November 26, 2020

The salvation of tour operators goes through its integration into the digital revolution – La Provincia

The death ofThomas CookIt will not drag the rest of the tour operators, but it will accelerate the renewal of its traditional model and push them into the arms of the digital network, starring social networks and the different intermediation platforms. This is one of the conclusions that emerged from the Overbooking Gran Canaria congress, held yesterday at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, and which focuses on the digital transformation of tourism businesses.

Precisely, an area in which the destination of the Canary Islands must also advance, whose leadership, however, is beyond doubt despite the storm caused by Thomas Cook. A strong impact that, although its economic and labor victims will be charged, will be overcome and could even reinforce the Archipelago, according to the Deputy Minister oftourismof the Government of the Canary Islands, Sergio Moreno, who participated in the main discussion table of this event together with Juan Molas, president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (Cehat), and José María Mañaricua, president of the Federation of Businessmen of Hospitality and Tourism of Las Palmas (Feht).

Do not forget that the eight islands compete in the international tourism market with the category of a country. As Molas recalled, a destination that attracts 15 million visitors per se has a string of attractions that motivate their choice, but that should not hide the need to face basic aspects such as the consolidation of quality tourism, the commitment to sustainability, the guarantee that a good service will always be provided and that the price will be consistent with it.

Model changes

The Canary Islands tourism strategy, excessively linked to the traditional model, must therefore vary, although the tour operators continue to play an important role in the destination because, according to Mañaricua, although they have diminished their prominence they continue to nourish tourists to Canary hotels. "Losing weight is good because buying strategies are diversified, but that they fall is very serious. They have helped us become tourism leaders as they grew up with us."

However, the current scenario is radically different from those beginnings, so destiny cannot continue using the same tactics. The Deputy Minister of Tourism clearly opted to "change the Marketing Plan of the Canary Islands, which may not be the same as that of 22 years ago because that is no longer valid." Now it is the CRM – Anglo-Saxon acronyms for the Spanish term Customer Relationship Management – the central axis of the sector, with the visitor's knowledge as a great protagonist.

In addition to this essential turn in the strategy, the fall of Thomas Cook will reinforce the inevitable fall in hotel prices, which already started last year and will be further stressed because competing destinations have based their recovery on reducing the cost of their packages up to 100%. Fighting these hyperbolic offers is ridiculous, so attracting more planes from more markets becomes the best weapon for a destination like the Canary Islands, which remains the first option for millions of tourists. Molas recalled that one in two Britons traveled to the Islands last winter, so you have to put all the facilities to keep doing it: "The first thing to do is convinceRyanairso he doesn't leave, "said the president of Cehat. Almost a chimera, considering that the company reconfirmed on Wednesday the closure of its bases in the Islands.

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