The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

25 Transformations in 25 Years: Service Excellence Fit for a King

Posted by Mike MacNair on Feb 21, 2014 10:38:00 AM

MacNair_Travel_ManagementOne of the most unique projects we worked on in recent years came to us through our partnership within the American Express Rep Network.  A fellow Rep Agency, Kanoo, based in the Middle East won a large contract requiring them to provide local services and support in London and Washington, DC, as well as Saudi Arabia.  The customer:  The King of Saudi Arabia or more specifically the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Kanoo brought MacNair Travel to the table to fulfill the travel obligations for this customer throughout North America. 

Several things made this project both unique and challenging.  First of all, KAUST was using us to help them recruit potential staff members for their new University. KAUST teamed up with two universities in California to help them launch their program. Many of the travelers were seasoned academics. Others were graduate level students they were recruiting to be the first classes to attend the new, state of the art, research-focused campus, on the Red Sea. We supported all the dignitary, faculty, and recruiter travel in the western hemisphere and were charged to balance comfort and convenience with value. By leveraging our relationships with key airline partners, we were able to provide both. 
The next interesting challenge we helped them overcome was maintaining a line of credit large enough to support the number of first and business class tickets required. Even with an endowment valued in excess of $1B, this was a new organization, especially here in Washington, so credit card companies were reluctant to provide sizeable lines of credit to a new international organization. So, managing the cash flow to ensure ticketing was not impacted when the credit was maxed out, was crucial.  We worked daily and coordinated closely with the KAUST Finance team to ensure sufficient funds were available for the avalanche of tickets needed. We never missed a beat. With this quick start up, out of the box thinking and attention to detail allowed us to provide a level of service excellence that was fit for a king.