Get to know our new Managing Director and his plans for the future

On Wednesday, May 1, Ed Berrevoets completed his duties as managing director of VCK Travel after 20 years and passed the baton to Gray Dawes’ Dave Bishop.

Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine sought out the company and spoke to Bishop to get acquainted and find out the new owner’s plans for the Dutch market.

Dave BischopBishop (54) is from England, married and has two studying children.
Before working in the travel industry, he was active in banking. At Barclays, he was trained to become a banker. An important part of his work was lending to a variety of businesses, including some travel management companies.

“When one of these clients, Fleet Street Travel, asked to join I made the move. It made sense for me to take a follow-up step with the valuable analytical knowledge I had gained, to become finance director at a small TMC with a turnover of, at the time, about £45 million,” Bishop says.
He continued: “At one point I got a call from Suzanne Horner, the CEO of Gray Dawes to come and talk. It was a no-brainer to make the transition in 2018 to eventually grow into the role I now hold as managing director.”
Gray Dawes was able to acquire VCK Travel in January 2024. It is 100% owned by a family trust, Inchcape Family Estates. Following the corona pandemic, a TMC was acquired in the United Kingdom in August 2022, Florida in December of that year and Australia in January 2023.
“After these acquisitions, our main focus was to make the booking process more efficient. As a TMC, our mission is primarily to be a good retailer rather than a wholesaler. Our offering should be as broad and efficient as possible,” Bishop said.
When asked what the benefits will be for Dutch customers from the VCK Travel acquisition, Bishop replied, “Distribution is becoming more complex with innovations like NDC. We are not a technology company, but we want to offer customers more options with more content. We help customers who want to book on their own as customers and our consultants work with the same tools and have the same data available. Another important advantage is our “follow the sun model. By having offices in different time zones, we can better serve customers 24 hours a day. Indeed, that means that from the end of this year we will serve a client from Australia when their office there is closed and the office in Amsterdam is open.
Technically, “follow the sun” means that a customer calls his or her office in Sydney, and the phone can be answered by an employee from the Netherlands, the US or the UK. Conversely, a Dutch customer is served in Dutch into the evening and in English after the end of the service in the Netherlands. In addition, the company focuses on offering technology products to serve customers 24/7 through “self-service tools.” Atriis is the central functionality here.
Furthermore, it is about service and wherever you book with us worldwide the customer receives the same service. Our portal and telephony system are the same everywhere and Atriis is an important basis for our service. We are the largest international Atriis user. In their services, our account managers also use Microsoft Power BI, an interactive tool for visualizing travel data. This enables us to better manage costs and expenses. Through us, Dutch clients are also getting more in touch with NDC and Travelfusion for booking low-cost carriers. “
Bishop makes it clear that he sees proprietary technology as an important tool to provide customers with convenience and the full travel data available. Global distribution systems (GDS) have been too slow in his view to embrace things like NDC sooner.

When asked about his first impression of VCK Travel, Bishop said “What strikes me is the quality of the people working from a personal touch principle. My expectations were exceeded in the first weeks. There is a good mix between experienced people and new intake, and through the master classes that are organized, new young people (in terms of experience) are joining. In addition, it is emphatically striking what is involved in serving one of the largest clients in the Netherlands: the Dutch government.”
Bishop continues “The Netherlands is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives and marine travel knowledge. What I would also like to say about the Netherlands is that I sincerely feel privileged to perform this role in the Netherlands. I am building on the solid foundation laid down by my predecessor Ed Berrevoets for over 20 years.”

Source: Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine

The complete interview with Dave Bishop will be published in the June edition of Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. As a special treat for our readers, Luchtvaartnieuws has made the interview available now, and you can read it here (in Dutch).

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