Tourism Management Institute… research at the service of institutions and destinations
The Tourism Management Institute (TMI) coordinates the research activity of Excelia’s tourism research-active faculty members through collaborative projects. The TMI, which has been headed up by Luc Béal, since 2018, coordinates and leads the research teams, and establishes and maintains partnerships with external institutions with whom research themes, of interest to researchers and the industry, are defined.
These research themes consider the role of tourism in economic development, the evolution of the tourism sector and of consumer behaviour, the impact of technologies, as well as the management and marketing of destinations, tourism companies and events.
Enhancing the value and impact of Excelia’s contributions within its local regions, Charente-Maritime and Centre-Val de Loire in particular, the TMI aims to build partnerships with key players in the local tourism sector, which is in a period of transformation, by focussing on specific, topical research areas to address the challenges facing the events sector, the traditional hotel industry, and the open-air sector.
These partnerships facilitate access to the industry sector (data collection and interviews) and provide funding for the research. They are established through two different types of agreement: research sponsorship or partnership agreement.
When an agreement is signed, i.e. when a company or an institution has expressed interest in a research topic, the TMI assigns researchers to it, with the aim of “building a strong foundation in all dimensions of tourism, whether sociological, geographical, marketing, financial, etc., in order to interest fellow researchers”, explains Luc Béal.
Two exciting examples of the many themes explored:
- In partnership with RMD Technologies, a La Rochelle-based company
As its name suggests, the purpose of RMD Technologies is to exploit revenue management for destinations, which consists of using accommodation reservation data to study the behaviour of demand for accommodation and camping, and to help accommodation providers and destinations to better manage their offer.
The aim of this sharing of bulk data by RMD, which is very valuable at a time when private players (distribution platforms, etc.) are appropriating the data, is to enable research-active faculty members to test research topics such as the probability of a reservation cancellation due to COVID over these past few years, or even destination management systems.
The objective of this partnership between RMD and Excelia is twofold: on the one hand, to produce research and, on the other, to shed light on the influence of distribution platforms on the performance of accommodation providers and destinations... in order to break away from them! One of today’s hot topics is the emergence of the so-called ‘two-sided’ platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber, Airbnb, Booking, etc., which provide a large number of services ‘any time, any place, anywhere’ to a large number of customers, meaning that there must always be a range of products available. This creates pressure on average hotel owners who, lacking time and the requisite technological skills, have to rely on platforms. With the help of the Excelia-RMD partnership, accommodation providers are now taking control of their bookings with real-time demand information tools rather than relying on the decisions of intermediaries. In short, if you are a host, TMI is your trusted friend!
- The holiday park and camping industry is changing!
Like for the hotel sector, the same is true for industry professionals in the ‘open-air hotel industry’, known in French as HPA - Hôtel Plein Air… referring to campgrounds and holiday parks. With more than 7,000 campgrounds in France, this is a tourism sector ‘still in its infancy’ according to Luc Béal, because existing operational management tools, the monitoring of demand, and innovation are still very much the prerogative of the major groups. Here again, TMI and Excelia, which has just recruited a young research-active faculty member specialising in this sector of activity, will support this sector in studying the challenges it faces, and will participate in defining solutions.
The first round table dedicated to the open-air hotel industry was organised by Excelia in May 2022 on the La Rochelle campus, on the theme of ‘The open-air hotel industry between consolidation and transformation’, encouraging dialogue between industry professionals and academics in the presence of Chairpersons from national and regional federations. This first round table was the initial step in the development of an ‘open-air hotels’ focus within the TMI. Another round table will be held at the HPA Atlantica trade fair which takes place in Niort from 11th to 13th October.
In line with Excelia’s commitment to its local regions and its desire for academic impact on practical issues, the TMI deals with topical themes through its intellectual contributions in order to promote greater responsiveness to change in everyday life!