VFS Global to launch Privilege Program in Kingdom

Vinay Malhotra
Updated 04 December 2018

VFS Global to launch Privilege Program in Kingdom

If there is one principle that has outlasted the sweeping technological changes of our times, it is this: The customer reigns supreme — old or young — his/her convenience is paramount. This is especially true today as younger travelers from around the world are maximizing the power of technology to get travel-related services customized to their varied tastes, said Vinay Malhotra, regional group COO — Middle East, South Asia and China, VFS Global.

“Right from the ‘inspiration’ stage, when prospective destinations are researched, to visa application, booking flights and hotels, getting forex, or making daily itineraries while on the move — consumers can today avail services for the entire travel cycle at their fingertips, most often, via their mobile phones,” he said.

This rapid evolution in consumer behavior, coupled with almost endless possibilities in product, packaging and delivery, can unsettle even the most well thought-out business strategies.

Malhotra said: “For travel companies to stand out from the clutter, they must offer what no one else does, or at the very least, offer a better version of what everyone else has. That means tailor-making their services to unique customer requirements.

“From ‘brick and mortar’ to ‘click and mortar.’”

In the controlled visa application process, he said VFS Global has introduced personalized services at every turn to ensure customers find the process convenient, efficient, and streamlined, alleviating much of the anxiety usually associated with the process. 

“A classic example of the popularity of personalized services not just in Saudi Arabia, but the world over, is the success of VFS Global’s Visa At Your Doorstep service. The service, through which visa application and biometric enrollment is done at the applicant’s home or office is tremendously popular with large groups of travelers, corporates, celebrities, and families seeking privacy,” Malhotra added.

He said the Premium Lounge, where applicants receive one-on-one attention from staff with the submission process, and form-filling assistance, where VFS Global staff assists with all queries related to documentation, are highly popular among travelers. 

In addition, VFS Global is soon launching an exclusive Privilege Program offering a host of customized services for frequent visa applicants in Saudi Arabia.

“Personalization in product and service, enabled by technology, is not just an option, it has become a necessity in every consumer-facing sector, including travel,” Malhotra said.

Shell KSA supports special needs children

The event organized by the Disabled Children’s Association was held on Nov. 12.
Updated 09 December 2018

Shell KSA supports special needs children

Shell Saudi Arabia has announced the continuation of its sponsorship for the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) art program for two years (2018-2019). The announcement, made at an event organized by the DCA on Nov. 12, is part of Shell Saudi Arabia’s ongoing support for children with special needs.

Since its establishment in 1981, the Disabled Children’s Association has become one of the largest institutions specialized in the care of children with special needs in the Arab world.

The program held last month promoted the skills and artworks of such children.

To mark the collaboration between the two organizations, Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Suwailim, vice chairman of the Disabled Children’s Association’s executive committee, presented a commemorative shield to Mohammed Al-Zomaia, Shell Saudi Arabia’s general manager for corporate development.

“At Shell, we believe in creating an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive. Today’s talent is more diverse than ever before. An inclusive environment is key to innovating, developing and retaining talent, and it begins with the youngest members of our communities,” said Al-Zomaia.

Shell has been active in the Kingdom for over seven decades and has a wide variety of social investment activities in the country, many of which are centered around youth empowerment, such as Shell Intilaaqah and FutbolNet.

Shell Intilaaqah aims to strengthen young people’s career options by enabling them to switch from being an employee to becoming an employer, or making the transition from seeking employment to creating employment. Shell’s trainees have set up 1,100 businesses, in addition to 500 existing small and medium businesses. Together, they created over 3,000 jobs. Shell Intilaaqah has been training Saudi entrepreneurs since 2010. Over the past years, Shell Intilaaqah trained, supported and mentored 10,000 Saudis — the majority of whom were women. 

Shell and Football Club (FC) Barcelona Foundation work together and use football to teach children the importance of values. The FutbolNet program is a 12-week football training course for children supported by dedicated coaches. Futbolnet aims to infuse values like respect, teamwork and commitment, which are key for the children to develop as happy, healthy and value-adding individuals.