The political, financial and terrorist crisis in the region is causing a devastating blow on the tourism market, which brings a huge contribution to the Turkey's economy. Suspended flights due to the political spat with Russia is a big hit to a country which has 1 in 3 visitors coming from Russia coupled with terror attacks travel; businesses need to change their revenue model to keep afloat and grow.
Russian business has declined*
2015/16: 80 - 90%
2014/15: approx 30%
2014 market was fine
General market is down 50% with records as high as 75 - 80%* : as seen in first two months of 2016
TUI Group reports 40% fall of holiday bookings to Turkey
Tourism accounts for around 15% of Turkey’s GDP
Turkish foreign tourist arrivals fell 10% year-on-year in February, the most in a decade
200+ hotels will not open for business: "Around 200 hotels have announced not to open their resorts in summer this year. So it's not good." Oral Yigitkus, CEO, BookLogic
Antalya* is 80% down as is expected in general market, the region that captures the most foreign travel interest.
The combination of major international political situations has created media interest that has had a negative impact on the image of the region; this has therefore reduced bookings. Tour operators have gone bankrupt, especially supplying Russian tourists due to political indifferences and the financial downturn; and the cancellation of flights has brought a drought to the travel industry.
- Tez Tour went bankrupt
- January 2015: Russia’s tourism giant Tez Tour’s Turkish unit Alkan Group has requested for the suspension of bankruptcy for over 322 million Turkish Liras ($136.3 million) of debts due to the economic problems in Russia and Egypt. The company brought over 1 million tourists to Turkey last year.
Hurriyet Daily News - Russian tourism giant’s Turkish unit asks for suspension of bankruptcy
- Big decline in Russian business needs to focus on driving online sales
- November 2015: Moscow suspended passenger flights to Egypt and the United States imposed new air travel security requirements in the wake of the crash of a Russian jet in Egypt, as Western officials pointed on Friday to the conclusion it was brought down by a bomb
Reuters UK - Russia suspends Egypt flights, U.S. boosts security as intelligence points to bomb
- The Russian downturn and the Ukraine have a dramatic effect on the tourism in Antalya Turkey.
- May 2015: In 2014, one of every 3 tourists to the Antalya region was a Russian citizen. About another 10% of the visitors came from the Ukraine.
The first four months of 2015 showed a dramatic drop of 40% in the numbers of Russian tourist arrivals to Antalya. In my most recent visit to Antalya I was told both by hoteliers and tour – operators working with the Russian / Ukrainian market that the current occupancy rates are about 30%-50% in most clubs and hotels.
4hoteliers.com - The Russian downturn and the Ukraine have a dramatic effect on the tourism in Antalya Turkey
- Finding new distribution partners, to plug the hole from fallen tour operators
- Finding new customers outside of Russia, or sourcing Russian tourists direct
- Keeping costs low, due to instability in the market
- Build direct customers, to secure future business
→Increased European business, open to new markets
→Focus on chart and scheduled flights to drive direct bookings:Russians using booking systems instead of tour operators
→Building direct booking, by increasing visibility online
→Developing customer database, to market direct
→Flexibility in sales channels to avert revenue crisis
Move to and invest in online business to sell your own hotel rooms; not through tour operators, b2bs or OTAs. Review the performance of channels to optimise booking revenue
Increase your own brand awareness; don’t expect TAs to do it.
Build direct customers and customer loyalty. Make sure your client visits you every year regardless of what happens politically.
Announce the stability of peace in your region with PR activities
- BookLogic increase room nights by 17.88%
- BookLogic increased ADR by 7%
One group of hotels, Euphoria Hotels increased direct bookings by 300% and achieved over 250% increase in overall online sales, by changing the provider for its hotel revenue management and marketing services to focus on driving growth.
Even in the first quarter of 2016 the business was seeing a continued growth of 80% on 2015 business, while the general local market is experiencing a severe decline of 75 - 80%.
"Euphoria Hotels increased bookings in 2015 even with a drop of Russian tourists at 80-90% due to the crisis between the countries. We continue to see further impact on the market due to the recent terrorist events and bombings in Ankara, Brussels, Paris and Pakistan. Euphoria Hotels is still continuing to see 80% growth compared to this time last year and is up 300% from 2014. said Oral Yigitkus, CEO, BookLogic
The brand portfolio of four Euphoria Hotels and two Porto Azurro Hotels integrated its online channel management, direct booking engine and rate shopping technologies together with a focused strategy to drive bookings through its own websites. As well as: web pages are assessed and reviewed to make the direct reservation process more efficient; online marketing visibility is regularly tweaked to increase the audience reach; and third party channels are reviewed to improve the volume of bookings. The group is now seeing its website visitor numbers increase every month which is helping the team to improve conversion results.
"We are already achieving more than three times the booking value we did in 2015, not just in our own system and webpage reservation systems but also across our other online reservation systems by optimising how we manage our third party channels." said Mr Cem, sales and Marketing Director, Euphoria Hotels.
Another Turkish hotel group, IC Hotels, has managed to reduce commission levels to 3% and to achieve more than 18% of bookings from direct marketing campaigns.
"We increased our ADR and RevPAR values up until the close of 2015. Our rates grew approximately 15% in 2013, 19.5% in 2014, and has continued to grow by 5% in the last year," said Mr Fuat Ersoy, business development and marketing sales director. "We review competitor rates in order to maintain our competitiveness and remain ahead in the market. This ensures we do not out price ourselves in any given market."
IC Hotels connected ChannelPass channel manager and integrated bespoke HotelCompare Manager rate shopping data for each property. It was important that the technology products were fully integrated with the existing systems and were simple and easy to use for the existing management team. The group didn't just rely on technology to draw increased revenues, but also improved its SEO, PPC and online marketing performance across all channels to bring business throughout the year from across new traveller markets. Previously the hotel chain was selling to a limited market for specific periods within the year, by investing in online visibility and branding the portfolio is now booking throughout the year, for up to 25 days, with guests from new locations worldwide.
"The properties utilise important competitor and market data to improve results immediately through the tools that provide flexibility for updates and distribution. The technology combined with improving online visibility through digital marketing is driving direct traffic that is converting into valuable bookings," said Oral Yigitkus, CEO, BookLogic.
Data: 20 randomly selected hotels - BookLogic clients
Hotels: boutique, 4 and 5 star or similar room size
Cities: Istanbul, Antalya, Cesme, Bodrum, Fethiye
Guardian - Turkey's tourism industry counts cost of unrest as holiday bookings fall by 50%
BBC - Tui Group hit by 40% fall in Turkish holiday bookings
TTG - What now for Turkish tourism?
Turkey's tourism industry on the brink as bookings tumble
SKIFT - Turkish Government Moves to Protect Tourism Businesses Hit by Downturn
BookLogic is an award-winning customizable software solutions and marketing services provider for hotels and online reservation systems for the travel industry. Independently owned, the company was established in 2004, launching full operations in 2009, with headquarters in Germany, and offices in Turkey and Dubai. In 2015 BookLogic was awarded World Travel Award for World's Leading Travel Technology Innovation and nominated for Europe's & World’s Leading Hotel Booking Solutions Provider. BookLogic currently services to over 1,500 hotel properties supported by over 30 staff members.