AIC Wechat

Mini AIC

Thinktank Wechat

Home  >Press Room >

AIC Talk | John Felix: Weathering the storm (Part 2)



Do you think C2C/B2C models pose a threat to traditional airline holiday products?


“Technology always exists in one form or another.”


The short answer is NO. It does enrich the offering though, to potential customers.

In the past, we leveraged legacy technology for B2B distribution, and primarily operational, formatted communications with both customers and suppliers. 

Today, more customers are seeing value in having easy access to information, particularly in the Boutique and Unique accommodation segment, with the ability to see firsthand customer reviews. Suppliers and Providers are using this opportunity to present their products in a richer and customer friendly manner. 

The front end evolution and simplification of technology has brought about the realization, that well thought out and strategic increased investment in technology, will provide a return. The current environment has inspired both Customers and Providers to embrace technology.   

Platforms like Trip Advisor, and are valuable, because they provide convenient (although sometimes clinical) online booking services. AirBnB gives small, unique and personal accommodation and experience providers the ability to present their offering directly to the public. It also provides the opportunity for customers to communicate and book directly with the Owner/Host. This type of service is very relevant to the adventurous, destination knowledgeable and seasoned traveler segment of the market. and similar platforms provide product neutral booking services for hotels anywhere in the world, the quality and standards of these hotels, varies. It is entirely your responsibility to research the reviews when selecting. It’s a convenient option for customers who are not quite happy with any travel agency in terms of destination knowledge, service quality, or options available. However a professional Travel Agency will do the research for you, based on your specific holiday objectives and will consult and guide you through the process of short listing the best possible options, for your selection.  

For Airline Tour Operators, gaining the trust and providing consistent confidence in your brand and product to the customer is paramount. Extending the values of safety, security, quality and reliability, of the airline, to the entire holiday package, from start to finish, is the strategy. Each element of the holiday package (transfers, hotels and tours), is researched and selected, prior to inclusion and must complement the positioning and product of the airline.  Providing customers the confidence to request and demand for your holiday product, amidst other providers in the same segment. A professional Travel Agent remains a valuable part of the distribution chain, to provide knowledge, support and security, whenever it is relevant. The consistent ability to provide this service, with knowledge and quality, will ensure that they retain their position in the chain.

These industry entrants will not pose a threat to Tour Operators like Emirates Holidays, but will provide a wider range of options to a growing consumer segment. When low cost airlines arrived in the market, after the initial disruption, the size of the market grew and now both low cost and full service airlines exist cohesively, while providing the customer a wider range of choice. The same logic applies to luxury and budget hotels, cars, clothes and restaurants, as a few examples. 

In today’s fast paced world of business and living, Holidays and Leisure time is not a luxury, but an extremely valuable component of life, for everyone. Getting it right the first time has been a driving force for Emirates Holidays. Hence the cost, time and effort researching, selecting and packaging all the elements to make a stress free holiday, was the mission.

quote 2.jpeg

One of the questions you asked was can anybody else do it? Yes they can. But they must deliver quality consistently.  Fundamental is that the team involved in the delivery is professional, capable and respected, as holidays are delivered by passionate people, creatively using technology, all through the process.  

What Emirate Holidays specialized in and what I (as a specialist in leisure operation) look at in the industry is the ability and commitment of companies to invest in both technology and people, to deliver consistently. Both the company and the staff, carry the commitment and responsibility for delivery of product and profits. 

If we messed up a holiday, it meant that the person who bought our package, entrusting their wellbeing to us, is deprived of getting the rest and recreation time necessary for them to continue delivering value to their companies. 

At the end of the day a good holiday is a state of mind, made up of memories.


Responses have been edited for length.