Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Travel Sector

Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Travel Sector

Bertrand Mabille, former CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Europe and Expert in the travel sector, had the kindness to provide us with his insights on how the Coronavirus has affected the travel sector and the potential outcomes for the sector.

"The Business Travel Industry is one of the most impacted by the current crisis. The level of activity has been reduced to almost nothing, leaving travel management companies with virtually no revenues in most countries.

Beyond this dramatic short-term effect, which has been mitigated by governmental measures, the COVID crisis will have several mid and long-term effects on the business:

  • The recovery will be slow due to the restrictions imposed by companies on travel and the new sanitary rules in aircrafts and hotels. It will probably take more than a year (and probably much more) before the pre-crisis level of activity will be recovered.
  • There will be an increase of pressure not to travel due to increasing environmental sensitivity and new structural work habits (home working, teleconference).
  • The situation of airlines and hotel companies will be extremely fragile after the crisis which will lead to a strong pressure on distribution costs. Supplier revenues will then be under massive pressure.
  • The industry will accelerate the need for technological investments: on-line tools, direct connect to suppliers (NDC), …

This new situation will lead to a new round of consolidation. There will be a need for additional restructuring and new technological investments which create the necessity to refinance all travel management companies.

Large players like GBT, CWT will probably have access to the necessary liquidity to go through the crisis and eventually survive, which will not be the case for several mid-sized agencies. Large players could then benefit from the consolidation of the market in the long term.

New digital travel companies will also benefit from the crisis, taking advantage of disappearance of many brick-and-mortar travel agencies on the SME market."


How Experts can help your firm to test diversification projects ?

How Experts can help your firm to test diversification projects ?

Given the current environmental issues facing our world today, a global mining and metals company and major player in the Asia Pacific market, has decided to reshape its operational strategy by finding clean alternatives to maximize the value of their clean energy.

This company approached us directly, having heard about our reputation. After the identification of more than 40 potential solutions by their engineers, they wanted the opinion of external Experts in assessing the feasibility of these alternatives.

In only 4 days and after gathering more than 35 profiles, the company booked 10 calls with our Experts. Among them were former General Electric Renewable Energy Engineers and a Member of the Executive Board of a major European Energy Provider and pioneer in sustainable development.

Thanks to our Experts, the company was able to gather all the key information needed to assess and maximize its sustainable alternatives, making it a pioneer in the implementation of such a change in the industry.


4 tips for an Insightful Call

4 Tips for an Insightful Call

Getting the gist of your interviews with Experts is key. A good call can really help you gathering all the practical and in-depth information for your project.

This is why Xperts Council put together a training program on how to get a truly insightful call. After two hours of role-plays and various exercises, you will be able to develop all the cross-curricular skills to make effective briefs and improve the quality of your exchanges with each Expert.

Those who attended this session loved it, why not try it? To give you a taste of this training that we can organize anytime, here are 4 tips.

Preparation
Preparation before a meeting is essential and will allow you to make the most of your time. Don't forget to take care of preliminaries and to set your objectives. Do not hesitate to share them with your Expert at the beginning of your call.

Show an Open Attitude
"Communication by phone is 80% attitude, 20% words."
During the interview, make sure you transmit your interest and engagement, don’t forget, you can hear a smile on a phone! These efforts will be perceived by the Expert, creating motivation and mutual involvement in the discussion.

Choose between Open and Closed questions
Closed questions will allow you to get confirmations especially about the Expert's opinion whereas open questions will provide you with more information, potentially opening the discussion. Do not hesitate to juggle with both styles, as they will give you a broader variety of information.

You need to reformulate not to confront
If you meet any objections from your Expert, keep an open attitude and take it as a good opportunity to bounce back!
Reformulate what has been said and ask for clarifications, this will help you make sure you understood, and get more information on the topic.


Experts for Corporate - Real Estate in Africa

Experts for Corporate - Real Estate in Africa

Our client is a major player and leader for over 25 years in the French real estate market, and they are planning to expand their business through significant international development.

