Rashad Mammadov revealed the tour operator concept of OneTouch & Travel
One of the intrigues of the upcoming tourist season is the ambitions of the tour operator OneTouch & Travel in Turkey. The company is part of the TBS Group holding and previously worked in the field of online booking, now it is preparing to actively send customers to Turkish resorts. The acuteness of the situation is added by the fact that the head of OneTouch & Travel Rashad Mammadov also heads a group of companies in the network travel agency business. TourDom.ru correspondent asked Rashad Mammadov, the owner of TBS Group, provocative questions arising in this regard among tourism professionals.
Rashad, your company is primarily known as a strong player in the travel retail, but now go to the territory of your own suppliers – large tour operators. How are you going to compete with them and maintain lucrative contracts at the same time?
Immediately ask the most pressing question! No, I am not competing with major tour operators who direct the main tourist flows from Russia to Turkey and are key partners in my retail projects. I will not compete with them, but with small Turkish DMCs – those who travel agencies turn to if clients need personal attention at resorts.
Yes exactly. And also the opportunity to contact the operator at any time, inform the wishes of tourists, monitor the situation on the spot – that’s what the retail representatives are waiting for. It is in this format that OneTouch & Travel will work. While maintaining its manufacturability, it will become a supplier close to travel agencies. I guarantee it personally.
Personally? That is, are you ready to get involved in solving work issues yourself?
Of course, I am always in touch. In tourism they know that I am a very open person. Many have my phone number, you can write to me in social networks, I always answer and help. And since I am mostly in Turkey, since the launch of our new tour operator project, I have been delving into all the details of serving tourists at the resorts.
Having experience in retail business, I know what is important and necessary for agencies. We are people who are accustomed to communication, we want to convey our thoughts, we love to be engaged and our clients accompanied in 24 x 7. OneTouch & Travel provides just such a service. I want to return direct contact between partners to the practice of working in the tourism market. Perhaps, over time, large tour operators will think about the fact that the agency segment needs it.
This is a rather laborious business format. Is OneTouch & Travel targeting VIP travelers?
Each guest is a VIP for us, whatever his budget. You can not divide people – “he paid more, this less.” Everyone has their own dream, everyone should feel their value, regardless of whether they have booked a 5 * or 3 * hotel. There are worthy accommodation facilities in all price categories, which are widely represented in our range.
By the way, your host partner – Kilit Global Holding – owns a number of popular hotels. AT Kilit Hospitality Groupincludes brands such as AMARA, Crystal, Nirvana … Does OneTouch & Travel have special rates and other preferences at these properties?
Now there is only one way to get special conditions for cooperation: to take the entire hotel into management. We do not plan to do this yet. And in any case, we do not even raise the issue of preferences before Kilit Global. It is important for the holding to maintain parity in relations with all Russian partners; any protectionism is inappropriate here. For our part, we will sell not only hotels that are part of the Kilit Hospitality Group, but also all worthy hotels on the Turkish coast.
On the question of prices. In general, it’s time to stop chasing discounts, look for someone who has a product for a dollar cheaper. We must compete with the quality of service. This is the policy of OneTouch & Travel, and this is what I call on all market participants.
Another question that many are interested in: Turkish capital is present in OneTouch & Travel, right?
And which of the major tour operators sending Russians to Turkey does not have Turkish capital?
What is your relationship with Vadim Shpilman, the former head of OneTouch & Travel now? Two years ago, you stopped working with him against the background of a conflict …
Everything is fine in this regard. We are friends. Everything has already been passed.
Are you considering the possibility in the future to delegate the management of a tour operator company or another project to some charismatic top manager? Or will you personally manage everything now?
Twice, through life experience, I was convinced that outsourcing the management of your business to someone else is the wrong decision. It’s like giving your son over to someone else’s hands, even to good educators, and leaving yourself to rest for several years. When you return, you can be very surprised what happened to this child.
Let a stone be thrown at me now, they will say, Rashad is against teamwork, but I remain unconvinced. I believe that this is exactly what the teamwork consists of, so that the owner of the company himself delves into all the processes. The employees are used to the fact that if I’m at the helm, then everything goes according to plan. Here you need to find a common language with the entire large team, professionally build relationships in it, loving and not offending anyone.
And further. Can you imagine your TourDom without Tatyana Dmitrova? Or Pegasus without Ramazan Bey, Coral without Joshkun Bey … Can’t you? Right. The owner must be in control.
As for OneTouch & Travel, I have someone to rely on as a leader on this project. The tour operator part is handled by Ekaterina Presnyakova, the agency department is by Valeria Romanenkova, I trust them, they are known in the industry. I can’t find anyone better than them.
With the advent of your tour operator business, are there any reforms expected in other companies of the holding?
No, the 1001 Tour Network, the TBS Group Reservation Center, and the Ruspo search engine will continue to work in the same format.
In conclusion, Rashad, your opinion: how can a travel agency stay on the market today? Please give advice as a recognized expert in the field of retail.
It is very difficult in such a situation to give smart advice … I can only share my thoughts. I think those companies will survive that will not practice pointless discounts by luring customers. These are not the times to dump and work on the turnover, you have to fight for profitability. And it is in vain that some cry that in previous years, for such and such a period, they made three million, and now – only one. They should have remembered that then their commission was 7%, today – 12%, this gives a chance to survive and wait for the opening of directions. Thank God, you can sell Turkey, Russia, it is possible that Egypt will become available. And I know for sure: people will always need tourism. There is hope!