VIP International Corporation today announced the appointment of industry veteran Rick Shaum as Vice President of Marketing. Shaum’s selection comes at a time when the 20-year-old company is accelerating past 158% growth, creating new partnerships that will optimize client bookings, and expanding its voice center to accommodate the growing trend toward call center outsourcing.
“The travel industry is faced with an increasingly complex mix of electronic booking options. The ability to synthesize trends, plus the talent to articulate that vision to the company, requires a very specific skill set,” said VIP International president Kelly Blake. “Rick’s breadth of experience across industries allows him a clear look into the crystal ball. He is one of those unusual people who have the rare ability to navigate between numbers analysis and people analysis; he can look at complex situations and see patterns. That’s what we need at a time when our clients rely on us to provide them with new distribution models that will clarify a complex environment.”
“VIP International’s core position is being a full-service provider,” said Shaum. “Companies can generally be identified by price, quality, and service. We are very competitive on price and quality, but focus on service. VIP is becoming the number one producer of bookings per client in the travel industry by being a full-service provider.” Shaum noted that he would evolve this core competency by identifying business processes that clients are now performing manually and creating electronic methods to accomplish them, as well as by forming synergistic partnerships. “VIP has a history of partnering in ways that are creative; we look at competitors as partners.” As an example, Shaum cited VIP’s ability to offer bookings through both Pegasus and Wizcom. “Most GDS representation companies use either one or the other of these switches, but there are certain channels of distribution you can only get from each of them. We made the decision to utilize multiple central reservation systems, and Travelweb, to deliver more bookings.”
According to VIP’s Blake, the company already offers the widest choice of Internet, electronic, and voice services in the industry. Shaum’s mission is to evolve these services to generate more sales for clients that include Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Clubhouse Inns and Suites, Candlewood Suites, Bradford Homesuites, Regal Hotels, Best Rate Car Rental, E-Z Rent A Car, and Canadian North Airlines.
Shaum brings extensive experience in technology and communications management, marketing and sales to VIP, as well as a comprehensive background in advertising, human resources, and accounting. He previously worked with Qwest Communications, Inc. and Dex Media. Shaum lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife and four children.