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THE TRAVEL PLAN

Christovel, owner of tailored vacation services helps one find the perfect getaway.

Growing up, travel website owner, Christovel always dreamed of living overseas and having a better job, but due to various circumstances, he couldn’t realise that dream. Today he owns two travel companies, Smart Vacations and TripEvent which offer different services to its customers and he serves as CEO of both companies. He began his journey in the travel industry by continuing his studies in Travel Consulting which he hoped would help have a better knowledge about countries all around the world and actually visit them.

In 2005, he began his career as a trainee at a reputed travel agency in Indonesia. Christovel says he was interested in this industry because he could have unlimited knowledge, networks and serve people by giving them information and tips to help them in arranging their trips. His love for working in the travel industry made him quickly adapt and learn new things. He soon had the opportunity to be a travel consultant. This title is not just a profession, but a way of fulfilling what he has believed to be his life purpose — to help people.

“To create travel arrangements, coordinate all service aspects, work out logistics at the destination, dealing with different points of view and always striving to conclude it with high-level satisfaction.” he notes, adding that this is what keeps him going and which makes him find his own internal strength [in working as a travel consultant].

In the travel industry, Christovel says the main thing needed is to have a strong network because that’s what makes a person capable of producing a lot of unique ideas in arranging a travel programme. The development of the travel industry is really fast, especially in the Indonesian market. Right now, more people are interested in solo travel instead of group travel. Based on his research, Christoval says most travellers only care about buying a flight ticket on promotion but aren’t sure about the itinerary. This is when he steps in and helps out. “The truth is the travel experience can be felt not only when we depart and arrive at a destination, but one can look forward to a great travel experience from the time of preparing for the trip itself,” Christovel says about what makes him feel excited about travel.

The idea of Smart Vacations came about because Christovel wanted to educate Indonesians about travelling more independently without depending on a fixed package from a travel agent. There are three things that he wants to underline from the word “Smart” in SmartVacations — [choosing] a desired personal route and destinations, supplementary soul experiences & local wisdom and a chance to contribute and give back to local society.

At the moment, the website is still in development but Christovel wants his customers to be able to create their own itineraries and activities by buying SmartVacations’ products. Tailored vacations, in fact have been available for a while now, but just starting to become more popular these days. The constraints faced by modern travellers such as limited vacation days and the need to wait for special airline promotions are among the reasons why customising travel becomes important.

“Smart Vacations wants to inspire people to be able to arrange their own trips. Right now, we changed the look and structure of our website to be more local. [We are] focusing on helping Indonesian travellers by providing various travel services in every local or overseas destination” Christovel says about his up and coming tailored vacation company.

Christovel’s background also involves organising corporate travel including conferences and incentive trips and has founded TripEvent, which he dubs as a total solution for a company’looking to organise a trip. With over 12 years in the industry, Christovel really knows this industry well. The service that TripEvent provides is not limited to tours only. The company wants to realise every need of each company that uses its service. Every corporate trip has different purpose, Christovel notes and always handle each company differently. He notes that the level of the service is more complex.

On the personal side, Christovel wants to add more local destinations to his holiday list. He says more time will be needed to explore all around Indonesia because of the breadth of the country. He also lists Ireland and Norway as part of his overseas bucket list for the experience of seeing the auroro burealis. When travelling, Christovel likes to explore the culture and the food of a place. With a big smile in his face, he admits that he always gains weight after travelling. For Christovel, planning is everything. He is an organised person because he confesses that he couldn’t go travelling without making arrangements ahead of time because he believes travelling without planning will waste his time, money and energy.

Christovel says he always gains new experiences after a trip and encourages customers to explore new experiences. “I want to educate [people] that while travelling, we can learn from the way of living of the local people [of certain travel destinations]. That is one of the things that we can bring back home, and if it is good, we can apply it [in our country].” he says, but adds that he makes sure to always deliver his advise in a manner that doesn’t sound too patronising.

For people who want to use Smart Vacation’s product, he recommends Flores. Customers can do a lot of activities, such as diving, climbing, historical and culture tour or taste the cuisine of Flores. Even though the infrastructure isn’t as good as Bali, he says Flores is worth a try for people who want to explore something different. He also cites Sumba as one of the choices because he believes next year Sumba will be the most favourite island.

Christovel’s long term business plan for the next three years is for his company to become the trusted name in providing better services to individuals and corporations. He focuses more on consistency rather than being the biggest travel company because it’s about the experience. He believes that giving new experiences will bring a [good] impact for his customers. As a founder of two travel companies, Christovel is grateful because he has had many opportunities and has the trust of his customers, but he wants to improve the service to be better with paying attention to the tiniest of detail. Ultimately he wants people to experience the world in distinctive ways.

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