TourMaG.com – Currently what is the situation for Bravo Club?
Patrice Caradec: For the past few months, we have been groping between opening and closing.
We received a lot of encouragement at the end of 2020, with the opening of our club in the Dominican Republic. We have also recorded very good filling rates, with our new Bravo Club concept: a more zen animation, the Fitness coach and the Maestro Bravo who brings the destination to life outside and in the club.
At the end of January, the health situation and the latest government announcements cut our wings. We brought back all our clients at the end of their stays, then our animators. We then closed our dates until March 8th. We move forward week after week. The decision to cancel departures is taken 18 days from the date of departure.
In this context, February will be the first month without activity.
We are of course ready to reopen as soon as the ban is lifted. I think it will be mid-April at best.
TourMaG.com – How are you preparing for spring?
Patrice Caradec: We hope not to miss the month of April which corresponds to the opening of our medium-haul clubs.
Our club in Sicily will open the ball in April, it is full from the opening. At the beginning of May we will continue with Spain: Menorca, Mallorca and Marbella, then with Croatia and Greece (1 club in Greece and two in Crete). Finally on May 1st, we will also open Djerba in Tunisia.
Let us not forget either Agadir in Morocco that we had opened for the holidays and that we have since closed.
“Outside the Dominican Republic, we will not be opening long-haul clubs this summer”
TourMaG.com – Are you going to focus only on medium-haul. What about long-haul?
Patrice Caradec: We will reopen the Dominican Republic as soon as possible. However, we have decided not to reopen the other long-haul clubs for the summer: Caribbean, Asia, Mexico.
We keep long-haul clubs warm and will only reopen them in October 2021 for the All Saints holidays which will begin this year on October 23, 2021.
TourMaG.com – With the lack of visibility, reservations are only made at the last minute. How do you think we can encourage reservations? Don’t we need more flexibility in the offers?
Patrice Caradec: Bravo Club has launched a “Book with peace of mind” offer valid until March 31, 2021 for all departures until November 7, 2021.
It allows modification and cancellation free of charge up to 15 days before departure, all-inclusive prices which include the baggage allowance. I would like to emphasize this point on luggage because it seems essential to me. Some of my competitors do not offer the baggage rate although the rate is displayed all inclusive …
Finally, Bravo Club undertakes to organize the PCR test for holidaymakers at their destination if it is requested to return to France. It is very important to reassure customers. On this point we will take care of everything. This is part of the missions and services that we have to put in place for clients.
Read: Bravo Club will organize PCR tests for vacationers at destination
A complete offer reassures future vacationers. And for my direct customers, in B2C, we added an additional brick: the reservation with zero down payment so that customers can pay 15 days before departure. We are currently working on an IT development that will allow this option on our site.
TourMaG.com – Not taking a deposit, is not cutting cash?
Patrice Caradec: Overall it seems to me a real obstacle to ask for a deposit when booking in the current context. The holdings saved our industry, however I’m not sure we’ve gained in image …
18 months is a long time to recover a deposit or a balance, for consumers. It would be fashionable to show that the profession as a whole: TO, producers, suppliers and agencies is capable of flexibility.
What we want is: to garner reservations. To achieve this we need a minimum of constraints for the end customer. Asking for a 25% or 30% deposit on destinations where customers are not sure they can leave on arrival … it’s complicated.
The success of Booking.com is largely based on its concept of being able to book without paying. Customers pay at the hotel. This is his number one asset. It is part of his success.
If the profession does not make an effort, we will run last minute sales. Many suppliers already offer to book without a deposit on their own site: must this go through the only direct sales channel?
TourMaG.com – The deposit 15 days before departure, it is not possible to set up at B2B?
Patrice Caradec: As much as I can decide for my own sales channel, but I can’t do it for distribution. Hotels, airlines … other tourism players have set up very flexible commercial conditions during a covid period.
We have to look at this subject from the networks and agencies side. Cash is very important, but if the client does not reserve on arrival there is no cash either. I am not asking for money before departure, I just want to make reservations.
It seems to me to be complicated in the current period, to bind clients with a deposit and cancellation fees, for a reservation made well before the departure date.
Flexibility, flexibility, this is not the image that the profession conveys.
We must take the lead on this subject for a period of 2 or 3 months to renew if necessary. As soon as the borders open, it would be worth it to send a global message, for example on the period March 1 to April 30: book without constraint!
What travelers want is to plan for their vacation!
TourMaG.com – How are you organized from the point of view of your teams?
Patrice Caradec: We were 28 employees and we are 26, after two voluntary departures including that of Romaric Bau.
I maintained the teams. Currently 18 are 100% short-time work and 8 work between 20% and 50% to maintain activity, keep in contact with suppliers, review transport plans …
TourMaG.Com – Does your parent company support you?
Patrice Caradec: They support us, for them it is out of the question to drop the French market. We have obviously revised our business plan.
What we had to achieve in 3 years we will undoubtedly do in 5 years. We will pass the 2021 milestone whatever the cost with government aid, and the EMP. We are doing our rounds by continuing to move forward and think about new concepts and new clubs
Posted by Céline Eymery
Editor-in-Chief – TourMaG.com
See all articles by Céline Eymery