In the fiercely competitive world of Brazilian tour operators and travel agents, in which a travel consumer might find both wholesaler and retailer occupying the same office location, CVC has retained its position as the Top of Mind award winner in the annual brand survey conducted by Folha de São Paulo, the largest circulation daily newspaper in Brazil.
CVC, the largest travel company in Brazil, has been leading the Folha brand review since 2011, its first year in the survey. it reached 18 percent in the memory of those surveyed. TAM Viagens, with 9 percent, is second. More than a third of respondents—37percent—were unable to recall a brand in the category.
Most observers of Brazil’s tour and travel industry, including the INBOUND Report, do not believe it is an accident that CVC has such a high profile in the minds of the Brazilian consumer. The company has carried out an aggressive growth and expansion campaign for the last three years—even after the country fell into its worst economic recession in a century during the second quarter of 2015 and a number of travel companies went bankrupt and shut down operations.
Late in 2015, CVC, when it already had a 1,000 travel stores in Brazil, CVC announced that it planned to open 100 new travel agency locations a year for the next three years, concentrating on bringing travel products to the country’s more remote areas and to middle-income consumers. The company also promoted domestic travel within the country to those who could not opt for more expensive international travel.
And now, for the Brazilian consumer, Marcelo Oste, director of marketing at CVC told Folha, “Instead of spending a week off, he buys a five-day package. Instead of an international cruise, he chooses a road map for the Northeast.” By the end of 2017, its second year of the 100-new-locations-a-year goal, the company expects to have 1,200 stores in all regions of Brazil.
For the category of Top Brazilian Airline Brand, it’s a virtual tie as TAM and Gol were cited by 29 percent and 27 percent of respondents, respectively (a technical draw, due to the margin of error). Folha reported that, in measuring the tiebreaker criterion, the “awareness”, they go together in the lead: Gol got 50 percent and TAM, 48 percent.
TAM stands out among class A and B (35 percent)—Brazil’s market classification system has five categories, A to E—and those with higher education levels (36 percent). And it has been in Top of Mind’s leadership since 2008, when he overtook the extinct Varig, which shut down in 2011. Last year, it changed its brand to Latam, reflecting its merger with LAN airlines, but the TAM brand is what has top of mind. Meanwhile, Gol has shed its image as a “sky bus” and has slightly broadened its appeal over the past several years, as the table indicates.
An emerging factor in the rankings is Azul (which means “Blue” in Portuguese, the young carrier launched in late 2008 by Brazilian-born David Needham, who is also the founder of the U.S. low-cost carrier, Jet Blue. Azul has been steadily gaining share in both the domestic and international market in Brazil, and its top-of-mind awareness rated 6 percent among those surveyed by Folha.