Interview with José Garrido, Business Travel Specialist:
“Drivania was born to provide a service that exceeds the expectations of passengers, PAs, and Travel Agents”.
Private Chauffeur Transport is a service closely linked to corporate travel. It is a service in high demand by companies that only rely on suppliers that can offer all guarantees in addition to an excellent service.
Drivania, with more than 22 years of experience in the sector, offers a very personalized service. José Garrido, Account Manager & Business Travel Spacialist at Drivania, recently participated in Capital Radio’s “Premium Class” program to give his point of view on the sector.
Can you explain what Drivania is and the services it offers?
Drivania is a premium Private Chauffeur Ground Transportation service, which stands out mainly because we solve all the problems that may arise during a transfer. We know firsthand that people who are in charge of organizing corporate trips find that, within a package that includes hotels, flights, etc., ground transportation usually involves the greatest risk because different external factors such as traffic or plane delays are involved.
We control all the details of the trip and prevent any disruption that may occur during the transfer, so that everything is carried out satisfactorily. Our passengers are senior business travelers who, among other things, have to attend important meetings and cannot afford being late or having their agendas affected.
We are not just a provider of high-end chauffeur-driven vehicles, but rather we offer a complete end-to-end management service, and for that we have three fundamental pillars: our booking platform, our 24/7 Customer Care Team, and our chauffeur network.
First of all, the booking platform allows travel agencies, or even the passengers themselves, to manage services in less than 2 minutes, which results in huge time savings. We cover more than 600 cities and 1,000 airports worldwide, but our customers can also book in many other lesser-known cities with the same high quality standards.
Secondly, the 24/7 Customer Care Team is there to care for the passenger, the person making the reservation or any other stakeholder who contacts them regarding the service. This team monitors flights to know if they are either late or early, controls when the chauffeur is on his way, on location, when the passengers are on board, and when they are at destination and the service completed. Thus we avoid any problems that may arise. We deal with senior business travellers who often have a meetings with high-end parties and we cannot afford that they arrive late or that the chauffeur does not have the necessary information or documentation to access the facilities at destination.
And last but not least, we have a network of carefully selected chauffeurs. Our Affiliates Department selects chauffeurs through a Quality Vetting Process before they can work for Drivania. Not to mention, they must have all licenses and insurances in order. We also make sure that vehicles are high-end, no more than three years old, chauffeurs follow a dress code, and speak at least English in addition to their native language.
The combination of these three pillars is what empowers Drivania to offer a complete end-to-end trustworthy service.
Can a business traveler also book your services in a private way?
Yes, of course. In fact, there are many top business travelers who, once they try the service for their corporate transfers, also book with us for their holidays. At Drivania we work in three different market segments: business travel, luxury travel, and private aviation. We have agreements with the main private aviation brokers to take care of their passengers when they arrive at private airport terminals worldwide.
Why is ground transportation so important?
The transfer is critical within a business or holiday trip because so many different factors can arise and spoil it. A corporate traveller may be used to a plane being delayed, but does not usually accept a car being late in the same way. Passengers may be tired after a long flight, and if the chauffeur does not show up in time, they get nervous, either because they have an appointment, or because they need to get to the hotel to rest.
What is the typical passenger who travels with you, and what do they usually book?
In business travel passengers tend to have high-management profiles: managers, senior executives, and CEOs. In luxury travel, the client is also very demanding. It should be noted that we not only offer point-to-point transfers, but also hourly as directed services where the chauffeur drive passengers wherever they need to go. For example, if you have a busy agenda with several appointments likely to be extended or delayed, or in the case of a tour for luxury travel, it is best to book an as directed service.
How do you anticipate and solve problems that may happen during a service?
The Customer Care Team has several tools to control services and, for example, monitor flights. Chauffeurs must also report everything that is happening through Drivania’s Driver App, generating a series of service alerts. If our team does not receive any of the alerts, they contact the chauffeur to find out exactly where he or she is and what is happening. And in the event that we detect a chauffeur is not going to be on time, we send another one right away to ensure that the passenger is picked up.
Has the global pandemic affected your business?
COVID19 impacted us as it did everyone else, even more so considering we are in the transportation business and, from one day to the next, borders were closed and all non-essential travel was banned. However, we made good use of all those months to further improve internal processes so that everything would work even better once the pandemic was over. Fortunately, we are now back to pre-pandemic levels.
You have mentioned your Booking Platform a couple of times now. Can you explain exactly what it is?
It is a very intuitive and user-friendly platform that allows you to book both point-to-point transfers and as directed services. Through a search engine that is connected to Google, you indicate pick-up and drop off locations as well as the pick-up time and date, and a selection of high-end vehicle categories appears: executive or premium sedan, minivan, etc. Mercedes vehicles are widely used in Europe whereas Suburbans are very popular in America, but we always provide a high-end vehicle.
