Diversifying in a pandemic

As part of our series of fortnightly Global Updates for our members, I was joined by Jood Fernando, Chief Commercial Officer of Satguru Travels to discuss how the company has managed through the pandemic, how they adapted to the fall in demand for travel and what he thinks the future of travel looks like.

Jood is responsible for commercial operations in West Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, many of the 60+ countries where Satguru has 91 owned offices around the world – they are the largest TMC in Africa.

Jood explained that at the height of the lockdown they were focussing on what their customers needed at the time, so were providing repatriation flights – they arranged 800 charter flights and have now started their own charter flight business – as well as supplying hand sanitiser, and have since introduced a door-to-door covid test service and offer access to Air Doctor (a global network of doctors).

With an expected increase in demand for on-the-ground support from travellers in the future, Satguru is well placed to assist, utilising its own network of Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in around 13 countries worldwide. WIN Global partners are able to tap into these DMCs for their clients too, offering peace of mind.

He explained that in Dubai and the Middle East, business is getting back to normal, tourists are returning to the area and, more widely, there’s an increase in bookings for VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and workers travelling home. The harsher initial lockdown in the Far East controlled the virus better, so Jood expects recovery there soon. Satguru has used the lockdown time to assess its business, what clients want now, how to adapt their services to meet the changing needs of customers in the future to continue to offer value and introduce improvements. As part of their growth, they are opening new offices in Kuwait and Doha!

Jood said: “We may never have a quiet time again, now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how your clients see you, to train staff, to develop your services and to be ready for the comeback. My wife is certainly looking forward to me travelling again!”

To find out more about the services Satguru can offer the WIN Global Network contact me on [email protected].

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John Hobbs-Hurrell

Head of WIN Global Travel Network

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