VFS Global to launch Privilege Program in Kingdom

Vinay Malhotra
Updated 04 December 2018
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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.


Bahri’s maritime solutions on show

Updated 18 min 10 sec ago
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Bahri’s maritime solutions on show

Saudi shipping company Bahri is demonstrating its commitment to advancing the growth of maritime industry and improving security in the logistics business at the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) and Naval Defense and Maritime Security Exhibition (NAVDEX).

The events are being held under the patronage of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE and supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces in Abu Dhabi from Feb.17-21.

Khaled bin Hussain Biyari, assistant minister of defense — executive affairs; General Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director general of Saudi Arabian Border Guards; and other officials visited Bahri’s booth during the events.

As part of its participation, Bahri is showcasing its maritime capabilities and innovation-driven solutions at the largest defense expo in the Middle East. The company is also highlighting its unmanned surface vessels (USVs) at its booth. Powered by MAP Pro technology, which transforms any vessel into an autonomous one, Bahri’s USVs are capable of numerous applications, including gathering data, surveillance and reconnaissance. In addition, the vessels offer significant cost savings and reduce human workload in high-risk operations. 

Bringing together more than 1,310 specialized companies from 62 countries, both events offer a strategic business platform for exhibitors to present their latest naval, maritime and coastal security technology, equipment and crafts, and explore partnership opportunities with local and international companies. 

Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO of Bahri, said: “Events such as IDEX and NAVDEX provide a unique opportunity to gather new insights into new security technologies that can help companies thrive in a safe and secure trade. With Saudi Arabia being at the forefront of efforts aimed at maintaining stability and security in the region, maritime security is a key focus area for the Kingdom.” 

Aldubaikhi added: “Bahri’s presence at IDEX and NAVDEX 2019 is part of our strategy to further strengthen our offerings to enhance the Kingdom’s maritime capabilities and support its transformation as the world’s leading logistics hub. The exhibition also provides us with an excellent platform to connect with our customers and explore new partnership opportunities that will further drive our ambitious expansion plans.”

Bahri Logistics, one of the five business units within Bahri and one of the top 10 breakbulk carriers in the world, operates six new state-of-the-art multipurpose vessels that are capable of carrying different types of cargo, including project, ro-ro, breakbulk, equipment, and container cargo.