The symphony of Asian Trails’ management
The symphony of Asian Trails’ management
Written by Laurent Kuenzle, Chief Executive Officer, Asian Trails
For the first time since the COVID-19-enforced lockdown, we held the 2023 Asian Trails’ board meetings physically on Koh Samui, Thailand. We were joined by heads of our corporate departments for a few days of updates and discussions. It was such a joy to see everyone together again and feel the strong dynamics that have always existed at Asian Trails’ management meetings – but now even more so after the tough last few years! As the famous Yale professor Halford E. Luccock said so nicely: “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.”
Our meetings were all about teamwork and the important role each of us takes, not only in our daily work but also in formulating the company’s strategy. We were privileged to have our owners’ full support during the COVID-19 years to keep our teams together and it shows so prominently now how we are all playing the same symphony and pulling on the same strings.
Our corporate heads briefed us on the focus of their key objectives and how to achieve these goals with their teams in order to support all of our offices and activities. A major topic was technology which we radically changed during the pandemic period and in which our owners have invested heavily. We are now not only able to showcase our products online and through API connectivity – we can also compare our products with those of other market players and hence, offer the best value for money and immediate availability of services in all of our destinations.
Asian Trails eConnect offers a booking platform that is easy to use, with connections to major players in the industry, including channel managers, hotel chains, third party suppliers, as well of course all of our own products. This is one-stop shopping at its best, offering price comparisons and availability in one go. Clients connecting to us through APIs have tailor-made solutions, showcasing as much or as little as they want to buy from us. This not only applies to hotels but also transfers, excursions and a selection of multi-day tours with several language options to choose from.
Our sourcing teams have also gone through major changes during COVID-19, led by our sourcing director Didac Wipf. Not only have we changed our organisation and employed new colleagues – we have altered the way we buy. We have a distinct focus on suppliers that work with us at preferential terms, contracting both static and dynamic rates and whereas we have reduced the number of partners we work with, the collaboration with our priority suppliers has become much stronger.
Our marketing activities have shifted gear with the onboarding of our new marketing director Adam O’Keefe last year who has built up a new team of creative talent. You might have noticed these changes in our newsletters and social media activities and there is much more to come. Our messages focus around our teams and their achievements, Asian Trails’ news and updates from our partners, new product and destination news, and promotions and technology enhancements. We want to make it easy for our clients to stay in touch and to find practical and up-to-date information for every Asian Trails’ destination.
Ameer Virani, who rejoined Asian Trails to lead our sustainable activities, briefed the Koh Samui meeting on sustainability in general and on the progress of our sustainable action plans. As many of our clients know, we offer abundant sustainable tours and excursions, or ‘trails’ as we call them as part of our product lines in all of our countries. Under the leadership of Ameer, our teams are not only working on creating new sustainable offers, they are also making our existing tours and excursions more sustainable. There is a distinct focus on making sustainability part of our daily lives, not only in terms of what the company does, but also what each and everyone can do privately. Everyone wants to commit good actions to people and the planet and there are many opportunities to do this in our part of the world.
Social activities and one-on-one talks were a fun way of exchanging information outside of meetings at the board event. Whereas we frequently network online as part of our management meetings, nothing feels better than personal face-to-face interaction. We are already looking forward to our next round of board meetings in Indonesia next year!
For now, here are a few snapshots of our management team spending quality time with elephants at Samui Elephant Kingdom and on a luxury sunset cruise by Red Baron Samui in the Ang Thong National Marine Park.