Can you share the background of the company?
I started this business in July 2015 as I am really interested and wish to venture into hotel and tourism industry. Initially, my father requested me to inherit his vehicle service centre business, however fate had brought me into this industry as I was offered to study tourism management at a polytechnic. After i graduated, I worked in Johor Bahru at a fairly large travel agency namely Oversea Express which had 7 branches at that time to gain knowledge and experience. Subsequently, I went to Singapore and worked in a tour bus company, however the experience was unfavourable. Hence, I decided to come back to Malaysia where I met my mentor and he taught me a lot in terms of management, costing and negotiations with airlines and ground agents.
He gave me a lot of opportunities on leading large tours to Europe countries. From there, I learnt on negotiations, tour packages creation and itinerary arrangement. My mentor has then assigned me to take care of Seremban branch and subsequently Kuala Lumpur branch. He also managed the AirAsia customer service branches where I was assigned to be in charge of a few branches. However the contract was terminated after a dispute between his company and AirAsia. Then, i decided to start my own company with my own networking, guidance by my mentor and assistance from my wife.
“I decided to start my own company with my own networking, guidance by my mentor and assistance from my wife’’
What are the main challenges in this business?
We face many challenges on inbound tours such as dealing with unlicensed tour guides. They are able to offer cheaper price as they are freelancers. We have to provide good services as well as build and maintain the relationship in order to retain the customers.
Another challenge that we are facing is, there is no responsibility from the freelancer when problems occurred. We have to bear the responsibility in dealing with the customers. There are many people that get scammed by freelancers during Movement Control Order (“MCO”) as they booked fake tour packages and customers came to us to request for refund.
As we do not provide physical product after payments made by customers, we opened a shop on the ground floor to convince the customers of our existence and to attract more customers. In addition, we also provide the basic knowledge and information on the current situation in the countries that we are promoting.
|Travel fair organised by HJS Travel and Tour in their office.
What is the strength and how do you promote your business?
Previously we advertised our travel packages in newspapers however after MCO, we decided to switch to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as it provides better reach and wider coverage.
We also exhibited our booth in the recent MATTA fair partnering with Golden Destination travel agency. We promote our packages which include worldwide countries as well as cruise tours in affordable price and quality package to cater more customers.
Our tours involved both inbound and outbound whereby domestic tour derived mainly from China`s Government officials. We usually arrange tour for private groups between 8 to 10 tourists as the quality and profit are better. We do collaborate with few travel agencies as well in order to form a faster tour. We form a consortium tour by combining our customers of the same destination to reduce the travelling waiting period.
What would be your advice to new entrepreneurs out there?
Cash flow management is equally important as well, and must be prudent in handling the huge amount of receivable cash from customers.
Do not involve in the price war to obtain the business but to meet the requirement as well as maintaining customer`s satisfaction are the key to business sustainability.
|Booth exhibition in a travel fair at Palm Mall, Seremban.