Travel firms are preparing for a fierce battle in a bid to secure growth over the next five years, it was predicted at the World Travel Market (WTM) Vision Conference-London.
Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research, Caroline Bremner, told senior industry delegates at the event organized by Reed Travel Exhibition’s event World Travel Market, that growth in the travel sector would be flat for the next five years.
She said this would be part of a global trend which will see a combination of price pressure and falling and stagnating incomes combine to depress growth in the sector.
Instead, Expedia Managing Director UK and Ireland, Andy Washington, said if companies wanted to continue to grow, they would have to do so at each others’ expense.
He added, the online travel agency saw double-digit growth last year, and he is intent on filing similar results for 2012.
He said: “For Expedia we look for growth across the global markets and we intend to do that.
“Ten percent growth should continue online, and it is going to be from taking market share of competitors by being better, smarter, and fulfilling the consumers’ demands.”
Tui Travel UK and Ireland Managing Director, David Burling, said the “most dramatic” growth the operator has recently seen has been in the all-inclusive sector, largely thanks to families.
While refusing to predict figures for this year, he said the operator would continue to focus on investing in technology and product exclusivity.
He added, “The key thing for us is the quality of our business.”
EasyJet Director UK Market, Paul Simmons, admitted growth would be reduced compared to last year, but still predicted the airline would see a single-digit increase.
He said, “The trading environment is difficult but not impossible; we need to make sure people are stimulated and want to travel.”
The Hoseasons Group Managing Director, Geoff Cowley, said the challenge for the UK market would be to continue re-educating UK travelers on the improvements made in the domestic market, as well as benefit from the feel-good factor generated by both the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.
He added, “Part of the challenge now is to continue educating the customers about how the quality of the accommodation has improved.”
Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market, Simon Press, said: “It was great to hear not only the in-depth analysis that Euromonitor International provided but also the conversations it triggered.
“With growth predicted to flatline for the next five years, travel companies will not only have to compete but innovate if they are to grow successfully.
“I was also delighted to see so many senior industry delegates attend WTM Vision Conference-London and see them so involved in the event, too.”