Smailing rebrands leisure division to emphasise flexible itineraries

Bernard Akili (in white) at the launch of Smailing Xperiences

Smailing Tour has rebranded its leisure division into Smailing Xperiences and introduced greater flexibility for customers at a time when travellers can more easily plan and book their own trips.

Speaking at the launch of Smailing Xperiences in Jakarta on Monday, Bernard Akili, group chief marketing officer of Smailing Tour, said: “In this era of technology enhances and convenience, customers have the freedom to choose their own suitable products and services. Hence, Smailing Tour feels obliged to provide something different for our customers.

Bernard Akili (in white) at the launch of Smailing Xperiences

“Smailing Xperiences starts with listening to the customers and fulfil what they want and not (giving them) what travel agent wants.”

Giving an example, he said that most available products in the market were strictly scheduled trips, which at times only allow travellers to see things and take pictures, before hurriedly moving on to another attraction.

“Smailing Xperiences will not only take travellers to see the destination but understand more about the places. When visiting Australia, for example, travellers will not only be able to take pictures in front of the Opera House, but get to learn their behind-the-screen activities. (Other examples include) having (real interactions) with an Emirati in Dubai, or enjoying a bar and pub crawl in Osaka,” Bernard said, adding that this all can be done at reasonable prices.

Smailing Tour has also come up with product categories such as FamilyX, SportsX, CultureX, FoodieX, AdventureX and PhotographyX. Each category presents a menu of experiences for travellers to pick and include in their individual itinerary, akin to creating their own package.

For photography enthusiasts for example, they can pick Ping Shan Heritage Trail Polaroid Workshop when visiting Hong Kong. Foodies to Japan may visit a local home and learn how the host prepares a home-style lunch, or have lunch with orangutans at Bukit Lawang in Medan for domestic trips.

Jason Lim, CEO leisure outbound & DMC Smailing Tour, explained: “These are targeted for FITs, but we will also create special interest group tours, bringing with us experts in the fields (relevant to trip content), such as a professional photographer, chef or top Indonesian golfer.”

While Smailing Tour will continue to sell traditional group tours, which will fall under the category of ClassicX, Lim said there would still be a couple of experiences added to current tour packages.

On the background and readiness of the Indonesian market to take up this concept, Lim said growing FIT demand will be a natural evolution of the travel market.

“With millennials (becoming more travel-savvy), more people opt to book their own flights, pick their own time to have a holiday and the Indonesians are moving towards this direction too,” he said.

“What we are offering is (more) flexibility to do their holiday, including if they just want to (do just one programme) per day, or combine items from different trip categories to meet the needs of family members,” Lim continued, adding that each tour item has a price tag so travellers can arrange the ones that will be within budget too.

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