Winning formula guarantees success
Silver Award winner Hong Thai Travel Services has continued to sustain healthy business growth despite the economic downturn and Swine flu pandemic. It has launched a diverse range of innovative products and services catering to the changing needs of customers.
'We think from the perspective of our customers when we develop our products and services,' said Susanna Lau, Hong Thai's general manager.
Hong Thai moved to attract more customers, when consumer confidence was shaken by the financial turmoil, by making payment for its services more convenient by accepting full credit card payment for all services and the waiving of processing fees.
It also guarantee no tour will be cancelled, regardless of numbers. Shortly after the global outbreak of Swine flu, the company launched a 'Zero Worry Travel' preventive programme, which includes a face mask and a cash allowance of up to HK$10,000, for each customer who may have to undergo quarantine overseas or locally.
The travel agent has a planning meeting every August when heads of marketing and other departments gather to look at opportunities and review competition, according to Ms Lau. They will come up with plans and strategies for the year ahead.
Individual department heads are responsible for informing staff at all levels of new strategies. The department heads also collect feedback from employees and guide them to complete their work plans for the next year.
'We conduct quarterly reviews to measure the progress of individual departments in reaching their annual targets and identify any possible challenges,' Ms Lau said.
Hong Thai has developed a system to maintain long-term relationships with customers which enhances the understanding of their needs and reinforces the brand image.
Updated and in-depth knowledge of the expectations of its customers are acquired through analysis of the latest market studies compiled by market research specialists.
Hong Thai also proactively collects customer feedback through surveys conducted immediately after tours are completed.
'The surveys show how we appreciate and respect their ideas and opinions. We take their ideas into consideration in the continuous improvement of our services and products,' Ms Lau said.
Hong Thai's privileged customers club regularly provides updates on latest product news and special offers, and members will receive e-birthday cards.
The company holds themed travel seminars for club members and gives away surprise birthday presents.
The silver winner of this year's HKMA Quality awards adopted total quality management in 2001 and has acquired several ISO certificates, including ISO 9001: 2000 for its full scope of services and the ISO 10002: 2004 certificate for the management and handling of customer complaints.
According to Ms Lau, the company has used a variety of channels to distribute its corporate values to employees. These include the company's intranet, a booklet of corporate culture, regular meetings and an employee publication, Hong Thai Blog.
Hong Thai's philosophy is 'happy staff, happy customers'. To ensure staff are having a happy work life, the company has designed and implemented a comprehensive employee development programme to motivate its workforce.
'We help employees develop long-term career plans with the in-house developed career ladder,' Ms Lau said.
'A diverse range of on-the-job training courses are offered. They include customer-service technique training and a two-year management trainee programme. We also provide employees with allowances for continuing education.'
Other initiatives include an employee survey, conducted every two years, which assesses the degree of employee satisfaction towards the company's operation.