Skift Take

The travel industry is still trying to figure out the best way to deal with overtourism — but just the fact that so many players are talking about the issue is a good thing.

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of video interviews from the Skift Take Studio, presented by Rydoo, that were filmed at Skift Forum Europe.

During the April event in Berlin, we heard from  travel industry leaders across sectors. And after first speaking to them on stage, we took another few minutes with the executives to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.

With more than 370 hotels in 43 countries, Meliá Hotels is familiar with the tension that comes with wanting to attract more customers in destinations that might not be equipped for the increase.

Chief Operating Officer André Gerondeau said the phenomenon — which Skift calls overtourism — requires a careful, thoughtful strategy.

“I think it has to do a lot with quality over quantity and how do you segment correctly, and I think we’re concerned with the way the business is distributed fairly,” he said.

He called out cruise lines in particular, though he also added that the Spanish company “very much” appreciates that industry.

“But it’s true that certain destinations, certain periods of the week, there is so much intensity that I think it detracts from the customer experience within the destination,” Gerondeau said.

Some destinations including Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia, have been outspoken about cruise-related crowds, and cruise executives addressed the issue at an industry conference earlier this year.

In his behind-the-scenes conversation, Gerondeau also shared his thoughts on the use of technology, the information that customers have at their disposal, and the challenge of engaging guests the right way.

“We just want to make sure that we know exactly what we’re looking for in the customer rather than going after everything and just shooting around,” he said. “We try to be very specific in order to disturb the customer the less so they get a perception that we are trying to add value, the most that we can, rather than just being behind them 20 times a day.”

Watch all the Skift Take Studio videos here.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: melia, overtourism, skift forum europe, STS Europe 2018

Photo credit: André Gerondeau, chief operating officer of Meliá Hotels International, spoke in the Skift Take Studio. Skift

Up Next

Loading next stories