The increase in digitisation is a reality in our industry and stakeholders have to make a decision on what it means to their business and how they will counter the change in the current trading environment.

We at TDM have multiple strategies, and one of them is product ownership. From a Tourvest Group perspective, the structure allows us to work with our own product, such as our vehicles, scheduled tours, game lodges, hotels, restaurants and curio stores, therefore, the end product, regardless of digitisation, is always going to be relevant in the consumer’s decision-making when planning a holiday.

Simultaneously, product ownership for Tourvest doesn’t only mean that we have to physically own the product. Product ownership can also be, without owning the brick and mortar, taking material risk through bulk purchasing. We as TDM have a solid history of bulk purchasing through our TDM Beds environment. By doing this, we continue adding value to our supply chain and, at the same time, adding value to ourselves in terms of product ownership.

Owning product means clever packaging, which includes our scheduled tours, having guaranteed departures, no minimum passenger numbers, and operating tours in our own vehicles, which creates an experience for the consumer and a product that is relevant to the customer. By owning product, we emphasise the relevance that is required as a tour operator and as a DMC in South Africa.

I guess the terminology between DMC and tour operator has become a little grey over the past few years, and we believe that a substantial component of Tourvest Destination Management’s future is in tour operating, and that is around product ownership.