Having witnessed the evolution of the Asian travel industry first-hand in recent years, Ms. Bui believes an increasing number of travellers want to delve deeper into local cultures and lifestyles, not only to understand them better, but also to help them more fully disconnect from the pressures and more negative aspects of their daily lives.
Many companies out there offer travel as a service. How is Sens Asia Travel different?
We differentiate ourselves with the essence of our service: the product, the team and advance tour management technology. But the thing that set us us most apart are the products; we don’t just sell a smooth logistic arrangement, take people to a highlight, or meet a local. At Sens Asia Travel, just as our name suggests, each tour is carefully crafted with passion to awaken travellers’ senses through a series of unique travel experiences. We don’t only invite you to explore a new destination; we would like you to re-connect with yourself, your senses.
Why have you identified Sensory Travel as an opportunity? Is this part of a wider industry change?
Travellers’ demand for quality and value is always growing and yes, the industry is changing, people are seeking deeper, enriched experiences, looking for local authenticity, they want to unplug and unwind. The trend for the travel industry in the future will no longer be to see locations at a basic level, but to experience them on a high sensory level. Our approach harkens back to the good old days when we traveled for the first, all lands were strange and full of surprise, and curiosity was at an all-time high. Not many of us kept that feeling after years of working and parenting. Sens Asia appreciates that; we do not want to do mass tourism, big group and tight schedule tours. We want to create a product that recaptures the feeling of being young and curious.
Who are your customers and why have you defined this as a segment to which you’d like to appeal?
Our first audience will always be the friends and family of Sens Asia; we believe that we shouldn’t stand behind a product if we would not recommend it to a loved one. This way, we treat our customers as we would someone we are close to, this helps us create a journey plan that we are proud of. We want to reach the traveler who knows what they want. Who commits time for traveling and wants to enrich their life, travelers who don’t rush through things, and instead uses their holiday time to unwind and experiences things at a steady pace.
Experiential travel is really that – a deep dive into communities and original, locally inspired experiences. Please explain how you plan to achieve this?
Although I should really keep this bit secret, our approach begins with seeking out the original ‘sense experiences’, a challenging process, but one we are dedicated to. We determine the best way to deliver these experiences to customers, whether through our own tour experts, or a local. On our journeys customers are encouraged to touch, taste, hear and smell, not just see things. We will meet and learn the lifestyles of every ordinary farmer, villager, angler, worker, and so on.
What inspired the creation of Sens Asia and where do you see it in 3-5 years time?
I see Sens Asia Travel becoming a main channel for independent travelers to Asia. The brand and its website can be the connection point between travelers who are looking for real, authentic local experiences, high-value trips and an effective Journey Planner. Sens Asia Travel will change the way people travel.
How is travel changing in your opinion – how is it bought and sold – as well as what people are looking for?
Travel is changing constantly, each generation has its own style, and the way people plan their journey changes with new technology. To illustrate, the young often rely on online booking platforms, whereas others want to discuss an idea and need external support, many are balancing between the two. However, everybody wants a more personalized service; they are looking for the ability to choose their own short trips, event modules, and activities to form their own flexible plan. Social media has become increasingly powerful, as travelers share their experiences with the world; this influences others. People are more confident with instant booking & payment, they make quick decisions and have less time to plan their holidays. Green & sustainable travel is strongly preferred because travelers have learnt to care for the destinations in which they travel.
I notice you are supported by HG Holdings. What are the company’s key credentials?
HG Holdings are the back up for our group; we take advantage of their 20 years of knowledge and experience. Sens Asia benefits from the ability to set up local offices in new territories quickly and efficiently by utilizing HG Holding’s vast network. Lastly, as a young Managing Director, It’s nice to seek advice from the Board of Directors from time to time (Smile).
How are you working to benefit the communities in which you operate?
This is one of Sens Asia Travel’s core values. We develop our products together with communities, we work with local experts to ensure sustainable tourism, and we empower the locals and maintain the original culture. We support non-profit organizations to promote their products and connect likeminded travelers to their location. The sixth sense of Sens Asia is the Heart, and that sense is fully committed to sustainable, environmentally friendly, community centred tourism.