Christoph Wahl Practice Group Leader, Berlin
Travel & Hospitality
Despite advances in communication technologies, people will always need and want to travel.Today’s travelers are supported by a huge services industry that continuously strives to enable a cost-efficient and convenient travel experience. This industry includes companies from the passenger transport segment, such as airlines and airports, railways, ferry operators, public transport and rental car companies, as well as hospitality and leisure companies such as hotels and resorts, cruise lines, casinos, and theme parks. The industry also comprises tour operators, travel agencies, aviation services and travel services companies.
Producing a high-quality service at the lowest cost is a challenge that already demands external benchmarking and out-of-the-box thinking from industry executives. Further growth in the global travel & hospitality market will require leaders to upgrade their competencies accordingly.
Which skills are needed now?
Management teams throughout the Travel & Hospitality sector all face similar challenges, from both a strategic and a tactical perspective, as well as commercially and operationally. All companies in this industry welcome large groups of customers on a daily basis and strive to make their travel experience essentially faultless, while exceeding their expectations. Intense day-to-day competition requires a strong focus on tactical management. Regular price and capacity adjustments also demand outstanding daily operational management skills. Consequently, leaders in this industry need to be analytically strong and highly number-driven.
In view of the intensely competitive environment in Travel & Hospitality, executives also need to excel at challenging the status quo, optimizing the commercial model and boosting productivity as a result. In addition to constantly streamlining their business models, industry leaders will be required to proactively integrate sustainability into their overall strategy.
Looking to the future, the fast-growing economies in Asia and Latin America will not only generate latent travel demand, but will also create bigger playing fields for local/regional incumbents or new entrants. This will change the rules of the game for established players in more mature markets, who will need to revisit their strategic position. As a result, tomorrow’s Travel & Hospitality leaders will have to be strategic thinkers who can foster a culture of change and innovation, anticipate changing paradigms and implement forward-looking responses early on. In addition, emerging trends towards greater deregulation and the further centralization and professionalization of planning and steering processes like financial controlling, revenue management and CRM/loyalty programs will create new challenges for Travel & Hospitality companies. Since their internal talent pool is often limited, companies will increasingly seek to attract external talent with the functional experience required to tackle such issues.
How can Egon Zehnder support the Travel & Hospitality industry?
Our global Travel & Hospitality Practice covers the whole value chain of the travel experience, and our excellent track record across all segments of the industry is built on extensive experience. We believe that the common thread in these segments is the consumer “guest” experience, which requires a high degree of operational complexity and lean procedures at both back-office level and in customer-facing functions. We enable our clients to grow their competitive advantage through the identification, assessment and recruitment of talented professionals with exceptional potential for the Travel & Hospitality sector.
How we operate
The ability to leverage our global Travel & Hospitality Practice, which includes consultants with primary expertise and a passion for the industry, enables us to assemble international teams that offer our clients optimal solutions. Over the past 5 years we have completed over 700 searches, working with clients on senior general management positions, as well as on specific mandates for key functions. Our client base is international and our searches have a very strong cross-border element. In view of the high pressure to consolidate and the trend towards strategic investments/M&A to capture market positions, the Travel & Hospitality Practice boasts a rich set of management appraisal and talent management credentials in the context of post-merger integration, privatization or M&A pre-due diligence.