It’s a small world, isn’t it?
I don’t mean that I know your next-door neighbour or went to school with your aunt - I’m referring to the fact that the world is literally quite small. Or so it appeared to me this week when I left Birmingham and arrived in Amsterdam an hour or so later.
Sure, there were a few obstacles I had to factor in; the Christmas hoards at BHX, out-running the perfumery consultants in the departure lounge and finding somewhere - anywhere - to sit. But, still - it really didn’t take that long at all.
The flight itself was quite enjoyable and I settled into that warm, sleepy fug unique to air travel and which brings on dozy thoughts like “will the plane still fly if it loses one propeller?”. When awake, I amused myself until landing by watching other passengers’ behaviour (and why, may I ask, are some people obsessed with getting up and down every five minutes to rummage through the overhead lockers, mid-flight? Do they do this with their cupboards at home? I just don’t understand it and never will. I call them ‘locker people’).
[caption id="attachment_14322" align="alignnone" width="669"] Hello, Amsterdam![/caption]
A relatively short transfer followed, tempered only by an unfamiliar ticket machine into which I accidentally fed some litter and the constant need to dodge the myriad of trams and bicycles. But you know what? It was totally worth it, as I was visiting one of our key partners - Booking.com’s BookingSuite.
Following our project which saw Welcome Anywhere become the first UK-based hotel booking system to integrate with BookingSuite, both sides wanted to celebrate the partnership. We use the “p” word a lot here at Welcome, and we make no apologies for it. Partnerships are an essential part of our business and we firmly believe that we are stronger together if we work with strategic partners. The relationship with BookingSuite is an exemplar of that thinking.
Meeting the guys who have helped put this partnership together was incredibly rewarding and it really felt like we’re among friends; nothing quite beats the warmth of the Dutch people, and I was instantly made to feel at home.
[caption id="attachment_14323" align="alignnone" width="1000"] John Jones, Welcome Systems Ltd (left), Bernard Willems, BookingSuite (right)[/caption]
Nuno Sequeira and Bernard Willems showed me proudly around their offices, plied me with tea and when I’d stopped admiring the fabulous vistas, sat me down and went through a fascinating presentation which had clearly been meticulously put together. We talked plans, technology, consumer habits; we discussed next moves in the relationship, further projects and drank more tea. I liked these guys - they clearly shared our values.
Towards the end of the afternoon I had the honour of presenting to all the BookingSuite staff a synopsis of where we see the market, what excites us, and Welcome’s role as a hospitality original. Topped off by a very engaging Q&A session, I realised that we are all going to get on just great.
Returning to Birmingham via trains, thick fog and thwarted in my efforts to leave the plane quickly by a man who took twenty minutes to put his coat on while standing in the aisle (I bet he was a locker person) I dodged the perfumery consultants again, rubbed my eyes and found myself spat out into a sea of arrivals.
For the sake of extending a partnership, would I go on another trip like this? No.
I’d go on a hundred.