In a globalized and "connected" context, tourism activity has evolved considerably.
The techniques of organization, design and sales have changed. Travellers, too.
The Internet has revolutionized the field of tourism. We are now dealing with hyper-connected customers whose behaviour has changed.Disintermediation is more and more prevalent, we see the emergence of e-tourism, digital marketing and the offers of software publishers are becoming more and more specialized.
Tourism stakeholders have understood this well and are implementing these new tools.
Towards a new positioning
First of all, we notice a certain fragility on the part of distributors (incentive travel agencies). Indeed, in recent years, the latter have been trying to find a new positioning. Moreover, it is all the more complicated for professionals to adapt as the organisation of incentive travel tourism can vary greatly from one country to another. It should also be noted that the number of agencies positioned on incentive travel or even incoming incentive travel is more or less high depending on the country.
This also leads to changes. For example, there are many operators in England, in Germany; in France, the main incentive agencies are grouped around the Federation, the Evenement, which has 65 members. These are creators of entirely private and tailor-made trips for companies in the majority. Today, several so-called "classic"distributors are opening up to incentive travel programs, such is the case ofJet Tours with its Jet Tours Secret brochure and Kuoni with Kuoni Emotions.
Increasing disintermediation with the Internet
After a gradual change in the positioning of some operators, we are also seeing the profession slowly reorganize itself with the Internet. The purchasing circuit for incentive travel and luxury travel only a few years ago was the following:the client company meets the incentive project manager, this travel consultant provides him with assistance and support in choosing his tour, his trip. Then the travel agency calls on its tour operator, who calls on its DMC. The circuit is long between these different intermediaries. Today we are witnessing a real disintermediation with the emergence of the Internet and its access capabilities for tourism, including incentive tourism. They sometimes no longer even go through agencies, not even to buy incentive trips.
We can see that the customer is now the master of the game. He can address any actor and thus build his own group trip.
We can therefore clearly see today that travel planners in companies are at the heart of the tourist chain, thanks to social networks and the Internet, which allow them to remain totally in control of therealization of their trip. This is also how he gets to know the local agencies that have the opportunity to work independently of the entire chain of tourist actors. He is even cordially invited(hosted buyer) like any other travel agent to major international exhibitions such as Iftm, Imex and Ibtm.
It is on the basis of this observation that tourism service providers are therefore increasingly tending to want to control their own distribution, addressing their customers directly.
This is a worrying situation for travel agencies that do not equip themselves with the latest digital solutions.
Intermediation is no longer the same. Before, we were on a B to B (Business to Business) model; today we are moving towards aB to C (Business to Customer) model. Many tourism players, whether receptive or tour operators, pass directly with their target audience. This has led to a major upheaval, which is the emergence of online agencies, whether it is a traditional market or an incentive market. As mentioned by the authors of Odit France, in the book « Le marché du tourisme de l'incentive”, the traffic has not disappeared, it has simply gone to online agencies". However, some believe that the notion of services is no longer there, quite the contrary, it is on this strategy that agencies rely online: service, personalization through constant dialogue and great proximity with the customer.
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