People, quality, integrity and delivery are at the core of Discover the World’s philosophy. And the global travel services and distribution company, has developed a rather enviable reputation in Thailand for not just espousing these lofty ideals, but living up to them too.
It was this reputation that allowed the company to play host for their partners, including Expedia and Hertz International, on a day of seminars designed to instil the knowledge and confidence in local TA’s to consistently generate satisfied customers and, of course, boost commission.
The Discover Our World Sales Seminar took place at the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok on 18th October, where Travel Daily spoke to territory director Brian Sinclair-Thompson and Deborah Haines, the Radisson Blue Plaza GM, about how the hotel came to be involved, and the importance of personal relationships in the hospitality industry.
Travel Daily. This is the first Discover Our World session, how did the idea for hosting the seminars with the Radisson Blu arise?
Brian. I met the previous GM (Peter Feran) here, at the social media event for an Aussie beer – Little Creatures- at the roof bar upstairs (Brewski), and we had talked, in very general terms, about hosting seminars at the hotel. But, when I followed up the staff said he had gone to Vietnam so I thought I would just come along on introduce myself to the new GM, Deborah. And we met in this very lobby.
Deborah. I actually think that our meeting shows exactly what the travel should be about. It’s about the guest. Did I know Brian? No, I didn’t. But, someone had arrived in my lobby and wanted to meet me, so I did.
This is what it means to be a true hotelier, not hiding behind this beautiful building or the brand but actually being there for the guest. The hospitality industry is about connecting people and being truly hospitality focused. It shouldn’t matter who you are, or what you do. A lobby is, after all, a welcoming area. So people should be.
TD. So what was it about Brian, that you found appealing?
Deborah. I think it was his approach. He is very relaxed very friendly with frills at all, and that is very much my personality too. And because Brian was so open, sold himself so well and talked a lot – I thought, yeah I like this guy. So even though we had only a short meeting, we also established a personal connection, which led to an understanding of trust and support.
You see it’s not just about the brands you work for, but also about the personalities too. And as you get older in life you can use your experiences to really connect with
TD. How long did the event take to plan?
Robert. I think it was about 2 months since Deborah and I first met. We then sent out our press releases and took booking etc. And it did just hit really well. So we are now looking at rolling out ‘Discover Our World’ across the rest of Thailand, take it on the road into the provinces and we want to do it with Radisson, and push that brand cooperation, very much to the fore. I hope this is the beginning of a good business relationship
Deborah. I believe it is. Radisson is still growing in Thailand, so if we can build on these types of relationships then the opportunities for (Radisson) Thailand will grow too. It just goes to show how far a brief – and I do mean brief – interaction can go and as a new person in town (Deborah took over as GM in August 2017), I feel it is so important to grab these moments.
TD. Have there been any problems in the run up to Discover Our World, or even today?
Robert. No just the weather. I saw a headline yesterday saying DELUGE EXPECTED, and we were all praying that it wouldn’t happen, before we got all the guests in. But we knew once they are in, then we would be on home ground. And [despite the rain] it looks like we are still going to be able to finish the day with the surprise cocktail on the roof, as planned – so somebody up there is smiling at us.
Since we walked in this morning the atmosphere has been totally relaxed, everything flowed. We started the TA’s off with a room inspection and instead of waiting for everyone to arrive, we decided to send them in small groups as they arrived, then they went to the tea rooms before heading into the seminars, everything just flowed. It’s a compliment to the hotel that no one was running about, panicking. And when the Q &A sections ran over, because of the TA’s, might I say, very intelligent line of questioning, the staff said “no problem” and just dealt with it.
Deborah. Anything can go wrong, but is about how your react. For me, it’s about creating a culture of putting the guests centre stage, and if there are problems and things run over or something else goes wrong? We can handle it. We must remember to be respectful of the individual requirements of the event and if does run over time – you will be supported, and we will still get you an amazing cocktail at Brewski. It’s about being confident and knowing you have the support behind you.