Recently, their CEO contacted us for a specific request. As part of its expansion, they were looking for Development Director Expertise with experience in the implementation of supermarkets and furniture stores in the African market, and more specifically in French speaking Africa.

In less than 5 days, we presented 15 profiles of relevant specialists in Africa and organized more than 7 calls. As an example, the Company was able to interview a member of the CFAO - Compagnie Française de l'Afrique de l'Ouest -, a former Development Director in large distribution groups, as well as the Chief Development Officer of a leading international furniture company.

Our client gathered invaluable insights including on market trends, regulation constraints, competitive landscape which supported the decision to invest in the area.


Due Diligence - Anatec bought by Amundi

The Anatec Case

Founded in 2012, the Anatec start-up offers two specialized management solutions: a platform for monitoring financial products entirely in digital format and robo-advisory technologies allowing management advice to sub-private individuals. The solution is highly recognized by digital insurance players.

In November 2018, an International Consulting firm called us as they had to conduct a market study on Wealth Management Software in Europe. They were looking for Experts on several levels: Technical Experts who could explain the diversity of the offering in the sector, Wealth Managers in Retail Banks, and finally IFAs with a general knowledge of the market.

Within only 3 days, Xperts Council completed the client’s request, proposing different Experts and organising in excess of 12 calls. Among the Professionals interviewed were the COO of a leading Marketplace Intelligence Platform, former MDs and Directors of Private Banks who were able to enlighten our Client on this market.

In January 2019, Crédit Agricole's asset management subsidiary, Amundi, announced the purchase of the 51% of Anatec's shares that it did not already own to become the sole shareholder and thus strengthening its position in the digital sector.


Milgram's "Six degrees of separation" and Xperts Council

In the late 1960s, Stanley Milgram – an American psychologist made famous by his experiments on the obedience to authority – demonstrated that on average any two individuals in the world are separated by five connections. It is commonly known as the “6 degrees of separation” or “small world” theory.

His conclusive experiment took place in the US where a sample of around 160 people were required to send a package to a specific recipient in Boston, using only personal connections to try and achieve this.

What few realise, however, is that only around 30% of the packages actually reached their destination and the broader results also indicated that in some instances only 2 degrees of connection were needed, and others more than 12!

So what does this mean?

This shows that not everyone has access to the same number or relevant connections in order to get to the right individual. It also shows that it can be necessary to seek support or shortcuts in order to generate these relevant connections.

How does this apply to Xperts Council?

Right from the beginning, we decided to gather an outstanding team of consultants who excel in finding the right people quickly. Through human research rather than mechanical database selection, we find professionals who will support our clients accurately and in an efficient timeframe.

Our consultants' mission is to understand each project and its context, presenting this first to our Knowledge Team in order to refine our understanding and subsequent search angles. Together we can then generate the right leads and find the perfect expertise. Our approach means that 80% of the experts we present are not currently working with other Expert Networks.

We are proud to have built a team with a mix of senior and young professionals based on their curiosity, creativity, and tenacity, and who have empathy and great interpersonal skills.

As a result, Xperts Council is able to partner with our clients to truly understand their needs, providing them with potentially game-changing expertise and exceptional service.


M. Beraud on the future of 5G

M. Jacques Beraud is the President of Italtel France, a company specialised in Telecommunication solutions and in the Digital Transformation of enterprises. He has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. When asked about the arrival of 5G and its impact on the Telecommunications industry, M. Beraud said the following:

"The arrival of 5G will be a major change in the Telco industry, although the first impact will be different for each country as for instance the value of FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) is different in each place.

In France, the first application of 5G is especially valued in the context of B2B where real-time applications are keys, like for the 4.0 industry and IoT or for autonomous vehicles, and in the B2C and gaming industries, where speed is also a priority. There are many other applications for 5G, using Mobile Edge Computing, where the information is processed and distributed locally instead of going all the way to the main servers or Data Centers and coming back.

