NewsInterview with Pavel Vlk, CEO of SIT Travel

Pavel Vlk
Pavel Vlk

You are the CEO of SIT Travel. Can you please tell us about your travel agency?
We have passed a remarkable milestone last year as we celebrated our 25th year in the business – which is quite a remarkable achievement, considering the constantly growing competition in our industry. Over those more than twenty year we’ve became a respected partner for literally any travel demands – from arranging complete business trip, through tailored made individual trips to incentive trips and congresses. Currently we provide travel services to more than 40 leading Czech enterprises and institutions. We are IATA accredited agent as well as member of ACKČR (Association of travel agents in the Czech Republic).

How big is your team?
There’s eight of us in the team with most of the guys being with us since the very beginning. For both, our organised and individual trips around the Globe we also work with a dedicated team of external workmates.

SIT Travel was founded in 1991, since that time the field of your business has changed a lot. Can you tell us what are the biggest differences?
Well, 25 years ago there was no internet, no smartphones, no low-cost carriers and thus a limited range of offers and options available. So on one side it was much easier to succeed as nobody was stressed to get a price quote within 10minutes, on the other hand the high prices made travelling afforable to a small group of people. Would you consider to fly to London for a lunch even fifteen years ago? Not really because the pricetag for such a trip would then equal to a brand new TV. Not talking about longhaul travel, this was truly for the upper class only.

Today it’s rather the other way around – thanks to the huge competition between airlines and hotels you can literally travel for peanuts. The only downside is that you need to be a real expert to navigate between those thousands of offers. And that’s where our customers truly appreciate our expertise and approach – so that we ‘cherry-pick’ the best offers for them.

What is the specialization of your Travel Agency? (destinations, adventure  travels…)
We focus on three key areas of travel industry. Within our business travel department we look after all the needs a 21st century business traveller might have, including flight tickets, airport transfers, hotels or even booking private jets. Individual travellers appreciate our unique packages – if you like sports, we have some great packages for NHL, NFL, NBA, tennis or even Nascar racing in the States. What’s truly unique is our Marathon travel – you just choose the marathon you’d like to run in the world and we take care of all the rest. Last but not least we provide our corporate customers with a one-stop-shop experience for incentive and congresses, taking care of everything – from securing the venue, catering, accommodation, guest speakers to the farewell gifts.

Can you tell us what is the current trend of traveling? What kind of service people expect from you?
As in any other business, customers expect the highest ROI – literally the best value for what they are ready to pay. There are no second chances these days – you need to succeed and meet the customer expectations. And I would say that travel industry is the most challenging one – what was an acceptable price yesterday is very often far too much today.

In which aspects are you better then your competitors?
I would say it’s the bold history we have, our creative approach and individual touch in every step of the customer experience. Our goal is not just to sell but rather to become travel advisors to our customers.

Can you describe yourself as a director? How do you lead your company and what are the goals for this year?
My ultimate goal is to be remain a valid member of the team – so on top of the strategic tasks and decisions I need to take to keep SIT Travel running and profitable for the next 25 years, I’m trying to actively engage with as many customers and events I can – so very often I’m around to help my guys during conferences or incentive trips.