German Market Research

All information on this page were found in the document VisitScotland, 2011 - a. See bibliographies.

Germany is the world’s most valuable outbound source market,
worth almost GB £49.53bn.

Size of the market

German population: 81.4 million
Number of Germans who travelled abroad in 2011: 77.4 million (more than 95% of the German population)
Number of people over 50s in Germany (Perspective Monde, 2010 - a): over 32.9 million (over 40.4% of the German population)

German Visits to Scotland by Purpose (VisitScotland, 2011 - a)
  Visits %
Holiday 174,000 68%
VFR 34,000 13%
Business 35,000 14%
Study 7,000 3%
Other 5,000 2%
Total 255,000 100%
German Visitor to Scotland By Age (VisitScotland, 2011 - a)
  % of visits
0-15 2%
16-24 9%
25-34 17%
35-44 26%
45-54 24%
55-64 14%
65+ 8%
Analysis of the results

According to the previous tables, over 22% of Germans who visited Scotland in 2010 were over 50s, which represent over 56,100 people. 
81% of German visitors were in Scotland for holidays or to visit friends and family. So the majority of German visitors over 50s will be assumed to be either on holiday either visiting friends and family. This means that the size of the German market for JD Tours project is about 56,100 potential customers. This market could be expanded through the years since over 32.9 million people are over 50s in Germany.

Visitor profile


  • well educated
  • tradition-oriented, interested in culture, outdoor activities, environment
  • many of German visitors are repeat visitors
    JD tours will have to make sure their tours a regularly improved/changed for the best. For instance, the hotels and restaurants could be changed every year. 
  • environmentally conscious
    Places respecting the Green Tourism Business Schemes will have to be preferred to others. Bins separating waste on the coaches should be provided. 
  • keen walkers
    Since the aimed market is over 50s, many people might not be able to walk long distance. However, a walk could be suggested at some point of the itineraries while all customers have a free time for shopping or else. 
  • happy to pay for quality but get upset when its expectations haven't been met.
    JD tours will have to make sure their accommodation providers respect some quality assurance schemes such as VisitScotland's. 
  • appreciates tips that cannot be found in guide books.
    Guides will have to be well trained. Tour guide badges should be required when hiring.

Holiday motivation


  • Relaxation
  • Getting away
  • Attractive sceneries
  • Germans want to recharge their batteries
  • Weather: not as hot
  • Calmness and composure
  • Interesting part of the Scottish mentality (Germans like the Scottish "matter-of-fact attitude" to life)

Many Germans live far from the sea. That's why many of them are attracted by the Scottish coastline and islands.
In 2011, 56% of Germans preferred beach holidays to other holidays. This has been declining over the last decade. If it keeps declining, this is a great opportunity for the tours which are about to be created.

Barriers for visiting Scotland


Comments and Suggestions

for those looking for sun
This is something that cannot be changed. Tours will need to be promoted even more at autumn and winter times if JD tours want to make the maximum profits.
Infrastructure, travel comfort and condition
left hand side driving
To avoid the customers to rent a car and drive on the UK territory, there could be extra services offering the customers the opportunity to get someone to pick them from the airport to a hotel close to the departure of the tour. The next morning, the customers will be ready for the tours and they won't have even needed to drive on the left side. At the end of the trip, those customer would be brought back to the airport if they want to.
High travel expenses
accommodation & restaurants
The client has not asked to look at prices. But if she had, extended research about prices would have been undertaken. Affordable accommodations and good valued meals should have been preferred to luxurious and very expensive places.
Limited modern city life
perception that cannot offer big cities and good shopping
The Germans seem to like Edinburgh and Glasgow. The itineraries should include these cities and highlight the various shopping opportunities they offer. A free time in the shopping areas should be included in the tours. This might change their perception of Scotland.
English language as barrier, but less frequent
Even if this barrier is less frequent, JD Tours guides should speak both English and German. Since the tours will be promoted to three different markets, a language will have to be set as the minimum required from a guide, according to the size of each market. So if the German market is bigger than the Dutch and Belgian markets, German will have to be set as the main second language (after English) that JD Tours guides have to master.

