International

German Travel Booking Firms Prepare For Border Closures

German Travel Firms Prepare For Border Closures

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on travel companies all around the world, especially airlines, but other companies with travel-facing businesses are being adversely affected as well, according to a report by Reuters.

Some online startups in Germany are planning to improve their infrastructure and online offerings while they wait out an extremely slow season, with bookings down and borders closing.

GetYourGuide (GYG), a travel company based in Berlin, and Omio, a ticket booking site, said they will upgrade their tech systems so that when travel resumes in earnest, they’ll be ready to handle it.

“In the next couple of weeks, I think we’ll all just go into hibernation mode. We’ll work on our tech, our infrastructure and our supply offering, and make sure we have everything in place for when travel picks up again,” said Johannes Reck, co-founder and CEO of GetYourGuide.

G2G said that booking forecasts are down 50 percent from this time last year, even though the beginning of the year saw a record amount of business.

The company handles bookings of things like walking tours and visits to historical locations. Many people are choosing to find more crowd-free outings, like outdoor settings or places where people don’t usually congregate.

Omio, which books flights, trains and buses, has seen its bookings fall between 30 and 50 percent, and it will be especially affected if borders are closed.

The two businesses have different considerations than airlines, which need to keep planes flying to make money. Omio serves as more of a middleman between travelers and transporters, for example, so its fixed-cost base is smaller.

Boris Radke, an Omio spokesperson, said the company can afford to stop spending on marketing and use this opportunity to improve its search engine optimization.

“The entire European Union might shut its borders for two weeks. We should be able to live with that,” he said.

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