Ms. Müller-Eckert, the forecast for travel reservations in 2009 are not good in light of the crisis. How is Schmetterling Reisen GmbH & Co. KG (the cooperation of German travel agencies) dealing with this?
It is true that the forecasts are not great, but that is not the case for all travel destination and forms of vacation. We have established that travel within Germany is on the rise, and there is potential that we would like to exploit here.
We are expanding all sales channels for this and for our associated travel agents, adding products to our range that were previously not available for booking. For example, I am thinking of Germany tours, wellness packages and trips to events. We and our travel agents are looking into new business divisions such as diving centers, group travel and internally organized events.
And what about marketing measures? In crisis periods, many companies rule these out …
We are not doing this. We are stepping up our market activity, as this is when it is important. We are focusing on target regions that offer potential. We are putting more into online marketing, and currently expanding our booking system for travel in Germany.
Consumers have greater means of finding information through the Internet and our travel websites offer a complete service from choosing a hotel to deciding on a particular rental car.
Which country would you personally recommend as a vacation destination?
That depends entirely on the needs of the individual. Families can enjoy countries like Turkey or Tunisia where the price-performance ratio is favorable. For those looking for mini breaks and wanting good levels of security, Germany and Austria are a good option. For something different, it may be advisable to travel long haul, or perhaps to Italy or France.
And where will you be traveling this year?
I like to relax on a balcony or terrace. As we are expecting a baby in the summer, our holiday this year will be somewhere close to home.
Thank you very much for the interview!
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