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Teambuilding by Gogol's motives (Ukraine)

It's no secret that at last time, many companies began to look closely to MICE-services in Russia and neighboring countries, particularly in CIS countries (including Ukraine). About that on this market has to offer Ukraine, correspondent of the online resourse bt-magazine.ru talks with Dmitry Tantsyura, head of the Kiev office of the Albatros-Travel DMC (Ukrainian Incoming Tour Operator).

?5, May 2011
BusinessTravel

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
TRAVEL

 How did appeared idea ​​creation of ​​a company? What influenced the choice of our activities?

Albatros-Travel company was created in 2002 year to serve the state delegations and VIP groups in Odessa (Ukraine). On the choice of activities affected by the fact that the hero-city Odessa is a seaport and annually it visited by millions of people as for business so for relax. In addition, at the time creating of the company, niche incoming tourism and MICE-direction in the Ukraine was practically undeveloped, and our team always attracts all new and interesting. The striking examples of the early activities of our company was the official support to the national team the UK's tennis during the Davis Cup in Odessa on 22-24 September 2006, as well as the organization meeting of the Permanent Secretariat of TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission for 86 people in April 2008. Then, our company made a full range of services on organization and holding of those events

What would you call a turning point in the life of our company?

They were, and I hope will be many more. Of recent, but the really big turning point was a next. It's the opening of the office in Kiev. The need to open a department of the Kiev (Ukraine) was caused by several factors, one of them is the status. The second and most important point was the need to develop and supply the consumer market MICE services. As I mentioned, Odessa's office was initially focused more on services for big tourist groups. 

Are there any kind activities for you to more priority?

In order not to miss a single moment in the management of the company, creating the Kyiv office were immediately placed accents, and each employee has him unique role. The same structure is observed and now: the main office in Odessa, in addition to providing mandatory services for tourist groups and VIP-delegation, bears the burden of difficult control and accounting of finances, as well as the function of global governance. Kiev branch is engaged in strategy development, marketing on an ongoing basis, identifies the basic needs of the market and monitors the competitiveness of the company, creates and launches new products and services.
To complete the picture I want to give some data on the number of events serviced Kiev branch in the year of its creation: the unit was opened July 2, 2007, and before the end of the year we had several major events "under the key" for the Russian offices of large international companies, "Wimm-Bill -Dan ", and Boehringer Inghelheim.
According to one of the hotels of Kiev, Albatross Travel company, was named "Company of - the opening of the year." It was our first small, but very necessary victory (smiles). Along with this we had serviced tour groups from Greece, Spain, Portugal, UK, Germany and even China.
In the crisis year, the company not reduced the number of employees, but and rather steadily evolved and opened up new areas, such as its own air tickets office. I think that to people involved in various business sectors, it says a lot.

What would you name as one of our main advantages? Maybe, have you some know-how in MICE?

Giving examples of know-how and technology is risky - the competitors are not asleep (laughs). It is difficult to reinvent the wheel when it was invented long before you. The basic principles are quite new, but are necessary and important for our customers and partners, such as:

  • prompt response to the request
  • maintenance activities under the key
  • symbiosis of creative and logistics in one place
  • operational support (24 / 7)
  • flexibility in dealing with financial transactions

