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.


360-degree mentoring to boost Saudi social enterprise sector

Updated 23 May 2019
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360-degree mentoring to boost Saudi social enterprise sector

The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) and Mowgli Mentoring have collaborated to strengthen the growing social enterprise sector in the Kingdom through the provision of 360-degree mentoring, which will support the personal and professional development of social entrepreneurs. The EMCC-accredited mentoring organization is working to built the capacity of Saudi mentors by instilling best mentoring practices and sharing experiences from its 10-year work around the world.

Globally, the concept of social entrepreneurship is increasingly gaining momentum and positive attention as it combines commerce with social good, allowing entrepreneurs to go beyond profit to positively impact communities and societies. Supporting these entrepreneurs, therefore, is in line with the KKF’s vision, which is to have a Saudi society with equal opportunities.

The KKF’s collaboration with Mowgli resulted in the creation of the Athar (Impact) Mentoring Program.

This program aims to build and increase the capacity of Saudi mentors, and equip them with the necessary tools to be able to provide mentorship, support and guidance to social entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. Matching mentors with social entrepreneurs and managing their mentorship relationships is a key benefit of the program.

To commence the mentoring program, Mowgli recently delivered a four-day workshop in the KKF premises in Riyadh. Fourteen professionals and business leaders received training to be 360-degree mentors before being matched with 14 social entrepreneurs. Both groups were provided with the guidelines to build solid foundations for their 1-2-1 mentoring relationships. In addition, the matched pairs will be supported over a duration of six months, during which structured on-going support will be provided to ensure that trust-based and impactful mentoring relationships are developed.

Mowgli Mentoring’s CEO Kathleen Bury said: “We see this program supporting the three themes on which the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was built upon: Developing a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. By supporting social entrepreneurs, we’re working toward achieving the Kingdom’s economic aspirations of increasing SME GDP contribution by 20–30 percent by 2030. We are, therefore, excited to be back in Saudi Arabia and are honored to be working with the King Khalid Foundation in delivering this program, and building Saudi Arabia’s mentoring capacity to sustainably support change-makers and their surrounding ecosystems for years to come.”

The key to developing entrepreneurship and fostering economic development lies in having a well-balanced ecosystem with equal investment in four key pillars: Environment (schooling, parenting), finance (working capital, debt and equity financing), infrastructure (incubators, accelerators, utilities and sound legal frameworks) and human capital development (mentoring, skills and knowledge development). Mowgli supports the latter and has successfully delivered more than 110 mentoring programs across the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.