It’s no longer a secret: the upcoming summer season promises to be sporty. After two years of pandemic and opening borders, travel is reclaiming its rights.
Read also: Travel: After the empty summers… the hell of the overflow! Something to put a smile on the face of travel agents and holiday operators of all kinds. But behind the smiles, tourism professionals expect an operationally difficult summer.
Difficulties in recruiting staff, rising prices and cancellation of flights… as we have already written, you will have to come back to find a customer experience at the top level! In France of course, but also in many other destinations in Europe and around the world. The Americas are not going to be an exception to the rule.
United States and Canada: travelers determined to discover North America
the Canada and the United States reopened their borders on September 7, 2021 and November 8, 2021 respectively. there is no doubt that these two destinations have regained popularity on the French market.
And it is not the rise in prices that has dampened the enthusiasm of travelers. “Prices have risen for vehicle rentals, this has also been the case for air but also on land with sometimes less availability due to the lack of staff. Despite everything, this did not impact the activity, we are full” notice Jérôme Thomann, Technical Director of Jetset Voyages.
Read also: USA travel: what entry requirements? “After a 3-year wait, many travelers are eager to visit Canada this summer“, also notes Louis Michaud, head of sales at Jonview.
For Jean Eustache, CEO of AmériGo : “them UNITED STATES are also going to be a hit this year, but,” he tempers, “the quality on site will not be the same, we are going to experience after-sales like we have not experienced in 20 years“.
What to expect on site?
So what to expect there?
Nathalie Delame, Director of Individual Services USA at AmériGo, participated in the last IPW 2022 in Orlando, the benchmark tourism show in the United States. She was able to experience the changes of the post-Covid era. First of all in hotels where, for lack of chambermaids, cleaning is no longer done daily. “It is possible to request a refresh, but we feel the lack of staff“, she testifies. Ditto for the breakfasts which are no longer served in the dining room. Instead, slightly less qualitative alternatives are offered or box lunches serve as breakfast. “And in some hotels they are outright removed“, also warns Nathalie Delame. A situation that we find in Canada. Some swimming pools are not open and restaurants close early… The French will therefore have to switch to American time for dinner. “Prices have also risen in restaurants with, for example, a burger, drink and fries menu that was around 15 dollars. Now it takes 22 dollars for just the burger and fries“, warns Emmanuelle Vaugeois Bolanos, founder of the receptive Scenic Roads. Finally, car rental companies who sold their vehicles during the pandemic find themselves caught off guard! “It is striking that in the car parks which were usually full, there are hardly any cars left“, is surprised Nathalie Delame of AmériGo. But unlike in Canada, it is always possible to find rentals.”The fleet is reduced in the United States. But there are vehicles which, it’s true, show many kilometers on the odometer… Let’s hope there won’t be too many breakdowns. In Canada, on the other hand, it is impossible to find a car, we have stopped sales for two months“, adds Jean Eustache.
“These are difficulties that travelers will encounter all over the world”, warns Jérôme Thomann of Jetset Voyages. In addition to car rental, other difficulties also affect coaches. During the pandemic, drivers drove the trucks more and since then there has been a shortage of drivers. Not to mention that auto parts have been slow since the pandemic to arrive in the event of a breakdown. Results : “We end up with price increases of 15 to 20%, and sometimes old coaches. I have a group that ended up with a 1998 bus”, says Emmanuelle Vaugeois Bolanos of Scenic Roads. The latter has created a WhatsApp group with other DMCs to help each other. Because beyond the operational difficulties, the DMCs and tour operators are seeing their margins shrink to a trickle.
“We respect the contracts and we end up with lower quality services and higher prices.. Our margins take a hit. Especially on trips postponed due to a pandemic, sometimes we even lose money”, explains Emmanuelle Vaugeois Bolanos.
Customers need to be informed!
“If we are claiming fuel surcharges on air travel and coaches, for price increases that concern hotels and restaurants, we absorb the increases. We are forced to sacrifice our margins“, continues Jean Eustache of AmériGo. And the price increases do not seem ready to stop. “Number of 2022 services had been negotiated in the spring of 2021 during the Covid period and communicated to our customers during 2021 on this basis. Since then inflation has taken nearly 9% overall and even more so in food, hotels and transport (due to petrol, lack of drivers).
And we are still expecting significant inflation in the coming months. The 2023 increases vary from one program to another but it is generally necessary to count a 15% price increase between 2022 and 2023.“adds Emmanuelle Legoff general manager of Go West Tours.
“It is clear that this is not the world before, so it is important to warn customers“, launches Jérôme Thomann of Jetset Voyages.
“Agencies really need to inform their clients. An informed client will be more patient and more conciliatory“, insists the CEO of AmériGo. “We explain the situation as much as possible to the agencies, from the quote to the travel diary“, completes Nathalie Delame. “We hope that information flows to customers. A wise customer will be more understanding.“
For Jetset Voyages, information is also a priority: “Already from the quote, then when booking and finally in the travel diary, we explain the post-Covid world. The customer may think he has paid a higher price, without having the same quality of service. If the client is aware, it will always go better. Jetset customers are never alone and always have the support of local partners.” Emmanuelle Vaugeois Bolanos of Scenic Roads hammers it in turn: “When customers are notified, they react completely differently, they don’t have the impression that we are making fun of them. They have to be told to be patient. On site, we do our best to call back all the hotels. , so that the rooms are cleaned and our guides are also notified to explain the situation to the customers”. Same story on the side of Jonview in Canada: “Our suppliers are present and are eager to welcome visitors, but it is important to inform travelers, before their arrival, that we are still in recovery and that last minute changes are possible and almost unavoidable“. Louis Michaud, head of sales at Jonview adds: “For 2022, it is therefore essential to advise travelers that their Canadian adventure may bring some surprises, but above all great discoveries.”
“Despite this, it should not be forgotten that the landscapes are still just as beautiful!“, launches in turn the founder of Scenic Roads!
Posted by Celine Eymery
Chief Editor – TourMaG.com
See all articles by Céline Eymery