Miguel Flecha, managing director of Accenture Travel in Europe, explains four key strategies that travel companies should focus on to drive their business forward: inspiring and informing travellers in the most creative and exciting ways possible; expanding the product range and retail experience; creating an omni-channel experience that includes digital self-service processes and automation; and employing new technologies, automation and data analytics to deliver personalised experiences and drive efficiencies.
After a couple of difficult years, the world is falling in love with the idea of travel again. Miguel Flecha, managing director of Accenture Travel in Europe, says this is creating new opportunities for travel companies to make themselves more relevant to travellers. "Today the process, from the intention to travel to the return home, is very fragmented, and most companies can only manage a small part of that journey without adding value to the whole journey". Therefore, he says, "tourism companies need to put the traveller at the centre and move out of their traditional departments and silos to start on a path of continuous reinvention".
In this respect, he points to four areas on which tourism enterprises could focus. The first is to "inspire and inform travellers in the most creative and exciting way possible to capture all available demand, using the most advanced marketing services". The second is to "transform the direct channel retail experience by expanding the product range and the entire retail experience, including more third party offerings and creating an offer that meets the needs of travellers throughout the journey".
The third proposal focuses on "creating an omni-channel experience that includes digital self-service processes and automation to improve the traveller experience, while also increasing employee satisfaction". And the fourth is based on "using new technologies, automation and data analytics to improve the way companies engage with travellers, enabling them to deliver personalised experiences and operate their businesses more efficiently".
50% more bookings by 2023
The Accenture executive also expresses his opinion on the evolution of tourism in 2023. "Bookings to international destinations are forecast to grow by 50% during 2023, building to a 90% growth rate by 2022, although the economic situation could mean that tourists will take a more cautious approach this year, spending less, travelling for a shorter period of time and travelling closer to home. A Summer 2022 survey highlighted that 50% of consumers intended to book or had already booked international travel for the next 12 months. Most of them are young people from generation Z and millennials. "Significant growth points to international travel returning to pre-pandemic levels," says Miguel Flecha.
In Spain, total tourism expenditure last year was 95% lower than in 2019, but the average expenditure per traveller was higher than in 2019. Total expenditure by foreign visitors reached 5,218 million euros, an increase of 71.7%. "For now 2023 looks good, as foreign tourism in Spain started 2023 with an increase of 66%," Flecha concludes.