commission Level: 20% - 30%
- There are two major distribution channels for Australian product in the German market; wholesalers who sell their products through travel agencies (mainly chains, franchise systems, co-operations and independents) and direct sellers who use their own retail offices and partner agencies as their distribution channel.
- There are approximately 50 to 60 tour operators selling Australia in Germany, distributing product via wholesale and retail agencies. The largest major traditional wholesalers selling Australia include DER Touristik via their Dertour and Meier’s Weltreisen brands, FTI and TUI.
- On top of these, direct sellers are an important feature of the German market, producing a healthy share of the outbound traveller market to Australia. Key direct sellers include Best of Travel Group, Boomerang, Explorer Fernreisen and STA Travel. In addition, some retail agencies have specialized in selling Australia directly.
Commission Level: 8% - 13%
- In Germany, there are approx. 10,000 travel agencies which are divided into three categories:
- 2,400 classic travel agencies (selling both leisure and corporate/ business travel) with at least one tour operator and a Deutsche Bahn or IATA concession.
- 6,800 tourist travel agencies (selling leisure travel) with at least two tour operator concessions.
- 800 corporate travel agencies.
- Around 93% of all travel agencies are members of a cooperative or franchise systems.
- There are also approximately 10,000 mobile retailers who work for a travel agent chain or franchise agency and sell “door to door”.
- The top five travel agency chains and franchise agencies for leisure travel are DER, TUI Leisure Travel, RTK Group, TSS Group and Lufthansa City Center.
- Tourism Australia, in conjunction with wholesale partners and tour operators, run a number of retail agent training workshops and roadshows throughout the year.
- The Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) is the primary platform for Tourism Australia to train and develop front line travel sellers to best sell Australia.
- As at October 2021, there were 1,540 qualified Aussie Specialists in Germany.
Commission Level: 10% - 15%
- The number of online travel agencies (OTAs) is increasing, with online travel agencies (OTAs) in Germany including Opodo (Odigeo group), Expedia, booking.com, Tourlane, Lastminute.com, Getyourguide, and ebookers.com as well as OTA/consolidator with a huge online community.
- Germany is also seeing the emergence of influential online community forums such as Urlaubsguru, Urlaubspiraten, Travelzoo, Evaneos, etc.
Inbound Tour Operators
Commission Level: up to 30%
- Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs) form a key link in the distribution system between product and tour operator/ wholesalers.
- Some of the ITOs that work in the German market are AOT/ATS Pacific, Australia One, APTC, Terranova, Insight Australia Traveland, Goway Travel.
- Total spend by Germans on international travel was EUR 73 billion in 2019, growing by 62% compared to 2018 (Source: Statista 2021).
- Consolidation in the retail sector is making it difficult for travel agencies to remain independent, as more medium and larged-sized travel agencies are joining retail agency alliances.
Planning and purchasing travel
- German consumers see travel as a priority. They are high spenders and like to ensure their travel plans meet their expectations.
- German travellers are discerning and knowledgeable consumers. They are careful planners, seeking detailed information from a range of sources prior to departure.
- Whilst retail agencies have previously handled the majority of outbound travel to Australia, German travellers are increasingly booking their own holidays. In 2019, 61 per cent of the German travellers booked their holiday to Australia online or over the phone directly with the provider. (Source: IVS)
- Youth is an important segment in the market and specialist operators include AIFS, EF, Stepin and Travel Works as well as major youth tour operator STA Travel.
- Companies like backpacker.de focus directly and working holiday visa makers.
- Campervans and RVs are key for the German speaking markets. There are several dedicated companies/organizations that work purely in that niche, including Reisebine, Camperbörse, Alacampa, etc. and many wholesalers in Germany produce a dedicated Camper brochure.
- Studiosus and Gebeco specialise in study and education trips, with the latter also focussing on youth/ more adventurous travellers with its GoExplore brand.
- Luxury/Premium is also an important sector and specialist operators include Art of Travel, Design Reisen, Windrose and Kugler Reisen. Most wholesalers also have luxury brands, e.g. Airtours (TUI), DERTOUR Deluxe.
Planning a visit to market
Top tips for sales calls
- It can take many years of sales calls to German wholesalers to get listed in trade brochures. The German trade has a strong focus on relationships so loyalty and relationship management is crucial.
- The German travel trade value punctuality and if you are going to be more than 10 minutes late, it is customary to call. Plan enough time for your journey.
- Avoid sales calls during brochure production time. The best time for sales calls is late March, after the Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) event, through until July.
- The key market centres to visit are Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hannover, and Hamburg, as well as Trier and Geldern.
- For more general information on sales calls and planning a visit to market, please see Tourism Australia’s Tourism Export Toolkit.
Key Distribution Partners
Tourism Australia is a partnership marketing organisation and works closely with airlines and travel companies on cooperative marketing to drive conversion in all priority markets.
These targeted travel companies, including wholesalers, retail and online travel agencies, form Tourism Australia’s Key Distribution Partner (KDP) program with the intention to increase total booking value of visitors to Australia.
Each KDP is selected based on the fit with Tourism Australia’s market strategy, a shared target customer profile, shared funding of marketing activity, a commitment to training their frontline sales team through the Aussie Specialist Program and a commitment to selling quality Australian product and experiences.
Below are a selection of Key Distribution Partners that Tourism Australia is partnering with from Germany.
Where to find more information
Tourism Australia’s activities in Germany are managed from its Frankfurt office.
Australian State and Territory Tourism Organisations operating in Germany include: Destination New South Wales, the South Australian Tourism Commission, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Northern Territory, Tourism Tasmania, Visit Victoria and Tourism Western Australia.
- An overview on the travel distribution system
- A quick reference on key booking and travel periods for markets
- Germany Country Brief published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at www.dfat.gov.au/geo/germany
- For additional statistical reports refer to the ABS and TRA websites, www.abs.gov.au and www.tra.gov.au