In terms of infrastructure, 5G is based on a very large IP network that goes from the enterprises to the edge and to the antenna. Thus, it is dependent on a network of cell towers, IP, and fiber optic cables that will need to deal with the demand for this new technology. 5G can be deployed in Standalone or non-standalone, but at the moment, the most convenient way of deploying 5G is by using the 4G core and opting for a gradual deployment. This will mean that the transition 4G to 5G won't be as rough as the change from 3G to 4G, where the whole network had to be revamped before the technology could be upgraded.

Some estimates predict the complete deployment of 5G to start by the end of 2020, early 2021, in the UK and certain other countries, while France will be most certainly later. From 2022-2023 in France, 5G will allow several groups of users to share the same network despite very different usages (“Slicing”), thus allowing strong enhancements of the various verticals."


5G, a major topic for Telco Investors

After Germany and Italy in the Summer, France has now launched its auction of the frequency bands required for 5G rollout. The German and Italian auctions generated around 6 billion euros for the two governments, so the financial stakes are high for all operators wishing to operate 5G in France.

This concludes 2019, a year rich in events across the Telco world and marked by the arrival of 5G. The 5G rollout combined with the ongoing deployment of fibre optic networks requires a very high investment capacity from operators, leading some of them to sell all or part of their network infrastructure (fibre optic networks and towers). Infrastructure operators have also sought new partners to finance these investments as we saw in the recent 1bn euro Altice acquisition of Covage.

At Xperts Council, thanks to our vast experience in this sector, we saw a 50% increase in Telco-related projects in 2019, providing qualified industry leaders and expertise to help our clients with game-changing decisions.

We expect future years to continue to be very active with new services and rollouts in both the B2B (e.g. Smart manufacturing) and B2C (AR/VR) markets. These will be particularly boosted by 5G and the IoT which will require new ways of accessing, storing and computing data like FWA and "Edge Computing”. We believe all these changes will have a significant impact on various players of the telecom ecosystem including equipment manufacturers, infrastructure providers, and service providers.

We are eager to support you in all your projects in 2020.


The impact of 5G on the Telco Industry in 2020

With the impending arrival of 5G, 2019 has been a busy year for the Telecommunications industry. Companies left, right, and center have been exploring the impact of the technology on the current market, as well as the costs required to implement it on a wide-scale basis.

There are two main components needed for the implementation of 5G: first, cell towers used to broadcast the signal, and second, fiber optic cables, used to transfer the signals between the various cell towers.
The demand for both of these components is exponentially higher than previously with 4G networks. With the current 4G, a 100km² area requires 25 cell towers at a distance of 1 every 2km; with the proposed 5G, the same area will require 1600% more cell towers which is equivalent to a cell tower every 0.5 km. According to research carried out by Deloitte, the top 25 metro areas in the United States will require 2.25 million kilometers of fiber, costing in total anywhere between 150 and 180 billion dollars of investment.

Looking at the European market, France has been especially active namely with the sale of Bouygues’s fiber service, the sale of Free's cell towers and most significantly, the acquisition of Covage by SFR, a deal totaling €1 Billion. Xperts Council was active on all three of these acquisitions and helped various funds by providing quality experts within the first couple of days.


Testimonial - DPI International

Mr J.P. Syed, Principal at Development Partners International, London (DPI) shares his experience with us. DPI is an active Private Equity investor in established and growing companies in Africa.

Xperts Council received a niche case on the home furniture sector in Northern Africa. A challenge due to the need to find experts not only able to discuss the global industry in a local context but also available long term. Within 48 hours Xperts Council presented relevant experts which led to three successful introductions and one 25 year global industry veteran joining DPI on several assignments to progress the deal.

“We have extensive experience in Africa, though occasionally we need to understand how a specific business really functions to assess whether it is an opportunity where we can all add value. Xperts Council excels in the quality of its research and rapid turnaround”
“Xperts Council really did an outstanding job finding them for us, you completely outshone your competitors.”