Laurent Abitbol (Selectour): “We will refuse to be the turkeys of the stuffing”

“I am very happy to be in Greece, the favorite destination of the French, especially after the Covid. The country has effectively positioned itself ranked first among foreign destinations in the summer of 2022. And Laurent Abitbol to evoke the guest of honor, the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. “We have always received an ex-president, maybe you will receive a future president”, he laughed. CSR, this “fashionable subject”, and the place of women in tourism will be among the highlights of the event.

Legal action?

In plenary, Laurent Abitbol was particularly talkative… and vehement on the subject of air transport. Evoking the “stingy and miserly companies”, those “which no longer respect the law”, and the “rogue” companies…

“One thing is certain, the companies, you have a job, a job to respect your travel agent customers and your end customers. We are truly considered the last wheel in the cart. »

The chairman also recalled the strike force of GIE Asha, which brings together Selectour and Havas Voyages (2004 points of sale). A group that represents “50% of the retail market in France”, a “huge” strike force in negotiations. At least with TOs, hoteliers, car rental companies. “We just have a problem with the airlines,” added Laurent Abitbol.

The boss also spoke directly to Air France, still in plenary. “We want to negotiate win-win. Currently, we are losing. “A situation that the boss considers unfair. “Especially since we sell business and first class”, while digital platforms sell low prices. And to threaten for example to sell on Greece, instead of Air France, the airline Aegean…

Call for a postponement, as much as necessary

“We cannot earn less than before. We will not accept this NDC if the productivity is not the same as before. Our lawyers are working on things that are not acceptable. »

Then it was Amadeus who took it for his rank. “Your arrangements with Air France are your arrangements. We will always refuse to be the turkeys of the farce. “Amadeus, Air France, as long as it doesn’t work, we will refuse, we will ask for the postponement. »

Negotiations are continuing with these two “partners”, while some sellers are threatening to introduce a surcharge. Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the network with 1,000 points of sale will use more or less intensively the in-house Wonder Booking booking tool (in which Selectour is a shareholder), which makes it possible to “go live, without going through the toll of Amadeus”.

Laurent Abitbol also commented on another dominant carrier in France, SNCF. Regarding the distribution agreement concluded for 5 years with the railway company, including Ouigo, “we are not proud of it (…). A country that has no competition is tragic. »

A TV campaign in 2023

The congress, placed under the theme “Rebuild”, got off to a successful start… despite a power cut lasting a few minutes, which affected the neighborhood where it is taking place. A congress which remains “the most important” in the industry, with that of Travel Companies, noted Jean-Noël Lefeuvre, Managing Director of Selectour.

It is also an opportunity to share the network’s figures and projects. “95% of your balance sheets are good. You have restarted the machine, through your management and government aid. After the congratulations, the members were invited to “respect the decisions of headquarters 100%”. Those who comply 100% will earn a better living, the executive board has decided. Agencies are notified.

Looking to the future, two major projects command attention. First, the continuation of the renovation of the branches (with a new assumption of responsibility by the head office, covering 25% of the costs). Then, a major advertising campaign, for 1.5 million euros from January 23 to February 19, 2023. More than 3000 broadcasts are planned on 30 TV channels including BFM TV. In addition, a large digital system including social networks will be deployed. The seahorse will even land on Waze.

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Laurent Abitbol (Selectour): “We will refuse to be the turkeys of the stuffing”