In this episode, Michael Waitze speaks to Tee Chayakul, Country Manager, Thailand at Traveloka, an all-in-one platform to find flights, accommodation and more for your travel need, and a name most of us are familiar with.
Tee shares the beginnings of his journey at Traveloka, all the way from when he was part of McKinsey. Tee connected with the founder of Traveloka through a friend, but due to their busy schedules, they happened to end up meeting at the airport. This was when Tee realised that the Founder of Traveloka was from his same batch at Harvard Business School and had then dropped out for “unknown” reasons.
With a substantial number of competitors, Traveloka stands out through its availability and outreach. A common problem was the lack of domestic and minor flights, catering mainly to international travellers. As for domestic travellers, there was still no convenient way to check and compare available prices from across different airlines. This is where Traveloka shines, catering to both international and domestic travellers. By being one of the early players in the sector, they were able to capitalise on the huge untapped consumer base.
Tee also shares about the culture of working at Traveloka, being much more introverted than other companies. Tee sees this however, as a supplement to their close relationships and collaborative spirits. With almost everyone previously having known or worked with each other, they were able to come together even better for continued growth.
Tee makes a comparison between conglomerates within Southeast Asian countries, citing similarities between Japan and Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia. Like Japan, Thailand has booming conglomerates in almost every sector, leaving little space for entrepreneurs to sprout and grow. However, with regards to South Korea, even with Samsung as a conglomerate, there is plenty of room for start-ups and to develop and prosper. Tee believes for things to take a turn for the better in Thailand, it would have to start from the conglomerates.
This episode’s audio was expertly edited and this episode’s summary was written by Yong Yun Jing.