Perception of Scotland as a holiday destination

Germans see Scotland as one of the best destinations for "romantic adventurers" because of its numerous roadtrips to explore wild landscapes with a touch of "mysticism".
They are fascinated by the Scottish landscapes and think Scotland focuses its tourism industry on Heritage and Tradition.

Holiday expenditure

In 2010 it rose by 5%. Now it is €861 (£715) per person per trip. This increase is generally due to changes in the travel mode of Germans and their choice of accommodation (hotels).

Holiday frequency and length

In spite of the actual economic climate, the holiday frequency of the German population has increased in 2010.
18% of the population take three or more holidays per year while almost a third take two. This represents about 14.6 million Germans having three or more holidays a year and 27 million German having two holidays a year.

The average length of their stay in UK is 6 nights.

Planning & Booking

50% of German travellers use the internet to plan their holiday. 30% book online.
Germans use more and more often Web 2.0 sites for travel planning. Travel reviews have a big role in their final decision. 61% of German travellers who use travel review websites look for positively rated destination offers, 51% look for confirmation for an offer found elsewhere and 43% use the user rating for inspiration.

The most used websites are: and These two websites should be used as main feedback providers. A week after their holiday in Scotland, the customers should receive on email encouraging them to give a feedback of their experience at JD tours. These websites will be suggested to them as well as a questionnaire made by JD tours marketing team.
In spite of the fact that the Germans are behind other European countries in terms of online booking and spend they are catching up.

Average planning time for Scottish holiday: 4.6 months (40% started planning 3-6 months prior their trip; around a third started over 6 months before the trip.
Average booking time for Scottish holiday: 2.7 months prior to the trip. 

With more than 40% of the population who are over 50s and 50% of German travellers who plan their holiday online, an online booking system has to be set up for the coming touring itineraries.
According to the way Germans plan and book their holiday in Scotland, it is advised to start a big promotion campaign about the tours 5 months before the peak period, which means the campaign should start mid January.

Ways to approach the market (VisitBritain, 2012 - a)

Newspapers: 51.7m Germans read newspapers (49.1m daily). Die Zeit is the most sold weekly newspapers in Germany. It could be used to promote the tours.
Magazines: ADAC Reisemagazin and Urlaub Perfekt are the travel magazines the most in circulation in Germany. Landlust is a country-style magazine with the highest increases in circulation and "trend champions" in the German magazin jungle. These three magazines could be used to advertise the tours.

E-newspapers: Spiegel is one of the most popular news websites in Germany.
Travel websites: rarely used by Germans but we can identify and
Internet users: The percentage of older Internet users ("Silver Surfers") is growing: 73.1% of the 50-59 age group is now online and 36.1% of the 60 plus age group.
Social media: only 5% of Germans using social media said they are influenced by tips and recommendations found there, only 2% by advertising. As a result, social medias are not the best way to reach the German market. 

Smartphones: not very popular in Germany (only 27.6% of German mobile users had a smartphone in 2011).


Accommodation preferences

1st choice: B&Bs / guest houses
2nd choice: hotels / holiday apartments / holiday homes

Holiday Travel Mode


  • 78% by air
  • 20% by sea
  • 2% via the Channel tunnel

Popular months for visiting Scotland

German visits to Scotland in 2010 June to September but May also is a popular month for German visitors.

Popular Activities for German tourists


  • Highlands & Skye
  • Edinburgh, Glasgow
  • Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

Popular areas for German tourists


  • Sceneries 85%
  • Visiting cities 80%
  • Trying local food 69%
  • Castles & stately homes 71%
  • Historic sites 71%
  • Eating and drinking in pubs 70%
  • longer walk (over 2 miles) 44%
  • Hill walking 35%
  • Visiting film location 22%

The market aimed for the project is over 50s. There are good chances this market has reduced mobility. If the tours include long walks, another activity should be suggested to the customers who cannot participate to the walk.

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Last edited: 2012-02-28

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