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.