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When faced with the challenging business environment, businesses should seek to innovate and collaborate to not only survive but to thrive after the storm is over. Here is how Travel Agencies from The FinLab’s 2018 Programme are banding together during COVID-19.
The travel and tourism industry is grappling with an unprecedented level of disruption. With Covid-19 causing many cities to impose movement restrictions, One industry player noted this has led to a drop by almost 90% in revenue. Governments are stepping in, but is it enough? How are some of these players coping and what plans do they have to overcome this crisis?
The FinLab spoke to three travel agencies – Pegasus Travel, Royal Wings Travel, and Travel Kreator (previously known as Siam Express), all of whom graduated from our Business Transformation Programme in Singapore.
Jaclyn Yeoh, Managing Director of Travel Kreator, shared the sentiments of many in the travel industry: “This came as a huge shock to us, as 2019 was a good year for the travel industry. Business was booming and many people were travelling then. No one could have predicted this situation to take place and we were all taken by surprise.”
However, the travel industry is made of resilient people.
Rather than sitting down and feeling resigned to circumstances, the three agencies banded together and took the opportunity to collaborate and support one another to get through the crisis.
“We decided to host this Kochi Japan fair together with Pegasus Travel and Travel Kreator to help one another through a time with almost zero sales,” said Diana Ho, Director of Royal Wings Travel. She added, “In times of crisis when the whole industry is affected, we are stronger together than apart.”
The three agencies developed the friendships during The FinLab’s Programme in 2018 and realised that they each have unique and complementary strengths. By collaborating at this time, they were able to target a broader market by leveraging on combined resources and areas of industry coverage.
“I am thankful to have met open and willing industry partners like Albert and Jaclyn through The FinLab programme,” Diana said.
Apart from organising fairs together, the agencies are also using the downtime to upskill their staff. Staff from Travel Kreator are attending WSQ’s Diploma Courses, while the team at Royal Wings are being trained on how to develop and execute local tours effectively.
Pegasus Travel is looking to upskill their staff to learn and implement the automation of back-end processes. Charles Tan, their Managing Director, explained the reason for this endeavour, “We need to be prepared for the pent-up demand when COVID-19 blows over.” Automating repetitive processes will enable the team to work more efficiently and spend quality time serving their customers in future.
Looking ahead, all three travel agencies emphasised the need to make the most of the bleak situation and put in place the skills and experience they gained from working with The FinLab. They believe that focusing on digitalisation now will enable them to be one step ahead of the competition when they can resume operations.
“It is the best time to innovate when faced with difficult situations,” said Jaclyn.
The FinLab Team is very glad to have played a part in this collaboration and will continue to drive innovation and digitalisation with SMEs across the region, both in-person and online. To find out more about how we can support your business, click here.