Spotlight On Global Discovery Member Rob de Laet
The first Global Discovery member to introduce is Rob de Laet (58). In his own words, he’s a traveler, writer, businessman, and part time farmer. He has dedicated himself to try and increase awareness about the immense challenges the planet faces with overpopulation, habitat destruction and climate change. Mr. De Laet has lived in several countries including Italy, Switzerland, India and Brazil, but the lovely city of Amsterdam has always been his foothold. He has worked with Khiri Travel for many years when he was owner of Shoestring and Koning Aap, two Dutch tour operators with whom Khiri Travel had a joint venture.
We asked him a few questions to get to know a bit more about his connection to Global Discovery and Khiri Travel:
How are you connected to Global Discovery?
I am a co-founder of Global Discovery (GD), so I have been involved since it’s inception in 2004. We started GD as a B2B marketing platform for all the DMCs with whom we had a joint venture. We helped them grow, generate new customers and improve their level of organization. For me it was always fun and it became a sort of a friend’s club. Our meetings were always happy affairs. GD now is a personal challenge, as I want the organization to live up to its full potential. The travel market has become more challenging and all DMCs have to work harder to get and keep business. I am planning to support that more forcefully.
What do you think are strengths of Global Discovery?
We have a principle of one country one member (with exceptions) so there are no competitors amongst the Global Discovery members. This enables all information to flow freely and facilitates introducing each other to new customers.
What do you think are advantages for DMC’s to be a Global Discovery member?
Apart from the fact that all members can generate new customers through GD, each DMC has profited from taking a larger view of the world. For example, GD developed a reservation system for the members.
Have you visited any of the Khiri Travel countries and what do you think of our region?
I know all of the Khiri Travel countries quite well. I have a special love for northern Thailand (Lanna), Angkor and Myanmar.
Will you be attending WTM London ’14?
I will be there representing Global Discovery, which after years of being a volunteer organization, will present itself more vigorously as a professional organization striving to expand the membership, as well as help the DMC’s to more actively build a customer base and enter new markets. The point is simple, if we have more members from more countries, we can and should reinforce our networks. The travel industry is changing fast, principally because of the Internet and the huge increase in the number of Asian travelers. This puts a lot of pressure on the current business model. A decade from now DMCs will be completely different organizations, selling different services to different customers.
Khiri Travel thanks Rob for his contribution to this interview.