Kanoo Travel has revealed details of its recently devised three-year strategy, which will see the established travel company enter new markets and introduce sophisticated automated technology across its operations.
Speaking to ATN at ATM, Tim Casey, deputy executive general manager, Kanoo Travel said the company was looking for partnerships in Asia and to enhance its agreement with American Express.
The company currently operates 200 outlets in core markets such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Egypt and last year signed a deal with American Express to acquire 12 of its foreign exchange outlets in Europe; 10 in the UK and two in France.
"Two of the new areas we are looking to are India and Malaysia. We are looking at markets that vertically integrate. This is all part of a three-year plan we put together in April," said Casey.
"We are also looking for a small presence in Iran and have staff trained there already though a franchise agreement with Ermitra Intl Travel & Tours in Tehran."
Rolling out additional service centres is on the horizon too. The company already operates one in Bahrain, but centres in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, each manned by betweeen 25 and 40 staff members will be open by June next year.
"It's all about providing value added services to our corporates," said Casey.
Kanoo Travel is therefore looking to adopt automated processes across its front- and back office operations, including systems whereby corporate clients can make their own bookings.
"This works more in Europe and the US where bookings are more spontaneous, but it will eventually happen in the Middle East," said Casey.
"The market is resistant to change. Initially we got hassle from clients over service fees, but when they received the service they paid for, they accepted it."
He said the business had become more sophisticated and required more investment and that there had been more automation in the past three years than the past 20.
"Unless they invest in the long term, the smaller guys are going to find it difficult to survive," Casey observed.
"Our strategy is to go ahead of the market; we have the best distribution in the Middle East and we understand the market."For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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