[Alumni Story] Emmanuelle BREUIL-SALLES (Voyages Gallia): tailor-made travel

As a teenager, Emmanuelle Breuil-Salles (who graduated the Executive MBA in 2023) dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. Life decided otherwise, but this woman with a passion for discovery, experiences and history has nevertheless managed to stay close to airplanes by going into the tourism sector. What has she learned after 30 years working in an industry where there’s always something new happening? How does she see her future? Here’s her analysis…

You’ve been in charge of Voyages Gallia Events for a few months now. What can you tell us about it?
Voyages Gallia Events is the latest offshoot of Voyages Gallia, which has been putting together holiday packages since 1960. Since joining, I’ve gone back to my first love: business travel. I plan, organise and manage events for companies both in France and abroad (seminars, conventions, official ceremonies, etc.). I’ve also put forward ideas to develop this new Business Unit: sports travel, corporate travel and study trips for schools, with a focus on top quality service and genuine proximity to our customers. My experience of more than 30 years in tourism together with the MBA I took at IÉSEG are what has enabled me to take on these responsibilities. I’ve learned how to use new tools, broadened my professional horizons and in a way, reinvented myself.

Reinvention has been a feature of the travel sector since the Covid crisis. What has really changed?
After a record year in 2019 in terms of visitor numbers, the tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic, which plunged the sector into a state of chaos that no one was prepared for. Business recovery has been marked by two phenomena. The first concerns the workforce: many tourism professionals retrained, and many places are still understaffed. Secondly, customers have become even more demanding when it comes to the quality of services they require, leaving nothing to chance. Other trends include the increased use of new technology to enhance customer experience and build loyalty. Luckily, we had a head start in this area! Finally, there’s a growing trend towards more responsible tourism.

What advice would you give to all those who are interested in this field?
To be successful, you need to be able to listen, understand, observe and bring people together. You need to ‘have a feel for the times’, be in tune with the market, be innovative and surround yourself with other people who can contribute their ideas and experience. Never lose sight of what’s essential: a sense of service and customer satisfaction! Understanding their expectations and behaviour so that you can adapt what you are providing and your communications is a major challenge. Finally, don’t forget that tourism is a particularly competitive and demanding sector. Conscientiousness, hard work and humility are essential. In recent years we’ve seen the emergence of many start-ups looking to shake up the industry. Some of them have now disappeared

How do you see the future of tourism?
I don’t have a crystal ball and I wouldn’t want to indulge in speculation, but it’s a fact that terms like “blockchain”, “metaverse” and “ChatGPT” will influence our daily lives. It remains to be seen how, and to what extent, depending on various situations and sometimes conflicting interests. Whatever the case, whether online or not, sustainable or not, tourism will always have the same aim: discovering other places… and ourselves!

Career path

Emmanuelle, who loves all kinds of tourism, has always worked in this sector whether it be visitor reception, business travel, tourism development or smart tourism…
Eager for new challenges, she recently completed an MBA at IÉSEG, and wrote her thesis on tourism! After working in corporate tourism for organisations of all sizes, she returned to her first passion: business tourism.
She is now the CEO of Voyages Gallia Events, and her philosophy is to be adaptable, seize opportunities and be innovative, without ever losing sight of what’s important.

This article was written by Luna Créations for IÉSEG Network’s magazine, IÉS #17.

IÉSEG's 60th Anniversary Badge