31 Jan Tourism profiles continue through new trends
Martin Winkler, CEO of the Verkehrsbüro Group, has his priorities firmly established
The Verkehrsbüro Group is a leader in leisure tourism, with subsidiaries across the CEE region. Could you give us an overview?
We comprise three areas: leisure tourism, which includes branches across Austria, small tour operators, and collaboration with other industries. Our turnover is $740m million, and we offer services to 1.5 million tourists from over 60 countries.
Our business travel division has a turnover of about $207 million, and has strong alliances across the country and the continent. And the third division is our hotels. We have national and international hotels as well as future projects, and we extend to other areas of hospitality.
What is the revenue and potential of each area?
Leisure tourism is our largest income, and employment is highest in our hotels. Our strength is in our diversity, combining incoming and outgoing business, B2B practices and private customers. We see high potential in our hotels, which provide opportunities in Austria and our neighboring countries, including Germany.
“ “My focus will still be on our two success factors: our customers and our employees.”
Martin Winkler, CEO of the Verkehrsbüro Group
What are your priorities for 2019?
One is cultural change. We have a strong position in the Austrian market but to stay number one we have to strike out into the international trend and seek innovation. Digitalization is an area for investment, to ensure strong business and availability on and offline. And we continue to invest in the quality of our hotels in Vienna’s booming MICE economy.
How will you maintain Vienna as a significant location for MICE tourism?
Our success in MICE tourism comes from our hotels and conference centres, and a very fast turnover. Everything is instant and online efficiency is essential. Investment in infrastructure and collaboration with local businesses will ensure our top position.
What is Verkehrsbüro’s USP in this competitive arena?
We aim to be a one-stop shop, offering all aspects of business travel, and we have proven expertise and reputation. We also stand out for eco-friendly business travel, which still has limited availability.
China now leads world tourism. What is your internationalization strategy, and how do you intend to tap into the Asian market?
China is currently fifth in our market statistics. To reach our international market we need to offer tailored packages according to different cultural tourist requirements.
We want to build international partnerships and train our staff to adapt to cultural expectations. Austrians are known for our charm, but we must also offer Asian visitors the best experience, and our product might need adapting for that market. We have the resources to accommodate this challenge, and we know that Austria’s hospitality makes our customers keep coming back.
Innovation recognizes and sets trends. How is Verkehrsbüro a trendsetter?
It’s not always easy. But our innovation is developing our MICE sector with new formats and digitalization. We offer a combination of offline and online services for everything our customers need, to provide a physical presence and online dominance. We embrace digital progress but we only use it for improvement.
What has been the impact of digitalization?
We want to offer a one-stop shop, that customers see as the choice for all their holiday needs in a streamlined, easy and interactive online space, and our next step is to condense that into a three-click process. We are a people’s business, but digitalization shapes everything, from our business strategies to individual jobs.
Where will Verkehrsbüro be in five years?
My focus will still be on our two success factors: our customers and our employees. Our vision is to keep our staff highly motivated and offer customers every possible option. Tourism is a growing market and for our shareholders we also want to encourage new investment.
What is your final message?
Verkehrsbüro is committed and passionate about hospitality, and beyond digitalization and investment, our focus remains on the people.