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Toulouse, South-East: Latitudes Extrêmes wants a spot in the sun!

Interview with Marc Parlouer Director of Latitudes Extremes

Latitudes Extrêmes is developing. The group operator founded in 1997 by Marc Parlouer hopes to conquer new territories. Its target: Toulouse and the South-East. In 2016, he expects to double his business turnover. Interview.

Rédigé par Céline Eymery translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 29 Janvier 2015

Marc Parlouer, Director of Latitudes Extrêmes: “I don’t think the risk is higher for a tour-operator than an agency. Before, it was true that tour-operators made excess cash. But such times are over.” - Photo DR Latitudes Extrêmes
Marc Parlouer, Director of Latitudes Extrêmes: “I don’t think the risk is higher for a tour-operator than an agency. Before, it was true that tour-operators made excess cash. But such times are over.” - Photo DR Latitudes Extrêmes - How is Latitudes Extrêmes doing?

Marc Parlouer: Since 3 years, our activity is progressing by 30% per year.

In 2012, we made more than 4.7 million euros in business turnover, in 2014 we will reach €7.5M, and we’ll keep rising. We’re aiming at €11M in turnover in 2015, and €17M in 2016.

Today, we’re fully developing. We’re hiring: 4 people will soon join our business, technical, and production teams.

By the end of 2015, our company should amount to around twenty employees. - What are your development projects?

M.P: Beyond our office in Poissy, of which we own the property, with also have an office in Rennes and Rouen. We wish to set up in other cities in the Province.

By the end of the year, we should open a new office in Toulouse, and by two years in the South-East, around Marseille or Avignon. But to do so we’ll need to find good sales representatives.

We’re giving particular attention to the hiring of sales team. We surround ourselves with collaborators who already have a clientele, that are were established on a territory and who have a minimum of 7 years of experience.

Former collaborators of Consult Voyages are now working with us. - How is your activity spread out? Do you only work with works councils?

M.P: 70% of the activity is generated by works councils. For the remainder, we work with senior associations. Aside from group activities, we also have a structure dedicated to individual trips. - Meaning?

M.P. : Our group SOGETOUR covers both Latitudes Extrêmes, dedicated to groups, and La Boîte à Voyages.

This structure handles individual “à la carte” trips of large works councils.

These companies subsidize up to 30% - 50% the individual trips of their employees. We work with Total, Areva, Renault, or even Peugeot.

La Boîte à voyage makes close to €3.5M in turnover on individual trips.

The structure will soon subscribe to Tourcom to benefit from the offers of TOs and 80 DMCs that are referenced.

Pocket size brochure - DR
Pocket size brochure - DR - How do you work for the creation of your group trips?

M.P.: We associated in Morocco and Italy with DMCs. We have created two brands “Côté Maroc" and "Côté Italie” that we are selling.

Aside from our weekend, medium-haul, and long-haul production, we offer customized trips.

We work in a traditional way in contact with DMCs. We also buy, from time to time with Transat, Promovac, and even Plein Vent.

Our offer includes almost all destinations except for France. - Do you also work in B2B?

M.P.: I won’t hide that I’m currently being approached by two major networks in order to reference Latitudes Extrêmes as a tour-operator for groups. We’re looking into it.

Selling trips in works councils is a true job, and it’s not always obvious for agencies that are not used to it. - Are works councils a loyal clientele?

M.P.: Works councils are loyal if the prices are the same or cheaper than the competition. However, today to obtain the same results, we’re forced to work twice as much. - What do you make of the debate around financial guarantee? Some tourism players argue that the risk is not the same depending on the activity: group operator, tour operator or just a distributor. And the recent bankruptcy case of Consult is feeding these discussions…

M.P.: I don’t think the risk is higher for a group operator than an agency. There was a time when group operators made a high amount of cash flow.

But these times are over. Today, a large number of providers ask us to pay 30% in progress claim right away, whether it’s our TO providers or even DMCs. The clients’ claims are directly processed, or at least a large part.

Even airline companies ask us for 20% of the ticket.

For some very good clients, we sometimes advance the funds because they haven’t yet received the subsidies from their company, and to freeze rates, we pay for them.

The profession has changed and it has also tightened up compared to the 1990s, despite what people think.

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