Emirates Holidays is to be franchised internationally and its business model upgraded with greater emphasis on technology to capture the growth in digital and mobile bookings.
Online bookings will be available through emiratesholidays.com by mid-June.
“We will be bookable in a classic tour-operating module way, providing packages, and in nine months, we will add a dynamic element – whereby customers will be able to component package their own itineraries,” said Marc Bennett, Emirates’ Divisional Vice President, Destination & Leisure Management.
Speaking at the first Emirates Hotel Partnership Forum at Atlantis The Palm yesterday, Bennett said the franchising move will “unearth new business” and add benefit to the airline’s distribution channels.
“The use of franchising, GSAs and our own technology – and the reach of the Emirates brand – is a natural progression. In those regulated markets we will franchise, using other people’s licensing expertise and knowledge, while in the unregulated markets we will seek exclusive GSA partners – we’re already doing that in India and Nigeria and we’ve had a bit of a go in Iran.”
He said a franchise partner for the Emirates Holidays brand has been found in the US, enabling it to promote Dubai, and destinations beyond on Emirates’ network, more effectively to Americans.
Arabian Adventures will also become a “more technology enabled business,” added Bennett.
Asked if the Holiday division’s weighty brochures may soon become a thing of the past as more consumers access sites through their smartphones, Bennett said: “We will continue to communicate on paper, and that’s how some consumers want to research products…but if you were to ask me that question in five years’ time, there’d only be one answer.”