Face to face: Robert Keysselitz, managing director, AVIAREPS UK

 

Robert Keysselitz tells TDUK how the business takes a holistic approach to business, providing clients with one-stop shop for specialised marketing, tourism, aviation, events and media solutions Robert_Keysselitz

AVIAREPS UK as it is known today has deep roots as a tourism representation company of note.

Founded in 2001 as CircleSolution Consultants by two ex-Delta Airlines senior managers, German-born Robert Keysselitz and British-born Stella Photi, the London-based company made its name as a specialist in marketing and sales representation solutions for the travel and tourism industry.

Since 2010 it has undergone two mergers – the first in May 2010 with Airline Centre UK (the UK division of AVIAREPS AG), when the company was re-branded AVIACIRCLE Ltd, and the second in 2015 when AVIACIRCLE purchased AVIAREPS PLC.

The result was the formation of AVIAREPS UK Ltd, a company that has grown and evolved to comprise four specialist departments: tourism & marketing solutions; media communications; events & project management; and aviation & marketing solutions.

The UK operation is part of the sizeable AVIAREPS AG network, which commands a presence on six continents with more than 55 offices across 43 countries.

Yet AVIAREPS UK’s recent merger history has perplexed the industry, concedes managing director Robert Keysselitz. Here, he sets the record straight as to what the company can offer its travel, tourism and aviation clients – a holistic approach with global scope.

What are the core strengths of AVIAREPS UK?

Our recent mergers have caused some confusion; with our new name we are not known as a true tourism representation company, but rather a GSA, so we need to build momentum and tell the market that nothing has changed. We continue to be a successful tourism, PR and events company, but with a strengthened aviation division.

What services do you offer that the industry may not be aware of?

Our events are quite unique. Yes, we do roadshows, but if you look at our case history, what we do very well is tourism events. Our signature event is Experience Latin America, which we have run for the last three years on behalf of LATA. I don’t think anyone knows that we do this. We are known very well for the clients that we represent, but not the company that we are. We don’t promote events as ‘organised by AVIAREPS UK’, so one of my aims is to start aligning our successes to the great work that we have done.

A merger situation disrupts an organisation because the focus is on integration and aligning processes and staff. We now need to promote the many positive developments and successes of AVIAREPS UK.

We also developed a creative event for Turismo Chile – it was a roadshow designed to promote a consumer activation campaign in Paris, London and Sao Paulo.

The ‘#HotterThanChile’ campaign comprised three large bespoke and exciting consumer activation events having provided the participants with a unique experience about Chile, staged within three months in 2014. It resulted in more than 1.8 million consumers being exposed to the Chile brand in three core markets.

What other USPs should AVIAREPS UK be shouting about?

We take a holistic approach to client projects. We can offer the full package across our four distinct units, which we believe is the key to project success. That’s one of the key differences between AVIAREPS UK and other specialists. It’s also important to stress that we are part of the AVIAREPS global network which is interesting for clients looking for a campaign or project that spans more than one core market; so we are not just restricted to the UK. In comparison, our competitors have affiliations in other countries, whereas we are one company, owned by AVIAREPS AG Munich. We work in harmony and alignment with other offices. We exchange, share and collaborate. We can provide global coverage with our own people. With 55 offices in 43 countries, we cover six continents.

What client trends are you noticing?

There is a strong focus on modern communication and by that I mean social media channels. Clients are requesting social media campaigns, but they are not fully sure what they mean and how you measure them, so we offer those services. It’s all very well to say you are launching a social media campaign, but it needs to match the target audience. Certain destinations may only be visited by a savvy clientele and they might be on Facebook but not Instagram or vice versa. This is where our expertise in localising campaigns comes to the fore. We can offer a targeted and aligned strategy for modern communication. What we have also witnessed a slight shift away from classical representation to PR and event focused project-based work. Many tourism companies work with many different specialists and therefore split budgets. What we are trying to show is that we are capable of covering all areas. We have the expertise and competence to do that. We are as capable of providing those specialised services as the specialists are, but instead of offering one, we offer all of those services.

Tell us about your air service development expertise?

We are very strong in the air service development arena. Having worked for airlines, consulted for airports and written software that helps airports secure new air services, we offer true in-house expertise. Many other companies say they provide air service development, but they don’t always understand what air service development is and how the components fit together or what stimulation is and how it is calculated. They don’t always understand market share growth or realistic capture rates. Our in-house experience in this field differentiates us from any other agency in the UK.

 

HOTTER THAN CHILE CASE STUDY

Client: Turismo Chile, the entity responsible for promoting the Chilean travel industry internationally.

Objective:  To increase awareness of the destination as well as its contrasts and activities, while boosting visitor numbers from three key markets: France, the US and Brazil.

Strategy: AVIAREPS UK created the consumer activation campaign ‘#HotterThanChile’, proposing the creation of a massive 7x7x7m cube structure simulating and making a reference to the country logo. The purpose of this activation was proving to the audience that there’s no other place to be and experience than Chile, thanks to its contrasts and many different landscapes. Inside the structure, an experience that could only be lived in Chile took place so the consumer could understand what it would be like to travel to the destination. The goal was to create emotional attachment so consumers would add Chile to their travel bucket list.

Results: Successful delivery of three large events in three months – September-November 2014;1.8 million+ consumers were exposed to the Chile brand and its product offering across three core markets;50,000+ people visited the site as well as finding out more about Chile throughout the campaign; 35,000+ promotional units were handed out; 5,500+ people visited the inside of the structure; 300+ pictures were posted on social media platforms; 1,100+ surveys were completed by the end of the activation.

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