In 2012, a law firm, so new as a UTM client that they were still in the implementation process, requested our assistance with travel, customs clearance and white glove transfers to a Gala Partner Event in Shanghai, China.
ChallengeThe client had recently opened a new office in Shanghai, China. Internal planners within the firm had been planning a meeting and gala event for the program over the course of many months. As the dates for the event approached, Ultramar Travel's Groups & Meetings Division was asked to propose a service model for air, high end English speaking customs clearance assistance, and white glove airport transfers.
The challenge? Deliver a seamless travel, customs clearance and transfer experience for the highest ranked partners in the firm for client who was not yet completely implemented. Adding to the complexity was the fact that the program was being held in Shanghai. This city is a world class metropolis where English is spoken by many. However, in the ground transportation arena - English speakers are harder to come by. Negotiations, conveyance of the status of the program and instructions would be a challenge.
Ultramar Travel Management Groups & Meetings Division has bench strength. The relationships that our management team and planners have developed in the industry, as well as the relationships we hold with our partners within our international partner network are a powerful toolset! In this case, we were able to utilize the skills of a long-time G&M planner living in Shanghai to manage the many details of this event.
Our planner was able to utilize her contacts at local transportation and customs assistance service companies in Shanghai to receive quotes for service that matched local pricing - not inflated for foreign consumption. Additionally, her ability to communicate with the vendors face-to-face proved to be crucial in conveying the nuances of the program and the expectations for service excellence.
In addition to global bench strength, we are able to offer customized service models to our clients - a huge differentiator from our competition. Specifically, we understand that the client's needs and the needs of a program must be placed ahead of tried and true formulas. In this instance, we understood that the VVIPs attending this program had JUST been transitioned to Ultramar and were getting to know their VVIP agents. The typical step of moving the air bookings for a program to the Group Air department just didn't make sense for these high level travelers. Because we are fully integrated with our colleagues on the Corporate Transient Team and in our Visa/Passport, VIP and VVIP Teams, we were able to accomplish this cross-functional service configuration without our clients ever realizing the complex communications that happened behind the scenes.
ResultsWe received compliments on the overall service, our Shanghai planner's efforts, and on our ability to service all of our clients' needs without asking THEM to change. These compliments came from the highest levels and then continued through the firm. We are now working with the client on managing group air, transportation, and full-service planning efforts.