During the last weekend I participated in the convention of Buon Viaggio Network in Rimini – a network of 300 affiliated agencies of definite significance in our country. The programme included a round table, chaired by Gilberto Borzini, on the network’s prospects in dealing with the pressures arising from a rapidly changing environment. The element that struck me most – and the leitmotiv of the whole meeting – was the condition of extreme uncertainty affecting the whole industry. The arguments proposed were pointing in diverging directions, and since the speakers were among the best qualified players in the sector, the ensuing reaction was one of disconcert. Michel de Blust, secretary general of Actaa (the European Association of Agencies), stated “… and if I had to write the 2002 budget, under air ticket commissions I would enter a zero”, which was reinforced by Paolo Bertozzi, who is a professor at the Bocconi University: “… I would be more pessimistic, and would regard air ticketing as a liability, where I receive no commissions and give discounts to acquire customers”. But the opposite was said by Gerard Letailleur, director of French giant Selectour: “… our network receives commissions about 4% higher than individual agents, and at any rate we will continue working on a commission basis; we are far too important – airlines cannot do without us,” and again “… who would have thought only a few years ago that the Internet would turn out to be a fiasco in consumer relations; all the companies of the sector are running a loss.” Buon Viaggio itself presented an interesting plan, aiming at extending its shareholders’ base by including an important new partner. In such a discontinuous context, it is essential to have sound and reliable references; the meeting – if ever there was a need for further evidence – has confirmed the importance of participating in structures capable to interpret and manage a fast-moving and changing scenario.
The future goal: manage uncertainty
Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 6 Aprile 2001