Destination director – strategy & operation, The Vision Destination Management, Anwar Abu Monassar shares his thoughts and feelings on his personal and business experiences throughout the past year, and highlights the many challenges the company has had to overcome.
“A year ago, people entered into a new reality which no one could have ever imagined. Our life completely changed. On a personal level it was a great gain, yet business wise, it was a total re-definition.
From webinars to media, we have been reading and hearing predictions of optimism about the return to ‘normality’ in a few months, but up to now, it seems the global recovery will still need time.
I have to admit that I immediately recognised the issue being long-term. There is no tool of scientific measurement, but probably our best scenario would be to have a slow recovery from the end 2021.
Despite being ‘lock-downed’, I had the luck to continue travelling during the first couple of months of the pandemic, mostly in the Middle East and Europe. Being honest, it was not impossible but not comfortable either. Travelling entailed increased costing; movement restrictions; quarantine; immediate change of rules from place to place; sometimes a lack of coordination; and quite often I thought if I would travel only for pleasure it would be preferable to postpone it to better times.
Business-wise, The Vision Destination Management witnessed some individual bookings starting in December 2020. They went down again in February 2021 and have been up again since April 2021. But frankly, what once was done in half a day is the new budget of a month. This is probably because our clientele is mostly from continental Europe where countries are still imposing travel restrictions.
Our core business – corporate events and incentives – have been dramatically affected. Nevertheless we have been able to postpone rather than cancelling, and we are glad that during the last season we confirmed new incentives. Unfortunately, we have had to postpone them from month to month due to the situation.
It is like feeling you won a lottery’s ticket without the immediate chance of cashing it. It helps in keeping an optimistic attitude when we know we have been lucky up to now, but it is hard.
Expenses never stop. The cost of maintaining a business environment is high and actually, operational costs went up. We just needed to stay focused and have a flexible plan in the short-term to face any evolution.
Professionally, we discovered the concept of force majeure again and it impressed me how this element became the centre of each new contracting phase and agreement in a matter of days. From end clients to professional B2B agents, to suppliers; it is important to find a common ground to anticipate a situation which is still hard to define.
It involves risk and business challenges and I have been delighted by the cooperation of many partners, even if in certain cases we were unpleasantly surprised by the positions of some, which actually were in contrast to common sense and countries’ legislations.
Managing local and international expectations and regulations highlighted once again the need for deeper coordination.
I anticipate some light at the end of the tunnel in last the quarter of 2021.”