Madrid, Friday, January 20, 2023. To put the finishing touch to the last day for professionals at FITUR, Soltour Travel Partners organized at its Summit at the fair, a meeting between two leading experts in the tourism sector: Encarna Piñero, Vice President and CEO of Grupo Piñero and Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International. At this conference, two of the top representatives of the tourism sector tried to determine what will be the keys to tourism in the new year 2023, turning the event into a chat which everyone can learn from.
Keys for Tourism in 2023
The meeting began with a discussion on the current situation of tourism: “We are coming from a complex situation, but with a view to 2023 we are beginning to consolidate this recovery and we see that there is still enthusiasm for travel. Traveling is almost a necessity for living the experience and you can't do without it, and this is where we have to help make it happen,” explained Piñero. “From an economic perspective, it will be a year with a certain optimism and a sense that things are going to go well. All the agents have a large number of projects on the table and we are leaving the crisis behind to be able to build on a foundation of newfound hope,” continued the CEO of Grupo Piñero.
Gabriel Escarrer talked about the keys for 2023: “We are living in a time of some uncertainty, so we have to go back to basics. At Meliá we have a clear vision regarding the vacation world, and that is where we have to continue working on innovation, digitalization and sustainability. In short, on creating customer experiences so that the tourism sector can emerge stronger.”
Importance of working on sustainability
The conversation also included a section on sustainability, and here Grupo Piñero explained its operations in this area: “In all companies we are opening up and raising awareness in this area because what customers are looking for, especially young people, is that the companies they travel with are aligned with their values. For example, by having a presence in developing countries, we are concentrating on the social part of helping the evolution of talent and raising awareness about caring for the natural heritage. We are also promoting sustainable projects within the "Ecocentric Movement" with which we are enabling everyone who wants to get involved to contribute to achieving a better planet,” added Encarna Piñero.
Evolution of travel agencies
Both insisted on the need for travel agencies to evolve, with Escarrer emphasizing that: “It is essential that they specialize and become prescribers who know the product and transmit all the knowledge to the end customer, in order to offer added value. For this reason, the key lies in the intermediation between the client and the companies, who know their clients and their needs and can offer them the best product or service. In addition, it is important to work on digitalization and sustainability aspects.”
“We have always had an excellent relationship with travel agencies. For years we have been hearing that they were going to disappear because of digitalization. The key to success would be to facilitate the work of travel agencies so that they can provide that touch of value and the client can see it,” added Encarna Piñero.
Grupo Piñero's CEO emphasized that “having a strong brand is very important, such as the tourism hub created by Soltour Travel Partners, as it has been shown that during this period of time the brands that have generated the most trust are those that have retained and even built loyalty among new clients.”
Fundamental challenges facing the tourism sector
“After the exodus of talent in recent years, it is very important to invest in internal talent. This is the way to continue being leaders in the sector. In addition, we need to embrace sustainability and help our teams to be leaders and coaches consistent with the internal culture. Being innovative and creative will also be important in order to stay ahead of trends, listening to the client and making the most of digitalization. In the wake of this uncertainty, digitalization has played a key role in being able to measure profitability and efficiency and thus to evaluate internal talent. Our roadmap for this year includes working on internal and external communication. Sometimes you realize that there are strategies or decisions that remain in one area but need to reach the last person in the value chain,” said Encarna Piñero.
After debating this extensive range of issues, the event ended with the presentation of an award that recognizes environmental awareness and care for our planet, the "Most Ecocentric" awards, which Grupo Piñero presented to the Meliá group. Gabriel Escarrer received the award with great enthusiasm and gratitude for the recognition, indicating that he received it on behalf of the group, as an award and an incentive to continue working and improving.
Click here to see photos of this last session.