Do you also use electric vehicles?
Yes, ever more. The environmental impact is very important for the travel agencies and companies that book with us, so we already have electric vehicles in most destinations.
Do you work directly with companies, or only through travel agencies?
Travel agencies book a lot with us because they have agreements with so many companies, but over the years Drivania has also been relating directly and gaining the trust of those companies. True, we work more with travel agencies, but that does not mean that we do not have any relationship with the companies that they manage.
Can you explain any specific needs of the corporate client?
Above all, business travelers require discretion, because they may be working in the car or making relevant phone calls. There are even passengers who ask us for chauffeurs who do not speak at all, who simply put their luggage in the trunk and do not even say hello. Privacy and confidentiality are most important. And, of course, corporate passengers want punctuality and no problems whatsoever from the moment they board the vehicle until they arrive at destination.
Does the customer using your platform know in advance the cost of the service?
Yes, an important asset of our platform is that we always offer all-inclusive and final prices, with no surprises. There are many other platforms that hide extra charges for luggage, etc. That does not happen with Drivania.
Do you cover all major destinations around the world?
Indeed, we offer service in over 600 cities worldwide. And also lesser known destinations. Allow me to explain a funny story: once we received an e-mail requesting “a chauffeur in the nude”, in Spanish. At first we were very surprised, because we had made special requests, but none like that. Finally we realized that “in the nude” (“Pelotas” in Spanish) referred to a little known city in Brazil. Well, once the misunderstanding was cleared up, we managed to find a good and reliable chauffeur in Pelotas.
A funny story, no doubt! Any others you have in mind?
Certainly. There are services that I like to remember, specially when they involve the recognition of senior business travelers who have changed companies or country of residence, and the first thing they do is to tell their new PAs that they want Drivania for their ground transportation, even though their company might usually work with another service provider. It is very gratifying for us that, after taking care of the transportation needs of those people for ten, fifteen years, when they suddenly go to work in another country, another company with which Drivania has no agreement, and they demand to have their transfers arranged with us.
How do you manage your fleet and chauffeurs to keep them always at the forefront?
Our Affiliates Team meets frequently with the chauffeurs to inspect their vehicles and see what they are like in person. Chauffeurs are subject to a Quality Vetting Process and ongoing evaluation to ensure that they continue meeting Drivania’s minimum standards of quality.
Would you like to highlight any current project?
Sure, and it is something related to what I mentioned before regarding the environmental impact. At Drivania we offset, in tons, all the carbon footprint emitted annually by our vehicles. Last year it was in a hydroelectric plant in Brazil and this year in a wind power plant in Oaxaca, Mexico. We do this to help the environment, something I believe is very necessary.
Do you believe companies really focus on sustainability when choosing a supplier?
Absolutely. When a large company proposes us to take part in a tender to be their ground transport supplier, they always emphasize this value proposition and, apart from prices, pay a lot of attention to sustainability issues that have an impact on the environment.
Do you carry out training courses for travel agencies?
Yes, and it is something vital for us. Even though our platform is very intuitive and easy to use, we organize lots of trainings because we know that, no matter if you have a preferred supplier agreement, in the end it is the person in front of the computer making the reservation who takes the final decision. When that person sees that in just two minutes they can book a trustworthy service, they realize how easy it is to work with us. They can also share the service alerts with whomever they want: the PA, the passenger, or any other stakeholder. Everything is automated through the platform so you can monitor when the chauffeur is on the way, on location, or when the passenger is on board.
We also provide training to Business Travelers’ PAs so that they can have access to the platform. After all, they are the ones who exactly know the passenger’s preferences. Not only that, but let’s also consider that someone who might feel comfortable booking a transfer in Paris, London, or Barcelona, may get nervous about booking private chauffeur services in risky locations, so receiving the service alerts reassures them. I have spoken to many PAs who have told me: “José, I didn’t use to get any rest before, but now with you I sleep peacefully”, and that is something very important for us.
How can a company or travel agency contact you?
We have agreements with most travel agencies, which book with us at all times. Otherwise, you can always contact us by phone, email, or through our website www.drivania.com.
And finally, what would you say to any business traveler, or Travel Agent, who may be reading this interview?
I would tell them that, if they want a risk-free service, Drivania was born to provide a service that exceeds the expectations of passengers, PAs, and Travel Agents. The main value of Drivania is “Trust”. You only need 2 minutes on our booking platform and we will take care of the rest. There is nothing to worry about.
To listen to the full interview on Capital Radio (in Spanish), follow this link.