Raouf Ben Slimane : "L’enjeu principal et immédiat c’est la continuité, la reprise sans rupture, sans à coups, car il n

Raouf Ben Slimane (Ôvoyages): “How can we not fear the recovery after so many uncertainties …”

Destinations

TourMaG.com – How do you see the recovery and what are the main challenges, according to you?
Raouf Ben Slimane:
The recovery started in May after Emmanuel Macron’s positive speech including the opening program.
Although it is therefore recent to draw conclusions, there are still various very strong signals which are already giving the trend for the future.
A bulimia of travel, a desire to make up for lost time and to enjoy the simple things in life, the youngest, including the students who have been among the most psychologically affected, are also more likely to leave despite the budget because they need it .
On the other hand, we note that, in a context of constantly changing information, the French book a lot directly, believing that with fewer intermediaries, they will better control any contingencies linked to their trip.
At the same time, however, physical networks have experienced good growth for weeks, indicating that the proportion of French people wishing to travel abroad is higher than the usual trend, precisely because of the frustrations caused by the pandemic and its consequences. repeated confinements.
I remain fundamentally optimistic about the level of the recovery when it becomes linear again, the problem is knowing when …
The main and immediate issue is continuity, the recovery without breaking, without jolts, because there is nothing more disturbing and more complicated to manage than the effects of yoyo.
In fact, on the client side, this prevents them from being able to project themselves and, on the professional side, from being able to plan and keep their strategic plan. In this case, as far as we are concerned, we are at least in the 4th correction of our business recovery plan, which itself has an optimistic view and a much more cautious one.
However, the pandemic will not disappear in 2022, if it will never disappear, surely forcing us to vaccinate ourselves every year as we do for the flu for the most vulnerable among us.
Therefore, it will be necessary at some point – and the sooner the better – that we integrate the need to put in place the same rules and the same protocols of movement and control of people at the global level, as we do. succeeded in doing so to fight terrorism.
The sooner we get there, the faster we will address the financial, technological and HR and CSR issues.
To do this, we must already avoid hiccups in terms of communication so that it is more reassuring and less anxiety-provoking, because since Clément Beaune’s words on July 8, the sales curve has crashed sharply before picking up slowly but never at the same level as that of June.
The economic consequences of this slippage will be very heavy for the entire profession.

TourMaG.com – Will human resources play an axial role in reviving the tourism industry?
Raouf Ben Slimane:
The answer is in the question, that’s exactly it, human resources have had a role and will have a central role in contributing to the recovery tomorrow.
Let us not forget that we are in a service business, and HR is our raw material, the price of which has risen sharply due to the pandemic.
This material has become much more demanded and appreciated by customers who have sought and found in the human relationship between professionals and consumers, THE solution to the problems posed by cancellations, credits, postponements, refunds, re-protections, etc. .
The quality human relationship based on availability, active listening and responsiveness is part of the know-how of a large part of HR and is the key criterion for customer satisfaction in a context of anxiety and expectation. strong reinsurance.
As a result, apart from the skills intrinsic to each function, human relations are the added value of human resources.
As far as we are concerned, we had been pushed to reflect and even advised to proceed with a PES, and I think our decision not to have fired anyone is the best we have taken, especially when you see the skills gap on the market and the current and future HR needs of our industry.
TourMaG.com – At the level of your company, what are you going to change and what are the challenges to be taken up in the coming months?
Raouf Ben Slimane:
The challenges are at all levels: technological, HR as I have just mentioned, but also in terms of CSR, an urgent subject for some who have fallen behind like us and who have the honesty to recognize it when others have got on the bandwagon or ahead as Voyageurs du Monde, which is an example of coherence between speech and action and which, in this regard, is worth respect and represents an example to follow.
Concretely, solidarity being in our DNA, we have initiated a CSR strategy by seeking to capitalize and increase this culture of solidarity and dedicated to the same objective, which is not to grow, but to flourish and to be useful in what we do for our clients and for ourselves.
This is how growth must be more than ever a result, rather than a goal.
And of course, we are going to study the urgent actions to be put into practice to contribute at our modest level to the support of those in France and elsewhere who suffer because they are sick or without vital resources.
Finally, there is no CSR policy without reducing its carbon footprint and here too we will take action after years of knowing how, what, when.
It is better to do it late and sincerely than early and just out of opportunism.

TourMaG.com – Do you fear this recovery, between the drop in aid, the repayment of assets and additional indebtedness, in particular with the EMP?
Raouf Ben Slimane:
How not to fear the recovery after so many uncertainties undergone in a context where we, leaders, are used to controlling things and nothing seems to be under control ?!
The challenge as I speak to you is to be able to consider, predict and plan a pattern of our activity according to several assumptions that take into account the history of the pandemic, the history of the market outside the pandemic and the history of the market in the face of other disasters such as terrorism, but also taking into account our financial, human and psychological resources.
In short, a set of parameters that make it possible to calibrate the anticipation capacities with the real means in order to limit the damage and maximize the potential in the event of a strong recovery.
To do this, we have no other choice but to stay in place for the long term and even definitely in anticipation.
Since the start of the disaster, with our teams, we have never stopped looking for solutions for the management of postponements, with the creation of a dedicated site, to then maintain the performance of our production tool through the constant relationship with our hotel and airline suppliers in order to probe and anticipate their situation and their decisions regarding the opening of hotels and the provision of devices dedicated to us in order to adapt our offer when the time comes.
In conclusion, it is through your actions and in particular anticipation that you maintain the balances that have become more fragile.
Albert Einstein said: ” Life is like a bicycle, you have to move forward so as not to lose your balance “. In professional life, it is exactly the same!
When you can no longer work on the present, you are forced to work anyway, but this time on the future.
As far as aid is concerned, I am not overly worried because the government has gone so far in providing support that we can imagine a capacity for adaptation on its part in the event of prolonged difficulties. Especially since our authorities – Seto and EDV – are always on the front line to precisely adapt the discourse and possibly our requests, and for this we must pay them a very strong tribute.
For assets, we have already anticipated a reimbursement which remains reasonable and which is only potential due to the significant processing of deferrals carried out by our teams, thanks to the dedicated site that we have created (ovoyagesreport.com) and also the fact that the mass of direct customers to be reimbursed is not significant in our overall turnover.
As for the EMP, we asked for the strict minimum for safety, but there is no question of using it because our cash flow is sufficient to still face any new yoyos …
TourMaG.com – Faced with this pandemic, what do you think the tourism of tomorrow will look like?
Raouf Ben Slimane:
I will tell you only part of my thought, the other part, since it is a matter of strategy, I will keep it to myself.
I think nothing is going to change on the consumer side as long as we professionals do not change anything because, as I have said many times before, it is the supply that causes and makes the demand, not the other way around.
If I decide to make my offer more focused on a more upscale, greener, more responsible product segment, the customer will buy it not because that’s exactly what they’re looking for, but because I have decided to educate him on my offer.
For example, I take the wellness product that we created not because it met a demand but precisely to bring a different offer to the market. Ditto when we open unknown destinations, which the customer did not ask, we knew that he would be seduced by the novelty.
The clothing, automotive, equipment, housing, etc. industries. all work like this. They create the trend and the type of products consumed tomorrow.
So tomorrow’s market will look like what we travel operators want it to look like.
And on this I feel a consensus to move towards more responsible travel, more meaning, more experiences, more connections, and personally I will add more ethics between the partners, because we are all on the same boat. , or rather the same galley …
In this sense, ethics also join the notion of solidarity which should not be an empty word used just to give ourselves a clear conscience.

Find all the articles in our summer 2021 series by clicking on this link.