Nowadays, innovation is the biggest driver of business growth and
travel agencies can no longer afford to be passive. Innovation allows
business to expand beyond the horizon and find opportunities as travel
Holiday Tours & Travel's executive vice president - revenue &
innovation Emily Lim shares her insights into the opportunities and
challenges around innovation in the travel landscape, and how the
company is responding to the return of travel demand.
You recently joined Holiday Tours & Travel (HTT) as
executive vice president - revenue & innovation. What does your role
at HTT entail? What are your goals?
Yes, I joined in January as executive vice president - revenue &
innovation. My role is around the development of revenue growth
strategies across all verticals — leisure, corporate travel or MICE. The
innovation bit comes in various formats — innovation through process,
structure, tech, fancy tools or new products. Our goal is really to give
our customers the confidence to travel and provide the best travel
experience there is. Not an easy goal to achieve!
You’re a branding and marketing expert, and you count
management experience at digital-first businesses such as TruTrip and
Lion & Lion. How has your background helped in your current role?
The main attribute or strategic tactic my background has contributed
to HTT is how to deliver better CX in every step of the way. How do we
make any customer journeys (and we know this can get really fragmented)
better, faster may it be offline or online. And of course there’s the
fun stuff like big ideas, collaborations or partnerships but for now we
are focusing on helping our customers travel with confidence.
Emily Lim, who counts stints at TruTrip and Lion & Lion, is now the executive vice president at Holiday Tours & Travel.
What innovative practices do you hope to implement in the business?
Automating processes! It sounds boring but absolutely critical.
As travel comes back what’s the biggest pain point for travellers right now? How is HTT responding to that?
I would say biggest fear, not pain. The question most asked is, ‘What
happens if I get Covid?’. We have our Travel Safety Promise, which has
launched on the 8 March, and here, our promise helps answer all our
customers' questions and worries. We also actively plan with our
customers on what to do in the event of any crisis or emergency. As a
result of our service and dedication, we have helped four Malaysian
government ministries travel to the Dubai Expo and back home safely.
It’s 2022. Are there any examples of how technology is being used in other industries that travel agents should take note of?
I think one big example of how technology is being used in other
industries that travel agents should take into consideration is design.
You won’t see us in the race of building the ultimate super-app that's
for sure. Of course there’s the fancy stuff like AI, big data,
predictive analytics, augmented reality, crypto, NFTs, e-wallets, etc.
But yeah look at how amazing Airbnb looks and feels!
HTT is stepping up focus on luxury travel and setting up a luxury arm. What are the reasons driving this?
It really stems from the thought of delivering the best travel
experience with good customer service. Sounds simple but it means so
much to us and will mean a lot more to our customers.
What travel trends are you seeing from Malaysia?
I think the key trend is that everyone is ready to travel! Just where to go and how to travel safely!