In this exclusive interview, Travel Daily Media speaks with Vijayeta James, the Commercial Director of TBO.com for the Asia-Pacific region. With a focus on TBO’s vision for growth, strategies for expansion, key partnerships, and the dynamic challenges of the ever-evolving travel industry, Vijayeta provides insights into her leadership role and the remarkable journey that has led to TBO’s significant success in the region.
Under her guidance, TBO has set its sights on becoming the leading travel distribution platform in APAC by 2025, driven by a robust combination of strategic partnerships, customer-centric initiatives, and a commitment to delivering exceptional value to both clients and travel agent partners.
Travel Daily Media (TD): Can you share your vision for TBO’s growth in the APAC region and how you plan to achieve it?
Vijayeta James (VJ): The vision is to be the largest travel distribution platform in the region by 2025. Our supply, tech, product, sales, marketing and hiring strategy is aligned to this vision and all I can say is, we are well on our way to achieving that milestone.
TD: As the Commercial Director for TBO in APAC, what strategies have you implemented to increase agency coverage and expand the business?
VJ: From a retail agent’s perspective, the strategy is to give the best service to our agent partners and reward existing bookers and customers for their business. Hiring the best ‘fleet-on-the-ground’ has been our biggest strength in acquiring new customers, apart from increasing our brand awareness and participating in face-to-face events – Trade shows and TBO roadshows.
TD: TBO has recently experienced significant growth in the region under your leadership. Could you elaborate on the key factors that have contributed to this success?
VJ: I must attribute the growth to our people. We have an experienced, talented and committed team, very passionate to deliver their best. We have invested in experienced and committed leadership across all major countries in the region and continue to strategically invest and enter new markets in the region.
TD: Can you tell us about the partnerships you have established with industry giants such as Amadeus, Saudi Tourism, Marriott, and Disney? How do these partnerships contribute to TBO’s growth in the APAC region?
VJ: Most of these partnerships have been strategic and in place and have been built over some time now. We have multiple initiatives ongoing with each of these brands always centred towards offering the best products and services to our clients.
TD: TBO has launched the biggest travel trade promotion in the APAC region. Could you provide insights into the goals and objectives of this promotion and how it aligns with TBO’s overall strategy?
VJ: The Book n Win Bonanza campaign is the first of its kind in the travel industry. Its the biggest gamified rewards program online which guarantees attractive prizes from iPhones to iPads to television screens to hotel and shopping vouchers for every booking of a threshold amount. The objective has been to increase the average booking value and reward top Travel Bookers well. The response has been overwhelming with over 600+ winners spinning the wheel and winning over 3000+ prizes in the past 100 days! The positive word-of-mouth advertising has been great. We will conclude the campaign by giving away the Grand prize of a Honda car or cash worth USD 20,000 soon.
TD: What are some of the challenges you have encountered while expanding TBO’s business in the APAC region, and how have you overcome them?
VJ: We see opportunities more than challenges. While travel resurgence in China has been slow but is expected to boom sooner than later and countries like Myanmar have been severely impacted by political instability APAC’s resurgence will drive growth in the travel industry in the coming years. So, we are navigating local challenges and opportunities with a localized plan of action for the region.
TD: With your rich management consulting and academic experience, how do you leverage your expertise to drive innovation and stay ahead of the competition in the ever-evolving travel industry?
VJ: I always tell my team to be aware of the market around them and always focus on the true value we bring to our clients and be better versions of ourselves each day. “Care” which is one of TBO’s core values is what we bring to the market. We care that travellers have a good experience on a holiday or a business trip and we focus on delivering that for every single client every time. Being obsessed with adding value to the lives of our Travel Agent partners and doing our best every day to ensure that our travel agent partners can deliver extraordinary service to clients will help them and us stay ahead of the competition.