Больше всего мы опасаемся неосознанно перейти от принципа персонального подхода к каждому клиенту к конвейерному производству. Клиенты этот переход сразу же начинают ощущать, а ведь всем нам хочется, чтобы нас выслушали, услышали и из нереального сделали реальное.
Мероприятием, ставшим притчей во языцех внутри "Альбатрос-Тревел", является конференция (размещение 4*, транспортная логистика, конференция, экскурсии, инсентив-программа, тимбилдинг, питание, гала-ужин, шоу-программа, выступление украинских поп-звезд - группы "Вопли Видоплясова") компании "Астеллас" (российский офис) в Киеве с количеством участников 340 человек (250 человек из России, 90 человек из Украины).
Самым сложным было обеспечить группу необходимым количеством конференц-залов, сейчас уже не смогу назвать их точное количество, но пришлось объединить базы двух рядом стоящих отелей и координировать движение всех рабочих групп таким образом, чтобы никто не потерялся и пришел вовремя на кофе-брейк или заседание. 
Во время инсентив-программы без сюрпризов от природы не обошлось - когда группа была за городом, нежданно грянула гроза с градом... К месту, где были участники мероприятия автобусы не могли доехать - грунтовая дорога, которая сразу же размокла, плюс ко всему она проходила бы через заповедную зону, где движение по определению запрещено. Невозможно передать наши переживания как организатора и невозможно описать усилия, приложенные для мобилизации людей; для логического завершения инсентив-части, пусть уже и в отеле; для успокоения группы и сглаживания данного конфуза. В итоге все остались довольны и вспоминали произошедшее со смехом.

Who are your partners?

Our policy of cooperation has led us to the fact that today some of our partners has all the hotel chains in Ukraine, leading transport company with the best transportation in the country. The stability of a company's reputation and constant flow of tourists we have provided special rates in almost all the sites location. Almost - because until now there are accommodation facilities that are unknown or discount policies or positioning in the market, or celebrity. Among our foreign partners for more than 50% of companies representing the market business-travel and MICE in Russia.

Are you use some automation system in your business?

From the first day of opening of the company we were set to constant optimization of the workflow of our staff to increase efficiency and productivity. To date, the process of creating is a new automated customer service system - from elementary booking of travel services and ending with analysis and statistics of these services.

Our program allows us:

  • automate the processing of incoming orders
  • automate all business processes
  • analyze all statistical data
  • make handle incoming requests in real time
  • introduce new services and more

As soon as we get a patent, which enshrines the right of intellectual property, we will immediately acquaint everyone with the peculiarities of the system.

Which had a crisis impact on development in the MICE in Ukraine?

Certainly! There are several key factors that are worth noting in the process of crisis and post-crisis period. "Survived" only the most persistent. The client gradually reoriented to work directly with the hotels, and the remaining players are forced to adjust to new rules of the game, not to be left behind. The budgets for the activities of companies is significantly reduced. Even in such industries as pharmaceuticals, there are examples where the same company, holding the event with a difference of six months, significantly reduced the budget for the entertainment portion of the program.

Is there any specific features of this market and maybe more high demand for a certain direction MICE?

It is difficult to say that it is among the MICE destinations in high demand. Depending on the client it can be a team building and incentive program, and exclusive VIP-level services. Definitely one thing is clear - the time when the company carried out the dry business conferences, seminars, meetings, long gone. Now, in each case to motivate the client to provide an exciting program. Often in the tender competition is not at the level of budgets, but at the level of ideas! And the winner is the one who is more interested in other client.

What are the plans of development for the next two or three years?

We have grand plans! Of course, I can not tell about everything. But the obvious is plan - to take at least 20% of Russia's MICE. Among the major players and competitors are not many truly professional teams that can cater for quality major event, and because this task set seems quite feasible and reasonable. MICE in Ukraine is quite attractive to customers from around the world.

The main reasons are:

  • visa-free regime for the majority of potential customers (Russia and the CIS, Europe, USA)
  • market presence in a decent choice of supplier MICE-service
  • availability of sites for events
  • unique opportunities for entertainment

What is your market forecast MICE in Ukraine. How would you assess your prospects of cooperation with Russia and the CIS countries?

The market should develop, and it will evolve. Together with market MICE must develop as suppliers so and the infrastructure!
Что же касается российского рынка и стран СНГ - такая же ситуация, хотя в данном случае в нашу пользу появляется еще один существенный резон. Дело в том, во многих международных компаниях главный офис региона (СНГ) открывается в Москве (как правило), соответственно оттуда и поступают решения относительно проведения мероприятий в местах, где открыты подразделения и филиалы (Киев и др. регионы Украины). А значит, такие компании все чаще и чаще будут обращать внимание на поездки в Украину.

Interview conducted by Alexandra ZAGLER

Source: bt-magazine.ru