Nicholas Lim Named Executive of the Year for Travel Services at SBR Management Excellence Awards 2019
The Travel Corporation’s Managing Director for Asia Nicholas Lim (above right) has demonstrated exemplary management practices for sales, training and corporate social responsibility.
Nicholas Lim, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation, Asia is not the type to walk away without challenging the status quo, enabling the international travel organization to achieve double-digit growth in annual bookings for its luxury brands in Asia.
2020 marks 100 years of travel excellence by The Travel Corporation (TTC) where the company started with just one small hotel in South Africa in 1920. “Driven by Service” is the singular guiding light for TTC’s 42 brands, which offers customers the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic, diverse range of high-quality holiday styles, be they independent or guided, luxury travel and hotels, safaris or river cruises. Some of TTC’s well-known brands include Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and The Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
When Nicholas Lim stepped into the role of managing director of The Travel Corporation in June 2018 to oversee Asia and Middle East operations, marketing and sales, he decided to focus on refining the company’s distribution structure for Asia.
Lim’s first initiative as Managing Director was to launch an internal review to identify business partners that were more committed to delivering sales growth. Then he allotted a larger investment in conducting training for these selected partners, reinforcing the joint business vision that would allow both The Travel Corporation and each partner to win together.
“As a result, we are now seeing greater commitment with our distributors and this has led to growth out of these markets where we traditionally struggled,” said Lim, citing an overall 12% increase comparing 2019 to 2020 advance bookings across The Travel Corporation brands.
“Investment in our people and training is of utmost importance here at The Travel Corporation,” added Lim.
The company has organized several training incentives and seminars to incentivize staff to reach their individual goals. One particularly successful local training initiative was giving Singapore-based employees an entitlement to a $500 SkillsFuture matching grant, wherein staff can sign up for approved courses that cost above $500 and that expense can be reimbursed when they complete the training.
Lim’s success in bolstering bookings and upskilling staff came in spite of a challenging operating environment in the past year, marked by trade wars and an overall negative outlook that had a dampening effect on demand. “A more acute and industry specific challenge would be the general public’s understanding of premium and luxury travel products,” he said.
Undeterred, the managing director recognized that the key to growth lies in reaching the mass affluent and premium segments across the Asia operations. He engaged consultants from the banking industry to further improve its service delivery and align with shifting customer expectations amidst the more volatile business environment. “The training is paying off where we are seeing better conversions across our guided holiday brands like Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Contiki, Costsaver, AAT Kings, Inspiring Journeys and our Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, which has received two top awards as the number one river cruise brand here in Asia this year,” he said.
Rounding out his staff performance-based approach to boosting performance and morale, Lim has been a strong advocate for increased employee participation in corporate social responsibility efforts. This support has helped increase CSR contribution hours by 20% in 2019 compared to 2018, and invigorated staff commitment and enthusiasm.
The strong performance in 2019 has not only garnered Lim the Executive of the Year - Travel Services distinction at this year’s SBR Management Excellence Awards, but also earned The Travel Corporation other industry honours. The company received three Travel Trade Awards for 2019, including Best Tour Operator award from TTG Asia for the second consecutive year.
The Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards was held on 21 November 2019 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore. Some of the previous winners include OCBC Bank, BreadTalk Group, AIA and Great Eastern Life Assurance.
The 2019 nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Henry Tan, Managing Director at NEXIA TS; David Chew, Executive Director, Risk Advisory at Deloitte Southeast Asia; Lim Wei Wei, Partner and Practice Leader, Governance and Risk at Baker Tilly TFW; Pardeep Singh Khosa, Director of Dispute Resolution at Drew & Napier; and Yang Eu Jin, Partner and Co Head of Capital Markets Practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.
If you would like to join the 2020 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding management executives of Singapore, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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