Virtual Destination Services: Ideal Solutions for our Virtual World

Virtual destination services provide transferees with the tools and resources they need to navigate their relocation from a distance. Many GMS clients have transferees who benefit from using convenient formats and technology. In today’s virtual world many processes are changing to ensure health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, transferees have access to new tools and resources to assure a successful relocation.

GMS spoke with Ann Hinch, International Destination Service Manager at GO Destination Services, who agreed to share her knowledge and expertise on this topic.

Three Convenient Formats for Virtual Destination Services

For services such as searching for schools, finding homes, and getting to know the new location, there are three convenient formats:

  1. Real-Time Community Video

Live video lets transferees review specific areas, discuss their interests, and share their preferences. The local destination contact provides direct communication on specific points and can answer questions that may arise.

  1. Webinar Presentation and Consultation

Transferees access a 1-on-1 presentation through a web-based platform. They also receive consultation for their destination needs.

  1. Custom Pre-Recorded Video

A personalized video is recorded and shared with transferees. They are then free to review the recording at a time that is convenient to their schedule.

Ann notes these virtual destination services are a terrific option for transferees and their family members. The services provide benefits such as:

  • Providing direct support when needed
  • Keeping assignments on track for success
  • Recruiting and retaining key employees
  • Assisting and supporting family members
  • Developing and growing relationships

Example #1: Home Finding

More people are buying homes sight-unseen due to several factors including the pandemic, the speed of business, and preference. Transferees using virtual destination services to find a home receive a number of helpful resources, including:

  • Initial consultation/needs assessment to allow for service personalization
  • Research conducted using transferee’s timeline, preferences, and budgetary requirements
  • Appointment-setting services to provide a virtual review
  • Virtual review of lease
  • Move-in inspection using virtual services
  • Personalized 1-on-1 consultation for questions and answers

Finding Homes

GO Destination Services has helped many clients find homes utilizing resources such as real-time video, webinar presentations, and consultations. One example is a recent transferee who was relocating from Canada to the U.S. West Coast for her job. Pre-pandemic, she would have flown to her destination city for a pre-move tour and to view available properties a month or more before the date of her move. However, that was complicated by the fact Canada is imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from outside national borders, including residents returning from the U.S. – this would have created a delay for her local preparations toward her final move.

Video Conference

To solve this, one of GO’s area consultants in her destination city put together a virtual presentation that included an area tour and orientation, as well as video and information about potential homes she had selected ahead of time, and went over these with her during a real-time video conference. She was able to ask questions, discuss the properties with the consultant, and ultimately chose her new home – all without leaving the country. GO then assisted with the lease review and signing, inspection, and arranging landlord repairs before she arrived, lessening the stress of her move-in date.

Ann notes the recommended service length for home-finding is eight hours.

Example #2: School Search and Consultation

Families moving with children often have specific needs for their home, location, and schools. Transferees using virtual destination services to find a school participates in a virtual search, support, and coaching sessions on school choices. These services include:

  • Initial consultation/needs assessment for service personalization
  • 1-on-1 personal consultation
  • Appointment-setting services
  • Extensive and thorough question-and-answer sessions through phone and video

GO Destination Services recommends transferees participate in a webinar presentation and consultation for this service. Ann notes the recommended service length for school search is also eight hours.

Additional Virtual Destination Services

Ann notes that several destination services can be provided virtually. These include tours and orientation, departure services and support, and area consultations. All of these services provide transferees with 1-on-1 consultation and support to ensure their peace of mind.

Area Tours

Some of GO’s clients use virtual services for area tours for potential new hires at the interview stage. Candidates who are doing video interviews with clients and cannot travel to the destination city are connected to GO. Then they are afforded the opportunity to talk with a local area consultant. The consultant inquires about their preferences and other items of importance when considering a new job and relocation. Using that information, the consultant and GO prepare a web-based platform presentation highlighting local attractions, services, and even rentals – using such tools as video, mapping features to virtually “move around” the city, and, of course, opportunity for question-and-answer time.

Settling-In Services

Other virtual services include assistance with settling-in steps. When the Social Security Administration first closed offices in March because of the pandemic, it was not allowing applications for new Social Security cards for international work visa holders. Later, some locations began adding the ability to schedule in-person appointments even with offices still closed. Many offices will not allow area consultants to accompany the transferee inside for appointments; a number of those even require the transferee to call and schedule their own appointment. In these instances, the consultant offers instructions and support to the transferee through the process, including being on standby by phone or video during the application appointment.

What Should Employers Do About Virtual Destination Services?

Employers should leverage virtual destination services. This will provide transferees with easy to use resource that also promote health and safety in our virtual world. A Relocation Management Company (RMC) with knowledge and experience will help employers understand how to how to access a wide range of tools and resources to meet their relocation program’s needs. As a result, transferees and their family members will have peace of mind. Their relocation process will also be smooth and successful.

Conclusion

GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to identify if transferees can benefit from virtual destination services. Our team can help your company understand how to identify specific points of concern and issues. As a result, this will help your company provide appropriate virtual resources and solutions. We also have a wide range of North America and Global Destination Spotlights and MyRelocation® Video Destination Spotlights to help new hires and transferees learn about their new location.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a “.com.” The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.

New SafeRelo™ COVID-19 Knowledge Portal

GMS recently launched its new SafeRelo™ COVID-19 Knowledge Portal featuring a number of helpful resources including:

  • Curated selection of news and articles specific to managing relocation programs and issues relating to COVID-19
  • Comprehensive guide to national, international, and local online sources for current data
  • Program/Policy Evaluation (PPE) Tool for instant relocation policy reviews

Contact our experts online to learn more about virtual destination services, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

Request your complimentary relocation policy review