A Discussion with Pure! Travel Group – DMC – Quito, Ecuador
Welcome to the Industry Insider blog series. The Industry Insider aims to highlight common challenges across the tourism industry. From sales to reservations to accounting to operations, we all strive to operate efficiently and profitably. At the core of TourConnect is a passion for uniting the industry around the solutions to these challenges.
Today, we look at a closer look at Pure! Travel Group, a DMC specializing in one-of-a-kind trips to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. We spoke with Bram Evers, general manager for Pure! Travel Group to learn more about the way they do business in South America.
For starters, can you please explain Pure! Travel Group’s background and the types of services that you provide?
Pure! Ecuador was created 12 years ago and in 2013 we opened offices in Bolivia and Colombia and launched the brand ´Pure! Travel Group´. We are now here in Ecuador with 16 people working at the office and 50 employees in total working in the four countries for Pure! Travel Group.
Pure! Travel Group provides tailor made travels to groups, families and single travelers in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. We´ve always had clients from Europe and recently we have been extending our markets to the United States and Australia. Here in South America we work with local providers and service suppliers carefully selected by us to offer high-quality services. The products we offer are Galapagos cruises, adventure packages, Amazon lodges, hotels and haciendas throughout Ecuador.
What makes Pure! Travel Group different from your competitors?
There are a few things that differentiate Pure! Travel Group from other tour operators.
The product we offer is pure. We focus on the content. We want people to get in touch with nature, culture, local communities and not just visit the country and have a look at the touristic highlight. We are always looking for new and special products to keep our portfolio up to date. The products we choose to offer have to be ´green´ because we strive to preserve the natural beauty of our countries so that people can continue to enjoy them centuries from now.
We understand the wishes of a client and we always try to offer the best products that fit those wishes, no matter what they are. We can provide any kind of tour or activity, from the most adventurous ones to the most luxurious ones and everything in between. That is what tailor made means for us.
Pure! Travel group consists of Pure! Bolivia, Pure! Peru, Pure! Ecuador, & Pure! Colombia, so that no matter where our clients want to go, we can offer them localized support. Moreover most of our employees are multilingual which enables us to deliver optimal customer support.
How does Pure! Travel Group distribute their products/how do your customers make bookings?
Up to now, Pure! Travel group is a white-label DMC working exclusively on the B2B market which means customers make a booking with their agency and the agency contacts us.
With our new product: Andes Overland we are trying to sell direct to the consumer. We are starting to focus more on the B2C market by using online platforms to sell our products. This way we do not need to market to the consumer but can be there for support if they need us.
Do you use static annual rates, dynamic pricing, or a mix of both? Why does Pure! Travel Group use this method?
We negotiate very hard with all our suppliers, as we need to be competitive on the B2B market. This means that we keep our margins as low as possible to be able to give fair prices to our clients and their customers. Our prices are always valid for a complete calendar year, so this also enables our clients to print prices and trust there won’t be a variation in them.
How do you keep your current business partners engaged in Pure! Travel Group? How do you communicate with them and how frequently?
We try to involve our partners by keeping them informed on the latest news and changes within the company and within the world of tourism. This is done by means of a monthly newsletter. During the day we maintain contact over Skype and via email. The frequency strongly depends on the developments taking place. We also attend a lot of travel trade events to meet our clients and to gain new clients.
What advice do you have for new Non-Accommodation Tour Suppliers/what are some of the “best practices” that Pure! Travel Group uses?
Always try to make the right decisions while considering the customers’ interest. Closely involve your customers in the process and keep them informed at all times. Personal care and attention is highly appreciated by the client. Once passengers arrive, we also call them during their stay to make sure we have fulfilled their expectations.
The importance of responsible tourism and safety should not be forgotten and be taken into account at all times. Our products are screened on health & service and sustainability. Pure! really tries to get the passengers connected with the country they travel through, on all levels: Naturally, Culturally & Gastronomically. With us it’s not just a tourist visiting a foreign country, it is a full immersion!
Advices for new or fast growing companies would be that you should work with clear processes and a clear core-business, knowing who is responsible for what and maintaining a thorough oversight. Also, at some point, you have to start automating some processes, because otherwise you are going to need too many employees. To do so, you have to know when and how to start using systems for the automating process.
What are the most tedious administration issues that you face? What is the most challenging part of your job?
This varies by country. Some bureaucratic paperwork or highly complicated financial controls are making the work complicated and expensive because we need to invest in specialized staff in order to obey the laws which are constantly changing. Taxes need to be paid in complicated ways.
Right now, all quoting we do is manual. There is a clear process everyone carefully follows but there is no standardized system yet. It´s very complicated to choose which system would fit our company that really works well.
What types of B2B marketing does Pure! Travel Group use?
Trade shows, social media, newsletters, folders, blogs, platforms, Representatives, Travel Associations (ATTA, ATALA, GLOBAL DISCOVERY)
What do the next 5 years look like for Pure! Travel Group? What would you like to see happen/what would you like to focus on?
In the future we would like to expand our area of specialization to other countries in South America. Currently our focus is on gaining more brand awareness among potential clients in order to increase sales and extending our market to other countries. Focusing on one market in particular is too risky.
In addition we are working towards more B2C sales through online platforms, social media and blogs.
How can TourConnect help Pure! Travel Group? What do you hope to achieve from using TourConnect/why did you decide to sign up with TourConnect?
TourConnect could help us communicate with our clients, to not have to be emailing back and forth about quotes. It could help us meet new agencies that are interested in offering travels in our countries. We can also get in touch with other local operators to discuss problems/challenges we face so that we can learn from each other.
The TourConnect Takeaway
Pure! Travel Group is at a stage in their corporation where they need to find ways to reduce administrative work so that they can continue to provide excellent customer service without having to hire new employees. This is critical for any business and as Bram mentioned, if you can’t find ways of automating certain processes, you will cost your company time and money.
One way that TourConnect can help with this is through our standardized annual contracts. This will allow Pure! Travel group to receive their suppliers’ products in a consistent format as well as allowing them to send out their rates to their distribution partners.
Another way that TourConnect can help Pure! Travel Group is by allowing each of their offices to log into their main account to see which products are available to distribute at any given time. We can also store all of their business contacts in one place and these contacts are updated by their partners so that all of the information is always accurate and up-to-date.
We would like to thank Bram very much for going into so much detail about the way that Pure! Travel Group operates. As always, we encourage you to share your comments below to offer up any other ways that they could improve their business or automate some of their daily processes.