Our European Expansion

Gray Dawes Group Acquires VCK Travel in the Netherlands

As part of our strategic global growth plans, Gray Dawes Group has acquired the Netherlands based travel management business, VCK Travel

A well established powerhouse within the European business travel market, VCK Travel further strengthens our innovative ‘follow the sun’ service model – delivering a single shared technology platform with seamless personal service across the entire Gray Dawes international operation – while also acting as a springboard for our expansion into Europe, providing huge benefits for all our clients.

Our global clients will enjoy a seamless high-touch, high-tech, high-content experience as we follow the sun from the UK to America to Australia and to Europe – our four core international Gray Dawes bases. Complimented by our own global partner network, it’s what we call ALWAYS ON – there for our clients when they need us, where they need us.

VCK Travel logo

As seasoned travel management specialists, both VCK Travel and Gray Dawes Travel are renowned for our technical innovation and high-touch service, focussing on providing complete business travel management solutions with a personal touch. This combination sets us apart in the corporate travel arena and is the core reason behind our respective ongoing success and why VCK Travel is such a perfect fit for the Gray Dawes family!

There are increasing calls from international clients to offer services in other countries with a single contract and uniform technology. A decision was reached to seek affiliation with a strategic partner, to operate more strongly internationally and with a like-minded, customer and staff-focused TMC. It was important to ensure that the excellent levels of customer service you are used to could and would be maintained. After due consideration, Gray Dawes were the nominated company. Gray Dawes own ambitions for global expansion and international growth also helped to make this fit a perfect one.

The acquisition of VCK Travel takes family-owned Gray Dawes Group’s turnover to over £500m and pushes employee numbers worldwide towards 500.

The two travel management specialists, renowned for their technical innovation and high-touch service, focus on providing complete business travel management solutions with a personal touch and unrivalled content. This combination of high touch, high tech and high content sets them apart in the corporate travel arena and is the core reason behind their respective ongoing success.

Suzanne Horner

Gray Dawes Group CEO: Suzanne Horner

Suzanne Horner, Gray Dawes Group CEO, comments:

“I have long admired the business that Ed Berrevoets (VCK Travel’s Managing Director) and his team have built. This latest chapter in our development – Gray Dawes’ fourteenth acquisition to date – marks such an exciting time for us and our customers.”

Horner continues,

“Our clients increasingly want global solutions, even the smaller ones. They’re taking us on the journey. We’ve been very successful picking up businesses in the UK and integrating them. We know how to do that well. Now, following our expansion last year into Australia and the USA, we’ve been doing that internationally.”

Commenting further on the announcement, Suzanne Horner, Gray Dawes Group CEO, said, “Our expansion into Europe is incredibly exciting. It represents the next step in our global growth plan and closes the circle on our unique service delivery strategy. Out of hours, for example, is simply no longer a thing for Gray Dawes; we are now ALWAYS ON – there for our clients, where they need us, when they need us. And with a shared technology platform across the entire Gray Dawes operation, our clients will enjoy a seamless personal service as we follow the sun around the globe from the UK and Europe to America, to Australia and back to Europe.”

Horner says, “The challenges the industry has faced over the past few years are firmly behind us, as our revenue now exceeds all pre-pandemic levels and continues to break profitability records. Gray Dawes is fantastically placed, both financially and from a skills perspective, to really drive our strategy, while developing all parts of the business and new ventures. Through strong management, belief in our people, innovative technology and outstanding customer service, Gray Dawes weathered the pandemic storm better than most. Welcoming VCK Travel into the Group only strengthens our position and global offering, almost doubling the size of our business. VCK Travel is renowned in the Netherlands and across Europe for their loyal and outstanding staff. I am delighted to welcome them to the Gray Dawes Group!”

Ed Berrevoets, Managing Director of VCK Travel, commented:

“I am very excited by the opportunity to work with Suzanne and her team, and thrilled for VCK Travel’s staff to be part of such an exciting and award-winning travel management company.

 

There are so many synergies across the businesses which makes this a very natural fit. By being part of the Gray Dawes Group, we will be able to leverage the strengths of both companies to deliver enhanced global opportunities to our staff and clients alike.”

Ed Berrevoets

VCK Travel Managing Director: Ed Berrevoets

Fergus Glenapp

Gray Dawes Group Chairman: Fergus Glenapp

Fergus Glenapp – Gray Dawes Group Chairman and board member of our owners, Inchcape Family Estates, commented, “We are delighted to have acquired a business of VCK’s reputation and length of operation. It gives us an exceptional European platform from which to continue to grow our operations around the world.”

The acquisition of VCK Travel takes our family-owned Group’s turnover to over £500m and pushes our employee numbers towards 500, across the UK, Australia, North America and Europe.

 

We are super excited to welcome VCK Travel into the Gray Dawes family today, as we officially announce our acquisition of this awesome European TMC. Marking the next phase of of our global expansion, we’d like to say a huge “hello” to all our new colleagues in the Netherlands. We can’t wait to bring our new global capabilities to our international clients through our ALWAYS ON ethos.

About VCK Travel

VCK Travel is a Dutch corporate travel agency with four offices spread across the country, providing travel solutions for businesses. With an annual turnover of €220 million, VCK Travel is one of the market leaders in the Netherlands in Marine Travel, Government Travel, and Business Travel. Founded in 1947, VCK Travel was the first in the Netherlands to obtain the IATA license.

In addition to being a trusted partner in corporate travel, VCK Travel is also a leading player in crew changes for the maritime, offshore, and energy sectors. Thanks to its decades of experience and being the largest provider in these sectors, VCK Travel ensured that its clients’ operations could continue during lockdowns, minimising the impact as much as possible.

VCK Travel is an open culture company with honest and clear communication to both clients and employees. Transparency and integrity in their approach take precedence, with The Personal Touch serving as the foundation. VCK Travel always aims to provide tailor-made services, which is the guiding principle within the organisation, both internally and externally. VCK Travel distinguishes itself through a personal and transparent approach in its client relationships.

The company consistently implements innovative techniques to better serve its clients. In addition to ISO certifications 9001 and 14001 for quality and environmental standards, VCK Travel is the only company in the Netherlands to hold both ISO 27001 and 27701 certifications, emphasizing the paramount importance the company places on data security and privacy.

Business morality

VCK Travel add a personal note to everything they do. They continuously adjust their service provision to their clients’ operational and financial preferences. This also explains why VCK Travel has chosen to work from regional offices throughout the Netherlands. Rather than consolidating our services from one head office – which is the way most TMCs operate – VCK have deliberately chosen to be closer to our clients.

 

Ethically Responsible

The organisation has an inclusive work environment where everyone can be themselves and belong. They maintain a zero tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination and corruption. VCK work with a VOG (certificate of conduct) for all employees, both at management and administrative level.

 

Integrity, Trust and Reliability

Everyone employed by VCK Travel must comply with their Code of Conduct, which is based on core values of morality, ethics and integrity. VCK adheres to the IAO standards and fully embraces the UN Code of Conduct. This forms the foundation of their transparent way of working.

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