What have we invested in so far this year, and what’s to come? Peter Christiansen writes an open letter, detailing some of our biggest investments this year and how we’ll continue to ease business for our partners and their travellers.
Peter has been with us since 2014 when he joined as a Project Manager. A couple of months ago, he was promoted to Director of Global Operations.
Stepping into a new role and exiting the pandemic, it’s great to once again be able to have discussions about new business opportunities, long term partnership strategies and welcoming the first familiarisation trips into our destinations. To strengthen partnerships, product developments continue to be the center of our attention, but at Discova we see a need to re-direct our development to have a bigger direct impact on the local population. Therefore, we have shifted our focus on Discova-developed experiences in close collaboration with local communities in our destinations.
To ensure Discova continues to model the way in the industry, we have made several important investment decisions over the past six months. These decisions have been natural moves toward becoming a leader in the Global DMC space and evolving with our customers, our workforce (spread across 15 countries) and to make sure we can have a bigger, long-term impact on the local communities we work with.
We have two key areas of investment:
Since launching the Discova brand in 2019, we have been working on integrating our Operations in the Americas – Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Cuba – with our Operations in Asia. To fully complete the integration, a small team from Asia has been deployed in Mexico for a longer period. Their core focus has been to prepare our Americas business to operate Discova own-operated multi-day trips across all four countries. The team has been here for up to three months to support new product developments and launches, team training and people development, structure changes and to help execute our plan of growth.
It’s amazing to help our people to realise their career goals and watch the team merge together. Travel is what we do, and we truly want to live up to our commitment to create opportunities for our people and for them to grow their careers. Part of that means that they get to explore what our partners’ travellers experience daily across the globe.
Over the past four months I have seen a big shift in the alignment, communication, and development between our two main regions, and we have built a model that is mature and adaptable. It means we can smoothly expand into new countries (and continents) and will do so soon.
Our guides, drivers and in-destination experience hosts have been undergoing training, with the latest training taking place in Cancun, Mexico. It has been amazing to see many of our guides returning to Discova with more energy than ever to show travellers our destinations, but also to spend time with them in the classroom. We hosted face-to-face training with our guides and drivers in over 11 destinations, kept up to date and continued First Aid and ChildSafe training, and pre-departure tour briefing SOPs.
Equipment and Assets
We have always strived to deliver great customer service and experiences. In order to maintain that quality delivery, we have continued to make several important investments in assets.
A new fleet of 13 new vehicles joined our fleet in Bali last month. This expansion and renewal is the first step to a bigger plan to improve the quality of our transportation and stay on track to reduce our carbon footprint in the destinations we operate in. I am positive we will see the first electric Discova car on the road soon. Besides Bali, we are looking to renew and expand our fleet in four other destinations – stay tuned!
Additionally, four destinations have been selected to launch cycling day tours: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap and Hoi An. A big piece of the launch involves having well maintained and safe equipment, including bicycles, e-bikes and helmets.
How we then extend this to delight our customers, is by ensuring that this equipment is comfortable, that our guests can spend the required time on the bicycle and leave feeling energised and with a sense of achievement. We then ensure that the equipment is presented to our guests in sparkling condition, in the same way that a hotel room would be presented to a guest in a welcoming way.
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