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Sustainable Supplier Development in tour operations

Sustainable Supplier Development in tour operations

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Sustainable Supplier Development in tour operations

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  1. Sustainable Supplier Development in tour operations Karen Schwartz Mass Tourism. Whatever happened to ‘Sunlust’ Tourism? ATLAS SIG Meeting Coventry University 14 May 2007

  2. Outline • The emergence of Sustainable Supplier Development (SSD) in tour operations • Influences on engagement in SSD • SSD activities • Challenges and recommendations

  3. What is Sustainable Supplier Development (SSD)? Any effort by tour operators to improve the performance and/or capabilities of suppliers, in order to improve the sustainability of operations

  4. Customer interest Specialists: Where there is customer interest, it is not reflected in a willingness to pay “Passengers do not put their money where their mouth is and though they say they will pay more for a responsible product they don’t. That’s a fact!” Mass: Little evidence of customer interest in mainstream brands, great focus on low cost “Some consumers have got an interest in it, some don’t give a damn. Some just want it at the lowest price possible!”

  5. Business characteristics Specialists: differ through informal management, sometimes based on a ‘desire to give something back’, sustainability may be a key part of the product “It’s the nature of the business to look after the nature of the resource we use.” Mass: more formal management, greater relative resources but have to get the ‘buy-in’ from more shareholders and different departments “Unfortunately people are too scared to tackle it because it could hurt profitability.”

  6. Supplier characteristics Specialist: challenges = limited supplier availability, a lack of destination infrastructure and facilities to address some environmental impacts “In many countries it’s almost impossible because either the technology does not exist, or if you ask people to recycle, and there’s no recycling facility there, you simply can’t do it.” Mass:Some destinations provide the infrastructure, and global chains may be pro-active in environmental management “I think Lanzarote and Majorca are probably the most advanced and sophisticated, and most set up with the systems and infrastructure, but it isn’t typical of say the Eastern Mediterranean or many of the long haul destinations.”

  7. Formal assessment & guidance Specialists: Informal, dialogue based assessment, but some are interested in using more formal tools “I’m sure that formalizing things would enable us to have a greater understanding of what’s going on and to help the suppliers to understand how serious we are about this.” Mass: Operators have begun to roll out the FTO supplier sustainability assessments “I think the first thing is to find out exactly what the issues are, we don’t know what the issues are here, or in resort.”

  8. Specialists: most questioned if suppliers would value awards Mass: FTO launch of the ‘Travelife’ assessment & award scheme Company classifications/awards

  9. Assessments Company awards Written guidance Dialogue SSD criteria in ‘responsible tourism’ policies New product development ? Widespread, formal assessments ? Full reporting ? Widespread promotion of classifications/awards ? Detailed contractual conditions ? Supplier training ? Pre-payments/investments TOUR OPERATORS AND SSD Shorter Longer term?? It is early days, and businesses differ in the level of commitment/engagement. However, if the current momentum continues, incremental changes could lead to significant results.

  10. Challenges • Financial and human resources • Customer demand • Competitive environment • Benefiting competitors • First-mover advantage • Association-led or genuine commitment • Company-wide integration • Internal management prioritised • Supplier capacities/availability/outlook

  11. Recommendations • PRE-REQUISITES: Fair pricing, long-term partnership consistent volume of business • Phased & systematic approach: by destination, impact, product or supplier type/importance • Understanding of supplier performance through regular assessments and monitoring • Awareness-raising: staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders • Greater focus on socio-economic issues • Greater focus on transport & food/craft suppliers • Evidence of a business case

  12. “It is better for business to do business better”