Meet Snowden Chan, who joined Reed & Mackay in September, as the company experiences significant growth in the region. Snowden joins us for a Q&A reveals more about his experience in travel management, his priorities for clients in Asia and what excites him about corporate travel right now.
Tell us about your career background – how did you get into corporate travel?
After I graduated from university around 25 years ago, I started as a management trainee at a travel conglomerate where we did everything; corporate travel, product development, ticketing, group tours, MICE, marketing and advertising!
As I find the travel industry so exciting – I personally love to travel and wanted to work in an energetic industry in which to build my career – I moved into the corporate travel sector. Compared to many other industries, corporate travel provides the opportunity to build trust and confidence in longer-term relationships with clients, which I really enjoy.
Why did you want to join Reed & Mackay?
It was always my ambition to grow my career further with a TMC that was itself growing globally, and Reed & Mackay is a truly global company. Most recently, I worked at Connexus Travel, a Hong Kong-based company; when they decided to expand into the Greater China region, I was given the opportunity to be seconded to Beijing, where I worked in close partnership with Reed & Mackay.
I treasure the people here, I knew the company’s values and the culture and admired the extraordinary service offered to clients. By joining Reed & Mackay I feel I’m on the right path and that we are growing together.
Reed & Mackay focuses on extraordinary personal service, smart tech and global reach – are these the priorities for clients in the APAC markets?
Yes, these are definitely the top priorities for travel managers in APAC. And tech certainly means smart tech – this will be a key focus for us. After COVID-19, the business travel sector needed to come up with new ways of thinking, new ways of adapting and create innovative tech solutions, which complement high-touch extraordinary service. Not everything can simply be moved online, we also need to give clients the personal touch.
We need to make use of our smart technology products and solutions, show how we can use it to make a difference to clients’ travel programmes, but make it more personalised. This also routes back to the importance of growing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients.
What challenges does the corporate travel sector face to meet the changing needs of clients?
The corporate travel market has always been dynamic. However, after COVID-19, a lot of the travel ecosystem has changed; the cycle of expectation has become much more fast paced. In the past, a lot of corporate travel was focused on cost efficiencies. Now, there are many new elements in place such as duty of care, traveller safety and travel risk management. Not only is there a lot more preparation involved in advance of a business trip, but also during and after the customer journey.
Travel managers are also facing challenges around travel policy compliance and more consideration needs to be given to traveller wellbeing. Plus, an increasing number of clients are having to consider the meetings and events side, as well as the growth in the number of travellers combining leisure with a business trip.
Sustainability is now integral; it’s not only about working on reducing CO2 emissions from air travel but also with hotels, rail travel, car hire etc. It’s important that not only should clients have CO2 reduction reporting but, at the point of sale, the booker and traveller are being given the choice of which type of route to take, the type of aircraft they’ll fly on. It’s important they know what the CO2 impact is to their company, their community and the globe.
What is Reed & Mackay offering its APAC clients in 2023 and beyond?
The APAC market is still quite fragmented; Reed & Mackay can offer more consolidation and provide effective solutions to companies’ travel programmes across those markets. We can ensure both visibility and measurement of different KPIs in the travel programme, along with expense management, reporting and duty of care, bringing efficiencies and innovation at every touchpoint.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure our clients’ travel experience is seamless while delivering extraordinary, personalised service.
Finally, what are the top three destinations that you would like to travel to?
I must have already travelled to more than 30+ countries! But I would love to revisit the UK; it feels like coming home when I am there.
If I was travelling in Asia, I would pick Japan. As well as visiting some of my family who live there, I love to experience the healthy food and the country’s unique culture and heritage. I also love to hike and the hiking is excellent in Japan.
I’d also choose to visit Thailand. I love the sunshine, I love swimming and Thailand has that in abundance. But I also like the fact it’s a country that’s growing rapidly as an emerging market. It’s a great place for leisure and business!