Q & A: EXO Travel business as usual

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BANGKOK, 11 June 2018: EXO Travel named Hamish Keith as its new CEO with the appointment taking effective 1 July. He fields questions on the way forward, but reassures partners and customers it will be business as usual.

Q: Where is the growth going to be for EXO Travel in a region packed with aggressive competition?

A: EXO is now operating in 10 destinations and on a group level we are growing our top line at 20% year-on-year and are on track for another record-breaking year.

Our best performing destination is Japan where we are running almost 100% ahead of last year, followed by Thailand where we are plus 50% having won two significant new accounts from France and the UK.

In addition, we are experiencing good increases in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia and have had a good start in Singapore our newest destination, where we have confirmed several conferences and events.

Q: How are you going to lift revenue in Thailand as it has the numbers but the yields are not so hot?

A: In Thailand we continue to focus on niche sectors such as adventure travel, luxury travel, tailor-made and events.

We have never really entered the low-yield mainstream or beach accommodation sectors and have built a healthy business based on service, product innovation and developed lasting partnerships with our clients who trust us to deliver the level of personalised service and range of experiences they need.

Q: What’s your immediate priority?

A: Olivier is not leaving the company and remains chairman of the board so it is very much business as usual for EXO; our vision and goals will not change and the company is in excellent health so there are no pressing issues to address or problems to solve.

George Ehrlich-Adam, our COO, and I have been with the company for over 15 years each and we have a very stable and highly competent senior leadership team around us so we are very confident that we can continue moving EXO forwards and continue the great work Olivier started.

Going forwards, you will see further brand segmentation as we focus more attention on the niche sectors and will launch LUXE by EXO as a boutique company within the company servicing the luxury market, which follows the success of EXO Adventure and EXO Events, as well as EXO Connect, which has been developed for the B2B online bookings.

Furthermore, later this year we will also be launching some innovative technology that will further enhance the client experience in-destination and a new platform to take the agent booking experience to another level.

Q: How do you intend to be involved in resolving issues re environment, green issues and gender equality, all the things that big firms have to tackle to keep customer loyalty?

A: EXO has had permanent responsible travel staff for over 12-years and launched EXO Foundation in 2011 and has been at the forefront of responsible travel and see ourselves as part of a pioneering group of stakeholders with a mission to improve the environment we operate in as much as we can.

As well as supporting numerous projects through our foundation, we were the first DMC in Asia to receive Travelife accreditation and are working on numerous initiatives as well as working very hard to reduce plastic in the supply chain.

We are also celebrating our 10-year anniversary of EXO Academy, which is our in-house training initiative that ensures all EXO people receive a level of training that goes well beyond skills and knowledge training with a mission based on improving the lives and welfare of our people.

We see people as our most precious asset and our highest priority is to make sure we keep our best people and we believe everything we invest in our people works double as an investment in customer loyalty.