6 years ago

ITB China News 2018 - Day 2 Edition

  • Text
  • Tourism
  • European
  • Destinations
  • Luxury
  • Tourist
  • Ctrip
  • Global
  • Travellers
  • Kent
  • Destination


8 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TRAVEL IS THE KEY TO BETTER UNDERSTANDING, RESPECT AND HAPPINESS, WHICH WE FEEL IS THE FOUNDATION TO PROMOTING GLOBAL PEACE AND BRINGING PROSPERITY TO ALL STAKEHOLDERS James Jianzhang Liang Co-founder, Executive Chairman of the Board, Ctrip Service as a Pillar of the Value Proposition Exclusive Interview: James Jianzhang Liang, Co-founder, Executive Chairman of the Board, Ctrip As the travel industry comprises nearly 10% of global GDP, huge opportunities still lie ahead, with online penetration remaining relatively low in many pockets of the world. Ctrip is positioned for not only travel opportunities in China, but also global opportunities, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. By the same token, Ctrip’s CEO Jane Sun recently spoke about the fact that travel is a “gateway to global peace and prosperity”. We asked James Jianzhang Liang, Co-founder, Executive Chairman of the Board what his thoughts are on this. Travelling is a natural bridge to different cultures and races. Day in and day out our teams work tirelessly to ensure travel becomes easier and safer through technologies and services. This is a passion of ours. Travel is the key to better understanding, respect and happiness, which we feel is the foundation to promoting global peace and bringing prosperity to all stakeholders. Over the past months, you have announced a number of joint ventures and partnerships. Which of these do you feel are the most important in helping Chinese travellers have a better experience? We continue to seek new partnerships in order to ensure and address the needs of our 300 million plus registered members. Along with all travel partners, we are constantly finding ways to boost the diversity of our travel products and assure better service, particularly for the growing Chinese outbound customer-base. I think there are a lot of areas we can improve upon to enable better experiences and services in the indestination category. We’ve been working with more and more local partners to enable local services like attractions, restaurants, trains and car services, just to name a few. These are all important links of the travel ecosystem which would greatly enhance the customer experience. The 2017 China Outbound Tourism Travel Report came up with some very interesting findings, for example with regard to Chinese travellers’ concern for safety. How has Ctrip been able to leverage this report and consequently better meet the demands of its customers? Service has always been a pillar of our value proposition to users. Chinese people travelling overseas require more service capabilities given language barriers and cultural differences. This is why over 50% of our employee-base are in the customer service unit, providing 24/7 support for our customers. Calls are answered within 20 seconds to ensure prompt reply and efficiency. We’ve innovated to make service even lower friction with our Virtual Tour Managers (VTM) function. Travellers visiting certain destinations can join messenger chat groups that are managed by group managers who have in-depth destination knowledge, to provide instant replies about almost anything our travellers need. We also have the Global SOS system which can provide timely information and travel arrangement options in emergency situations. With recent emergency situations such as the Las Vegas shooting, Bali volcano eruption and Hawaii earthquakes, Ctrip was really able to shine in helping our travellers through these unforeseen situations. Such information has allowed tour groups and independent traveller to avoid certain areas that might hinder the rest of their itinerary or, for those already affected, give more alternatives to safely evacuate. What are your thoughts about ITB China which is in its second year this year? We have a good relationship with ITB and are happy to support ITB China. It’s always great for the industry to gather and find ways to make travellers’ lives easier and safer. ITB China offers a great platform to focus on the Chinese travel market. Not only is it a great way to examine the market trends of the coming years, it also helps all partners to engage in shaping the future of Chinese tourism ITB CHINA NEWS • Thursday 17 th May 2018

SPECIAL FEATURE LUXURY 9 From humble beginnings in Africa, Abercrombie & Kent has today become a global organisation. So how is it evolving in this part of the world? We put the question to Jonathan Cheung, CEO of Abercrombie & Kent China. As our founder Geoffrey Kent said, real luxury has three hallmarks: authenticity, flexibility and a sense of well-being. Authenticity means the experience is true to its place and its traditions, incorporating elements of the past and reflecting the local culture. Flexibility refers to service that anticipates your needs and satisfies them in an unobtrusive manner. Peace of mind is the sense of well-being that comes from traveling with a first-class organisation staffed by professionals for whom the word “impossible” does not exist. lodges and camps in one-ofa-kind locations. Through our network of on-site offices around the world, we are able to deliver by-invitation-only access to the people and places that make each of these destinations unique, curating experiences beyond the reach of ordinary travellers. Many of our guests own their own planes but understand the challenges of seamlessly planning and coordinating a multi-country itinerary. In Peru, AKP helps severely impoverished Peruvian children “to dream, to play, to hope”. We’re also looking at establishing more AKP projects in China. What are your thoughts on the initiative by Messe Berlin to launch ITB China – now in its second year? As an international B2B travel exhibition, ITB has proven its leading positions in the market and we are delighted to see it’s come to China, just like A&K. China has become one the largest and fastest growing source markets of many international industries, with ITB China, more chances are offered WE ARE WORKING WITH PARTNER COMMUNITIES ON EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, CONSERVATION AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. When travelling, people are always looking for authentic experiences, thus we offer our clients not only exquisite viands or fancy accommodation but also chances to discover something that others had rarely discovered before. We have our own local offices around the world. When you travel with A&K, your guide is always local, someone with an intimate knowledge of the destination. Our guides are experts whose education, field research and personal accomplishments make them ideal companions. Most importantly, they are cultural interpreters who explain local customs and offer thoughtful insights that will transform your understanding of the destination and can arrange insider access to places and people you would never find on your own. What kind of interest is for your private jet ‘round the world tours? Demand is strong with many itineraries selling out within weeks of being announced. In China alone, we have seen increasing interest in the private jet experiences from our affluent clients who enjoy their highflying luxury lifestyles. Travelling by private jet allows guests to experience far more than a conventional itinerary -- with greater comfort. During those private jet tours, these people are offered a chance of meeting like-minded people with a deep curiosity about the world and sharing exclusive insider access experiences. These include exclusive use of some of the world’s finest hotels, boutique When “Impossible” Does Not Exist Jonathan Cheung, CEO of Abercrombie & Kent China – on the roadmap for this legendary organisation in this region Geoffrey Kent is a champion of sustainability. How does this get translated into what you do? The travel industry is in the midst of a transformation toward greater equity and sustainability. At Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP), we are dedicated to positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the communities where our guests travel. We are equally committed to ensuring guests learn about our philanthropic investments as an integral part of their travel experience, and to witness and engage. From Africa to Asia, Latin America to the Antarctic, we are working with partner communities on education, health care, conservation and enterprise development projects. We now have 41 projects in 19 countries where we strive to work with our community partners to address the education, health care, enterprise development/job creation and conservation challenges they face. I would like to share just a couple of examples. In Cambodia, AKP brings fresh, clean water to rural areas, helping thousands of villagers avoid deadly diseases. to travel market professionals to integrate resources and shape the future together Jonathan Cheung CEO, Abercrombie & Kent China ITB CHINA NEWS • Thursday 17 th May 2018