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Greece is a leader in online airline bookings

06 October 2013 / 13:10:36  GRReporter
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Europe’s Silicon Valley in terms of airline bookings over the Internet is not located in any of the countries with large markets on the Old Continent, but in Greece. And this is claimed by European competitors of Greek firms.

The three largest Greek companies in the sector, e-Travel, Travelplanet24 and Airtickets.gr, are among the 20 largest in Europe, according to all international rankings, but at the same time, Greek airlines such as Aegean Airlines, are developing successfully and dynamically on the Internet. At present, the cost of online ticket booking in Greek companies has reached 1 billion euro, of which more than 70-80 % is related to bookings made in Greece. In Southeast Europe, Greek companies are leaders and expand successfully beyond European borders. Reportedly, the company Amadeus, which runs one of the largest systems of airline reservations in the world, is planning to open its centre for Southeast Europe in Athens, in order to use the leadership of Greek companies on the market.

"The reason why we are called the Silicon Valley is because Greek companies are very competitive," said Nikos Goulis, CEO of e-Travel, which is known from the website www.pamediakopes.gr. "The fact that we work on a small market has helped us so that we can work with lower profits, and the crisis has forced us to expand more rapidly overseas," noted Filippos Brinkman, CEO of Travelplanet24. In turn, George Baliouskas, Commercial Director of Airtickets.gr, emphasised that "competition between us is for the benefit of us all." And, according to Goulis, as regards Greece, it is a rare case when competition among three companies has resulted in the more rapid development of all those players.

Aegean’s role

Aegean Airlines, as expected, is among companies with an important role in online ticket booking. "The Internet is the main distribution channel for us," noted Elias Mandroukas, eCommerce & Loyalty Manager of Aegean Airlines, adding that 30% of bookings are carried out through the company's website.

A more interesting fact is that if Aegean’s bookings of flights, made through agency partners online are included, the percentage exceeds 40%. Given that the company is orientated abroad, it is important that about 70% of revenues come from online bookings abroad. At a time when the Internet is an essential tool for the company's expansion abroad, its experience is a big advantage.

Aegean’s percentage of bookings from abroad is high, but it should be noted that in general Greek companies in the sector have managed to successfully develop abroad. For example, e-Travel operates in 14 countries, and Russia is its most important market, while TravelPlanet24 operates in 18 countries, and the latest destination is Brazil. Airtickets.gr has presence in 9 countries.

The most impressive fact is that in the case of e-Travel and Travelplanet24, more than 85% of revenues come from abroad, and even the rate of Airtickets.gr - 40%, is considered very high. Airtickets.gr is the largest booking agency in Greece and has existed since 1999, e-Travel - since 2005, and Travelplanet24- since 2006.

It should be noted that Greek companies have a strong position mainly in Southern and Eastern Europe, where they have an advantage because of the absence of major players from Western Europe. Now they are gradually getting ready for Western Europe as well, having the advantage that the limits of their profits are lower compared to big players. "We have managed to develop a lot of new things," said Baliouskas. In addition, these companies have created a significant number of jobs. The largest 3 companies alone employ 350 people and the number of employees is constantly increasing.

What do studies show?

An increased use of the Internet

The increased use of the Internet by the Greeks in terms of travelling by plane plays an important role in the development of Greek companies in terms of online reservations, as shown by studies of Travelplanet24 in the beginning of the summer.

The sample of 1,005 people from major cities of the country that have airports (Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion), shows that one in two Greeks (57%) books a plane ticket over the Internet. Of the total number of people who book tickets online (57%), 31% choose to do so through a travel agency on the Internet, while the rest prefer airlines.

According to the survey, the majority of users (86%) search and compare prices on more than 2 websites, in order to book airline tickets. Comparisons of prices can be made on websites of either online travel agencies, or airlines.

Tags: Online reservations airline tickets Aegean Airlines
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