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Voyageurs du Monde: the tour-operator is looking for sources of growth abroad

A business turnover of 364.5 million euros, an increase of 8.8%


Despite a record year in a complicated environment, Voyageurs du Monde wants to stay cautious in the years to come. The group now hopes to develop its international clientele, particularly French expats, a niche that has been progressing by 30%.



The group Voyageurs du Monde hopes to seduce French expats. DR-Voyageurs
The group Voyageurs du Monde hopes to seduce French expats. DR-Voyageurs
Another record year for Voyageurs du Monde.

On Thursday April 16th, 2015, the group published a business turnover of 364,5 millions euros, an increase of 8.8%.

A growth that was reflected in both customized trips (+12.8%) and adventure trips (4.6%).

Close to 200,000 clients have traveled through the group’s different brands last year, for an average customer spending value increase by 2 to 3%.

Excellent results that are to be applauded since the group worked in quite a complicated environment, with the Ebola epidemic, the murder of the French mountain guide Hervé Gourdel in Algeria, and the alarming advices to travelers by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Faced with such an uncertain situation, the group now hopes to diversify the origins of its clients.

Today, foreign travelers account for 11% of its business revenue.

Half of them come from Belgium, Switzerland, and Quebec. The remainder is spread out between reservations in its accommodations, and French citizens living outside the country.

While Jean-François Rial, CEO, had announced wishing to create an incoming agency in France, he now prefers to advance slowly before taking that step.

He would rather aim his efforts on expatriate Francophones. A category that progressed by 30% last year.

“We are preparing our future abroad, but we’re taking our time.”

The group’s Tour-Operators are prohibited from using the same DMCs

Its development outside French territory will have to come from an external growth, with the buyout of an English actor specialized on adventure trips.

This will add another brand to the group’s acquisition, that already owns a dozen. In fact, it acquired the entire agency La Pèlerine that is specialized in the Saint Jacques de Compostelle Pilgrimage (4 million euros and 5,000 clients.)

Despite this large range of specialized TOs, no synergy has been put in place. The different teams are even forbidden of using the same DMCs or of sharing their air transport purchases.

“Every brand has its distinct clients that are very loyal to it. Very few go from one brand to another,” observes Lionel Habasque, Chief Executive Officer.

Inside, the group is pursuing the improvement of its services and customer relations.

It has just implemented a new extranet program aiming at sharing information on clients between sellers and local teams: bills, itineraries, or travelers’ preferences.

The group also developed a tool to monitor the price of the plane tickets and reimburse clients in the event of a drop in rates, while taking a small commission.

As for destinations, Voyageurs du Monde is not immune to the same trend at its competitors: the disaffection of Muslim countries, and a new focus on Europe and the Mediterranean.

Morocco is dropping drastically by 70% while Egypt only seduced 800 French clients versus 8,000 in its golden years. All of the Muslim destinations have been impacted: Turkey, Tanzania, Indonesia, Oman, Jordan.

Consequently, Voyageurs du Monde would rather stay cautious on its 2015 objectives. To date, the enrollments registered for departures during this year are at a 3.1% decrease, and represent 55.6% of the 2014 business revenue.

But Jean-François Rial is not particularly alarmed.

“We will be happy to simply stabilize our business turnover because we are at a small decline, but that does not matter much since we don’t have the intention of being bought out.”

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 20/04/2015
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