Tours market heats up demand as markets reopen
The segment has been seriously affected by the health crisis but with the reopening of different countries, little by little it is recovering ground. To get a better overview, we interview Alberto Gutiérrez, CEO of Civitatis
Civitatis is the leading company in the sale of guided tours and excursions in Spanish all over the world, without a doubt its CEO Alberto Gutiérrez is a voice more than authorized to know what the situation of the segment is. We share below the exclusive report with the executive:
How do you describe the moment the company is experiencing?
Regarding sales, we are going through a moment of transition, going from the absolute disaster that was the year 2020 to a great year, as I hope it will be 2022. Each month that passes we receive more reservations than the previous one (and we hope that the summer period in the northern hemisphere "lengthens" until well into October), and more and more people are also encouraged to travel abroad, which in the end is one of the fundamental pillars of our business model: offering activities in Spanish outside of your country. In the rest of the corporate areas, we continue with the cruising speed in terms of improving the company: we continue signing agreements with the main agents of the tourism sector, optimizing our website, expanding our brand through communication, increasing our portfolio of activities , etc.
What is your opinion about the tourism market in general?
I believe that the tourism sector has always been characterized by its resilience and its capacity for reinvention, and in this situation it has shown it. The coronavirus crisis has been very hard, but it is not the first that tourism has experienced and it has always come out ahead. The desire to travel and discover new cultures is intrinsic to the human being, it has always been there and will continue to be, and tourism will be ready to satisfy it. And we will be ready to fill people's trips, of course.
Which countries are most active for you?
Today, our main clients are those who reside in Spain, who are betting on knowing our own country but also traveling to other nearby ones such as Italy (Rome is our most reserved destination so far this year), Portugal or France. Latin American countries such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic are also having a very good reception in 2021.
Do you notice that customer demand has changed?
As for the favorite destinations, they are generally betting on those nearby countries and, above all, without strange restrictions on tourism. Regarding customer behavior, they prioritize activities with free cancellation up to 24 hours before (or more, if possible), and it is something that we already offer in a high percentage of our catalog. Also, on the other hand, they want to be able to book until almost the last minute, and the way to reach this client is clear: that all our activities have the greatest possible flexibility.
What is your perception of the restrictions currently imposed?
Beyond the restrictions that the health situation may require, what is strictly necessary is that there is a common basic regulation that allows tourists to know that, if they book a plane, they will be able to catch it without problems. In that sense, for me, the COVID passport is essential: it gives security and confidence, and in my opinion, it will continue to exist as long as the virus lasts (unless it disappears, as has happened with other historical viruses).
How do you envision Civitatis in the next year and a half?
I imagine her leading the market for activities in Spanish, as we already do, with an even more relevant presence in Latin America (one of our main objectives since before the pandemic). I also imagine Civitatis fighting in the rest of the languages we work with (French, English, Portuguese and Italian), although there it will cost a little more to achieve leadership. But it will come, I am convinced. In terms of sales, I imagine that we will have figures at the pre-pandemic level, that is, exceeding five million annual customers in 2022.
What kind of promotion initiatives will you implement in 2022 to recover demand and continue to grow?
We will continue to do what we do best, which is to offer a service of the highest quality, intuitive, with the best possible price and the greatest flexibility both when booking and canceling. I think this is the best promotion a company can do, because if the service is good, word of mouth does the rest. However, we will continue to attend the most important tourist fairs in the world, giving cane in social networks, optimizing our online promotion campaigns and returning to TV (something that brought us very good results in the past), expanding our brand through communication and public relations, etc.