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Ed Berrevoets expects recovery through vaccination programs

Ed Berrevoets

For almost a year we have been dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19 and all its consequences. Our Managing Director, Ed Berrevoets, is happy to share his vision of this period and looks to the future of business travel.

What happened

“Our first acquaintance with the consequences of COVID-19 were the cancelled and/or postponed trips to China. This was followed by the trips to Europe and America. It was a global situation that no one had ever experienced on this scale before. We switched quickly, just like the airlines and other carriers had to. This led to a jumble of new rules and conditions, which were adjusted regularly. Very complicated. Out of ignorance the first bookings were shifted to a later moment. Later it turned out that they were cancelled because the pandemic lasted much longer than expected. And so we came into contact with vouchers and refunds, we had to rebook tickets and then again at a higher value. We watched it all pass by and settled down with it. Always with our customers in mind and looking at what was the best option for them. The complexity was really enormous, especially because of those vouchers. Suppliers tried to maintain their cash position by not paying out, but issuing vouchers. This in turn led to discussions at companies where employees had sometimes lost their jobs but still had vouchers. Or at companies that needed the cash themselves.”

The developments at VCK Travel

“During the summer we have adapted our company to the current market conditions, in which there is simply less demand for business trips at the moment. It is a sad but logical consequence of the circumstances, in order to guarantee the continuity and quality of our service to our customers. Also in the future. Fortunately, VCK Travel has sufficient reserves to deal with this situation. This has meant that we have had to say goodbye to employees and have closed some positions or restructured departments. The need that arose to work from home was an immediate reason to improve our telephone accessibility. As a result, our clients now and in the future, and just like always, will have one of our great and experienced Travel Consultants on the phone. Our employees help these clients with the same passion, knowledge and personal touch as they have always had.”

Future perspective

“At some point there will be a recovery, especially now that vaccination programs are being rolled out worldwide. It will be some time before we are back to our old levels. But we wouldn’t have started the radical reorganization at VCK Travel if we didn’t have faith in the future. Of course, we’ve all noticed that perhaps doing business can be done differently now, think of video bells and then we’re also dealing with sustainability aspects. But we know for sure that business travel abroad will always continue. Some trips are really necessary. Think of the mechanics who have to carry out maintenance and the ship’s crew who have to be relieved. It has been proven that face-to-face contacts strengthen business relationships. This is how we all keep the economy running.”

The largest IATA agent

“What not everyone realizes is the great importance of our maritime sector. Where many sectors came to a standstill during the corona crisis, shipping has to a large extent ensured that the Netherlands continued to operate. Energy, raw materials and goods were brought across the world by shipping companies in equal measure, with crews often staying on board for weeks longer than before. What is nice to say is that VCK Travel has been the largest IATA agent in the Netherlands for months because of this, because we take care of many redemptions for ship crews. For this we have specific knowledge and experience in house. But we also have access to routes, flights and destinations that are not accessible to others. We sometimes do this with IATA scheduled services and then make separate arrangements, but we also use other creative solutions, such as the deployment of charters.”

Ready to go!

“We support our customers in many different ways. For some we build an API to connect systems. Others we help to set up a new travel policy. There are clients who now see a lot of added value in our ISO certification for business continuity and the security it offers. And some customers, such as shipping companies, still have trips that need to be booked. There is a multitude of activities for which customers are at the right address with us. We always ensure that they can get their business travelers to their destination in an efficient manner. Safe and well prepared. Now, during the pandemic, but also in the future. Also read our white paper ‘COVID-19, restart your business travel’, which can help with the preparations. We hope that the vaccine will soon help fight the virus, which will open borders again and make travelling easier. So that the customer can book the next business trips with peace of mind. We are happy to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are ready for it.”

Click here to request the white paper ‘COVID-19, restart your business travel’ and receive our tips in your mailbox.

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