Now that summer in Europe is almost done, we shift focus from our incoming Europe business to outgoing Southeast Asia. Not that we totally leave out our Europe business. There’s demand, albeit in lower numbers than in summer; but destinations like Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong all offer a nice change of products to sell for the travel agents and their clients we serve from different parts of the world.
Southeast Asia provides a diverse cultural experience and warm weather year round. It’s highly sought after, especially considering the freezing temperatures we get in Europe during winter.
So in the coming weeks, from end of August to mid-September, I will again be attending several events as a hosted buyer. I will visit a private MICE event in Amsterdam meeting high end unique luxury hotels and then the week after, I’ll be on a flight to Manila for the Philippine Travel Exchange where I’m also invited as a hosted buyer.
It’s a perfect way for me to save time while meeting dozens of suppliers, hotels, and other travel related service providers. Then it’s down to qualifying each one to see if we can work with them or whether they meet the standards and quality of service we expect. For us, it’s all about delivering amazing experiences to our partners and their clients; but to guarantee this, we need to choose the right suppliers who deliver what they promise.
After the Philippines, I fly to Thailand and Hong Kong for several days each. It’s also a time to continue strengthening supplier relationships there. Like in most places anywhere in the world but probably even more so in Asia, it’s all about relationships. When you have great relationships, everything is possible; I’ve proven this on many occasions. When things don’t happen quite the way we’ve planned it, I have been known to call a supplier directly in the middle of the night to make sure things are resolved.
So with all the traveling once again, this is not to say I don’t enjoy myself. It gives me a breath of fresh air and it even inspires new ideas on how to approach our business. Sometimes it also gives me insight for tour ideas or how to turn an existing product into an even better experience.
And on top of that, I get to have the bonus of eating my favorite Chicken Adobo and Lechon Kawali in the Philippines, Tom Kha Khai and Yam Won Sen in Thailand or visiting that Yum Cha restaurant in Hong Kong for an authentic Dim Sum lunch. I don’t even call this the perks of the job anymore. When you love what you do and are passionate about your industry, I call it a blessing. Passion then becomes infectious and it shows when dealing with partners and clients. I wonder if this is why travel agents remain relevant even with today’s technology. After all, personal touch and emotion is something technology can’t replace.
Vincent Soriano is the Founder & Managing Director of Art Of Travel. Based in Prague, Czech Republic, Art Of Travel specializes in delivering travel experiences throughout Central & Eastern Europe. And with its strong affinity to Asia, Travel Agent partners and customers also rely on their expert knowledge of Philippines, Thailand, and the rest of Southeast & North Asia. To know more, visit www.ArtOfTravel.eu. Vincent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org