On August 30, Easia celebrated 20 years of inspiring travelers. The article below reflects on two decades of operations in Southeast Asia during the most challenging period in recent memory for the travel industry, while looking to the future of Easia. Read on to learn more!
When we established Easia Travel in 2000 over coffee in “Z Cafe” in Hanoi, our primary mission was to facilitate a way of travel that we truly believed benefited the traveler and the community in equal ways. This was our first foundation of Easia.Thus, Easia was born with a slogan “Rencontre au bout de l’horizon” (Meeting people over the horizon).
The birthplace of Easia – once a trendy cafe, now a modern office
Our slogan may have since changed, but as we began our journey we established core values (Caring, Honesty, Creativity, Passion and Positivity) which we believed help us meet that philosophy and that we hold ourselves accountable for today. A B2B company, we committed to offering the best possible services by enabling the optimum environment for our teams to work & grow. And 20 years later, our pillars and core values still encapsulate our paternal ambitions as employers, and as a valuable link in the chain that provides spectacular experiences to our clients’ travelers.
5 Values & 5 Pillars to Build a Dream
With our first pillar of human development in mind, we’ve continuously re-injected money into our teams and tools to support them and their work more effectively. In 2019, we invested over USD 100,000 on training and development of staff, to help ensure the Easia spirit is strong because we believe skilled, happy, well-motivated teams are the best way to ensure success.
Co-Founders, Co-Owners and Co-Product Testers
Our second pillar has always been personalization. We pride ourselves on our customer service standards, and taking care of travelers on the ground, ensuring we’re always improving and evolving our performance. We’ve focused on working in our destinations in a responsible, sustainable way; walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
Thuy Hoa, Philippe and Philippe “talk the talk” in Myanmar, 2018
Another pillar for us is a positive influence, which extends to the people we work with on either side. In 2019 we injected almost USD 80,000 back into local homestay projects we partner with and use for our experiences. We currently have over 200 activities in our five destinations that meet our criteria for responsible travel that benefit both the traveler and the local community.
Philippe, Hoa and Huy “walk the walk” in Phan Thiet
The True Reward
Our reward has been the continual, ever-strengthening relationships we’ve built over two decades with our international clients and local suppliers, many of whom have become part of our extended family. Our trophies come in feedback, from the travelers on the ground to the agents overseas in our markets and our suppliers who’ve grown with over two decades. Our satisfaction isn’t through approval from voting systems or award panels but from staff, some of whom have worked 18 years alongside us, and 44 of which have been with us for over a decade. Our pride comes from being able to support the local communities who rely on tourism to improve the lives of their families.
Huy, Hoa & Philippe, breaking ground on exciting new project Avana, opening in 2021
The Next 20 Years
Covid has changed us, like every other business on the planet. But we believe we’ve made adjustments that don’t sacrifice our values or weaken our pillars. We have made efforts to reduce overheads and improve profitability. Again, we were thankfully already on this path, having invested in restructuring and a journey of self-improvement with consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers since 2018, but we have ensured the key, highly-skilled people (the core of our company) have remained strong, unchanged and as highly motivated as ever.
Philippe and a mix of team members from all destinations
Our 4th pillar, technology, focuses on personal client management for the modern age and beyond. Our attention will always be on our partners’ needs, and we believe we can continue improving our services online with tools and platforms to make their work easier, and more effective without sacrificing our human touch.
Huy, Philippe & Hoa (back row) with country directors Clemence, Thomas and Anong (front row), Dec 2019
Responsible as a Minimum Requirement
One thing that’s indisputable in our new world, is that each and every person now has increased accountability for their actions, especially socially and environmentally. As a DMC, we are beholden not only to the travelers entrusted to us by our clients, but to the destinations we are fortunate to operate within. From the staff we employ to the suppliers we use and every interaction we offer, we ensure we help, not harm.
Philippe & Hoa learning the secrets of somtam in Thailand 2019
Even before the wake-up call that Covid-19 brought, we were already aware of the changes that our industry needed to make. In the past year we accelerated our journey to going carbon neutral (and eventually carbon negative), and continue to work towards becoming fully Travelife Certified, having been Partners for several years already. Sustainability is another of our pillars, and perhaps the most important of all. We understand our obligation is to ensure travel exists for future generations, and we take that responsibility seriously.
Thanks to You
Of course, without the support and partnerships of our clients, and the hard work of our teams in our destinations, there would not be an Easia.
Philippe, Anong (Country Director, Laos) and Huy raise a glass
In the past weeks we’ve received some heartwarming & emotional birthday messages from our partners, and we don’t mind saying that those greetings and well-wishes are excellent motivation to continue improving. Under this paragraph you can find a link to some of the video messages we’ve received, and more can be found in text form after this letter.
As travel is on pause, it’s difficult to know when we’ll all meet again but we have our fingers crossed that we’ll meet many of you soon, perhaps at Top Resa in November – where we plan to be physically present at the TAT stand – or at WTM Virtual, also in November. If we can’t meet you “over the horizon”, we will connect with you all over a virtual horizon instead. And though it won’t be the same, it will be anticipated with an equal level of joy.
Until the next time, we wish all our partners and friends a deep thank you for working with us, and hope that we can resume our wonderful partnerships soon!
Hoa, Philippe & Huy
To learn more about Easia, please watch Easia Travel: Behind the Scenes from 2017.