The Dubai-based firm, which provides enterprise solutions for tour operators and DMCs worldwide, has appointed DMC expert Jessica Wong as General Manager Asia, based in Penang, Malaysia and experienced travel sales and marketing professional Dalvin Sidhu as sales manager, based in Singapore as well as a Sales Manager in Jakarta.
Both Wong and Sidhu will be responsible for establishing Illusions’ first ever permanent operations in Asia, which will include setting up one head office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as well as satellite sales teams in Thailand, Indonesia and China.
The Thailand team will be responsible for the Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar markets; the Malaysia, Jakarta & Singapore team will look after Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines;
Illusions’ aggressive expansion in Asia comes hot off the heels of the company making history by signing a trio of landmark deals with three of the region’s leading Destination Management Companies (DMCs) – Go Vacation Thailand, Go Vacation Indonesia and Go Vacation Sri Lanka.
The partnership will see Illusions automate and integrate every aspect of their businesses into one centralized online system. In addition, XML capability will allow Go Vacation’s client systems to connect to the Illusions system for product pricing, availability and making bookings.
“We are already making waves in Asia having done several road trips and meeting customers to discuss their technology requirements face-to-face,”
“We are now in discussion with several more tour operators and DMCs across the region and we are confident of having a very strong portfolio of clients in Asia moving forward. What we have seen is that other technology companies cannot offer the level of automation that the travel companies really require nor are they able to innovate and adapt with the changes in the market trends. We like to see ourselves as not just another software company but a key strategic technology partner for our clients – so they can focus on what they are good at, which is running their travel business while we take care of all their technology needs”
Helping to make Memon’s vision realized in this short time frame are Wong and Sidhu whose combined experience make for a powerful proposition when dealing in the competitive Asian marketplace.
Malaysian-born Wong has a strong DMC background of 17 years, having worked her way up through the ranks, starting out as receptionist for a DMC in Ipoh to her most recent position as general manager, sales and marketing for Malaysia’s Tour & Incentive (T&I).
She has also worked for Malaysia-based travel firms such as Leisure Holidays, Tour East, Pacific World Malaysia and Hotelbeds. Her strengths are in management, sales and marketing and dealing with large international tour operators.
Wong is currently in the process of appointing sales managers in Thailand and Malaysia and down the line, will appoint a permanent help desk and training executive to be based at Illusions’ Asia headquarters.
She said that based on her vast knowledge of DMC operations in Asia, most of which still relied on manual operations as opposed to sophisticated online automated systems, Illusions had a bright future in the region.
“There are very few reputable technology companies offering DMCs and tour operators the support they require and Illusions really does stand out from the crowd in this respect,” Wong explained.
“The Illusions system is more than 95 percent automated whereas its competitors are around 65 percent automated at best; Illusions provides the most fluid system by far and is a refreshing alternative to what’s on the market at present.
“It is therefore our mission to become the number one player in Asia in a short time frame and we are already on track to achieve this status in a market where there are literally thousands of DMCs and tour operators that need our help to take them into the 21st century.”
Wong added that Illusions was on track to sign new deals in Asia by the end of the year. Her strategy for growth, she said, was to raise awareness through one-to-one meetings with key decision makers and attendance at important trade shows such as World Travel Market and ITB Berlin. Illusions had a “very big” presence planned at the latter, she revealed.
Aiding Wong is Singapore-born Sidhu, a multi-lingual professional who boasts a “strong booking engine background” and “vast travel industry experience” in Asia, including work placements in China.
He has worked for a diverse range of travel-related companies in the region including Avis Singapore where as sales and inbound manager he was responsible for partnerships, pricing, customer service, value proposition implementation, reservations and channel management training plus B2B acquisitions and most recently at Bangkok-based online travel trade publishing specialist, Travel Daily Media, where as commercial director he was responsible for website management including product content Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), as well as partnerships and distribution in Asia Pacific.
Sidhu said DMCs and tour operators in Asia were still “very manual” and in desperate need of online automated solutions that made life easier for their businesses.
“My job is to show them that investing in technology will help them grow and expand their company and that rather than being a supplier to them, Illusions is a partner that can help them to develop their business.”
Sidhu said he was attracted to the role with Illusions because it was a company that didn’t just sell one product, but “adapted and evolved”, creating solutions that were customized to the needs of both the market and individual clients.
“I am very happy with the progress we have made this year in Asia in terms of creating a brand-awareness of our company and our platform. Jessica and Dalvin are the right team to take this forward to the marketplace and we will be growing the team significantly to cover the key countries within Asia over the next few months”, Memon concluded.
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Illusions is a travel technology company providing unique customized solutions for Tour Operators and DMCs. Responds rapidly to market requirements and uses latest technology to provide with a simple and cost-effective way to book travel.