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Nothing new about travels

Di Antonio Caneva, 2 Aprile 2004

Nothing new. I have taken part in the now traditional meeting on the world of travels, organised by TradeLab in Milan, which this year had the theme: “Is selling travels still profitable?”.
The speakers represented the complex business world of travels and tourism, which is now more than ever faced with a whole number of both contingent and structural difficulties. Nothing new, I said, because it seems to me that nothing really new has been reported. The industry is moving along lines that were defined in previous years, as Paolo Bertozzi outlined effectively in his remarks while chairing the discussion. Agencies will differentiate by competence; we should expect a continuation of the distribution streamlining process; a shift in volume/price ratios towards quality and product differentiation.
A few notes from some contributions: Enzo Garella of Viaggi del Ventaglio: “product value control and support, cooperation with agencies to enhance customer loyalty, emphasis on service, creation of a value chain”; Silvia Pugi, Valtur: “our proposal is asserting itself as a quality product”; Marie Pierre Serravalle, ClubMed: “by operating in a global market we have fewer seasonality problems (July for example is an important month for Belgians), we are repositioning our product upwards, launching new destinations and packages”; Sergio Testi, Alpitur: “It is important to meet specific customer requests within the generalist area: this year we have developed proposals for 3 / 7 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 21 days”; Giampiero Manzone, Last Minute Tour: “importance of the multi-centre approach; we operate through 600 affiliate agencies, a call centre and, obviously, our website. This year, in our seventh year of operation, we expect to record a gross operating margin for the first time”; Roberto Natali, Welcome Travel Group: “To be successful, networks need to have a vision, and above all to propose cost reductions”; Luca Patané, Uvet – Amex: “Three years of great transformations, the future of agencies lies in specialisation and knowledge, lower commission fees will lead to greater concentration, and productivity will become one of the main issues”; and finally Guido Villa, Buon Viaggio Network, expressed an opinion that has been widely shared: “Distribution is the basis for sales of any product. Costs are being cut on the wrong end”.

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