On-site visits are an integral part of our travel conception. They are of major importance for various reasons, more or less obvious depending on the destination and the upcoming event.
Apart from checking the quality of services offered by our suppliers (hotels, transport, and so on), we sometimes happen to discover rare gems or be the first to know about new hotels being open. These visits are also important to get to know our local partners better in order to build confidence and constructive relationship and to assure a warm welcome for our media clients even if they are to arrive months or even years later. It is sometimes at the final stage of negotiations.
The week of 23rd October was particularly intense in terms of VPI on-site research trips:
Monday 23 October
* Jean-François finalizes his schedule of meetings before leaving for Japan the next day (2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games), the time zone issue to be considered: after 12pm in Europe you cannot reach any of the Japanese providers anymore.
* Denis is making his agenda for the visits in Paris for the next day (Roland Garros, 2019 Women’s Football World Cup, 2024 Olympic Games).
* Gilles, who has been in charge of Tour de France for the last 6 years, is going ahead with planning his visits in the Pyrenees starting Wednesday.
* Olga, the manager of VPI Russian office is preparing her trip to Samara – between 2 meetings with our Moscow partners (2018 Football World Cup).
Tuesday 24 October
* After the French part of Euro 2016 adventure and due to a number of events constantly happening in France, we enjoy a broad hotel network across the country. But we obviously need to take care of the existing good relationships and to visit brand new hotels, in particular in Paris in the view of 2019 Women’s Football World Cup and 2024 Olympic Games. Today it is Denis, the director of VPI, who is dedicating his day to it.
* Jean-François is off for a 17-hour flight and two weeks to spend in Japan!
Wednesday 25 October
* Gilles is on his way to the south-west of France where the scarce offer of accommodation is still a challenge! After taking a flight Lyon – Toulouse and picking up his rented car he starts his adventure crossing the hair pinned roads in the heart of the Pyrenees. Some meetings are already scheduled, but Gilles is mainly supposed to do his research and visit some of the towns and villages situated close to the arrival and departure points of Tour de France 2018, searching for hidden treasures… because surprisingly, not all of the accommodation facilities here are to be found on the internet.
The first day turns out to be full of (unpleasant) surprises!
* Arriving to the Tokyo airport in the middle of the night? Not a problem at all! Our colleague Jean-François is fluent in Japanese and knows Tokyo like the back of his hand.
Thursday 26 October
* Olga is flying from Moscow to Samara (1000 km), a town on the bank of the Volga river. Russian, speaking four languages (English/French/Russian/Italian), she has visits to all the 11 host cities of the 2018 Football World Cup in her schedule, in order to always be in touch with our suppliers and to figure out best accommodation and transport solutions for the next year.
* Luckily, on Gilles’s second day his guardian angel is back, and his research yields some results! He found out there are nice opportunities for accommodation for the key stages of tour de France.
Vendredi 27 octobre
* Jean-François keeps exploring the streets of Tokyo before going to other cities.
Saturday 28 October
* As for Jean François,he is getting ready to meet the clients and show to them our first offers of accommodation in Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. After spending three days with them, he will continue his research across Japan (Yokohama, Oïta, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Nagoya…).