Canada continues to experience a growing return of international travelers arriving as the pandemic winds down. According to official Canada Statistics, the number of non-resident visitors arriving from abroad at Canadian airports equipped with electronic kiosks was more than five times the number recorded in the same month a year earlier. Tourism spending in Canada (+28.3%) also rose in the third quarter following a 3.3% increase in the previous quarter. Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) (+31.1%) and employment attributable to tourism (+17.9%) also rose in the third quarter. (Statistics Canada, 2022)
Growth in tourism-related activity occurred as pandemic restrictions eased throughout the third quarter and the number of people with two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine doubled from the beginning of July to the end of September. Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States were allowed entry into Canada for non-essential travel beginning on August 9, 2021, while the remainder of international discretionary travellers were allowed entry on September 7. With travel and tourism making a return despite Omricon restrictions, one New-York based company and its founder are making strategic decisions in the travel and tourism sector by providing expedited visa appointments and tourism forecasting services. (Statistics Canada, 2022)
Favisbook is a company that helps travelers schedule visa appointments at local European consulates on short notice. The company has multiple consulates of Italy, Spain and France are all available for expedited appointments on Favisbook’s website. Founded by Kareem Dus in 2017, Favisbook is reliably able to confirm expedited visa appointments at various consulates as soon as they become available. It is the only company that guarantees its clients an appointment at the consulate of their choice within two weeks. What makes Favisbook unique is the company’s ability to make strategic, innovative decisions that keep customers at the heart of every new concept. As the first visa appointment expedition service, and the only one still in business post-covid, Favisbook has a clear dedication to a customer-centric approach that makes the company an important leader in the travel and tourism sector post-pandemic.
Favisbook mainly serves students hoping to study abroad, corporate professionals who need visas to work internationally, and US green cardholders. The expedited visa appointment company offers tourism forecasting services to corporate clients as well. Travelers always apply for visas and prepare visa paperwork before they book a flight to Canada or a hotel room. Since Favisbook sells visa-related services, the company can extrapolate useful data from the volume of inquiries and orders, then provide travel trend predictions up to 3 weeks before they are visible in wider tourism markets. This allows corporate clients to make impactful data-driven decisions based on the latest travel industry trends.
Dus never expected to be a businessman or entrepreneur, but he always knew he was a problem solver. “I see myself as a mathematical and scientific thinker first and foremost — as a problem solver. I always wanted to be a mathematician or physicist, and I went to college for math. But I have always pushed myself to find solutions to problems that interested me. So, when I discovered a glaring inefficiency in the visa appointment system, I immediately began to consider how this inefficiency could be fixed. Eventually, my efforts to do so became Favisbook. So I guess I became a businessman by trying to fix a problem.”
The problem Dus was trying to solve that led him to create Favisbook was not a personal problem, but one of a friend. “Back in 2017, a friend of mine got a job in Paris, and she couldn’t schedule a visa appointment in time. She actually lost the job. I was surprised that there were no services to solve this problem. The first thing I did when she told me about her experience wasn’t to go to the consulate calendar and try to book an appointment — I tried to find a service that could expedite it, because it seemed so obvious that such a service should exist.” After hours of searching with no results, “I was totally shocked. I started coming up with how I might build such a service, and soon after, I opened Favisbook.”
Favisbook wasn’t opened without Dus facing his own challenges though. The problem-solver turned entrepreneur had doubts and uncertainties that hindered his progress at first, but used his “get it done” mentality to perserve and build Favisbook into the business it is today. “I had serious doubts at first because nobody had done this before. This business — an expedited visa appointment service — seemed like a very basic idea, it’s really not rocket science. And the fact that nobody had done it led me to believe that other people had tried and failed, that there was something that would prevent this business from existing. As it turns out, there was nothing preventing it.”
Since then, Dus has grown Favisbook into the successful company is it today through continuous strategic decision making and learning from previous decisions. “Our biggest success as a business was our second year of operation. The summer of 2019, we expanded to many more consulates, and so we served more customers than we ever had before and capitalized on the opportunities provided by tapping into a larger global market. The key to our success that summer was learning from our previous decisions, and working hard to expand our business.”
A strategic decision that has benefited Favisbook is its customer-centric approach. When asked if he would define Favisbook as a brand-based or person-based business, Dus responded “We are very much business based, in the sense that our focus is on providing a service to customers, not on building any kind of personal brand.” A perfect example of how Favisbook puts the customer first is one of their latest strategic decisions, a promotion that allows customers pick the price they want to pay for Favisbook’s services. “It may sound strange, but we’re actually planning to replicate a behavioral experiment among our customers, while demand is still low. It’s an experiment that sparked my curiosity. We’ll use a promotional voucher as an incentive for people to participate.” With Dus and Favisbook’s commitment to continue making strategic, innovative decisions that put customers first, the company is well-prepared to take on travel and tourism post-pandemic.
Learn about tourism, travel, expedited visa appointments, Favisbook, and more on the company’s blog https://blog.favisbook.com/.