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EON Travel and Tours invested in its people and empowered them. This allowed the company to institute leadership at all levels within the organization. It transformed its people into travel concierge - caring, attentive to details, and proactive. These allowed the company to do its share in SDG 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 10 (Reduced Inequality).
The organization is a tiny company with two employees, including the manager. It needed to find value in having a mission and vision. It was a business that followed a financial bottom line (FBL) where it intended to get maximum return on its investment. However, in 2014, the company changed management. This initiated the company to perform a perception map to see where it was and wanted to be. This also allowed the organization to identify the necessary strategies for meeting these goals.
Vision2020 was the product of this management exercise, and the innovation accompanying it was to transform its employees into travel concierges. The initial idea of the travel concierge in the organization was to develop and adopt a culture of caring, attention to detail, and being proactive. With these three hallmarks, each member is now expected to be accountable for their actions to the manager, the customers, the stakeholders, and the organization as a whole.
Adapting to a new culture and mindset, the organization shifted from an all-female firm to a mixed ratio of employees. Each member was hired for their potential contribution to the achieve Vision2020. It allowed the organization to address SDG 5, Gender Equality, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities. The company's effort to invest in its people allowed it to address SDG 4 Quality Education. The organization's goal to be on top of its game also allowed it to address SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Leadership at all levels of the organization empowers people to do their best.
The new management has played an active role with Junior Chamber International (JCI). The opportunity mindset of JCI has played a major role in transforming the business to what it is today. In fact, many of the practices of JCI that involved mindsetting of objectives were adapted with minor changes to adapt to the organizational needs. This has kickstarted the change and transformation of the organization.
Shanie shares “Boy, kung kami gani sa JCI, gna verbalize ang mission and vision para hapos ma internalize ang mga values nga gina espouse. Te dapat kami man diri e, para ma verbalize ang mga dapat iverbalize” (Boy, if we at JCI, are made to verbalize the mission and vision so it would be easier to internalize the values that the organization espouses, we at the organization, must to do the same, to verbalize what ought to be verbalized).
Shanie further shares that because their mantra allows them to be constantly reminded of what they stand for and how how they view themselves, she thought that it really helped the organization for a smoother transition. Shanie further shared “Boy, tuluka bala kami sang una, 1-man team lang gd kami ya pagsulod ko, subong ya we are 35 strong travel concierge. Kag dako gid nga bulig ang mga leadership skills nga natun-an ko both sa professional career ko as a CPA kag bilang miembro sng JCI” (Boy, I used to be a one-man team when I joined the organization. Today, we are a strong 35-strong travel concierge. And the leadership skills I learned from both my professional career as a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the JCI helped a lot)
Shanie shares, “Our awards speak for themselves.” EON Travel and Tours swept the awards one after another from their parent company. It validates their operations and strategies aligned with their parent company. The most significant among the many awards they received this year was we are the top revenue contributor for 2022 from being the least revenue generator since 1998.
Shanie also shares, “Having awards is a validation that we are doing the right things, but it is not to say that we should rest on our achievements. Remember, we are only as good as our last delivery. We should continue to innovate in product, leadership, and other facets of the business. Our role is to be able to continue to add value to the business. When we stop innovating or having an innovation mindset, it will affect the business negatively because competition will not stop when you decide to stop. When you stop, others will continue moving forward, leaving you behind.”
For EON Travel and Tours, they consider awards as a short-term validation of their impact within the more prominent organization. Travel Concierge as an ideal is a long-term effect of the organization’s leadership innovation. More importantly, they put in place a dynamic opportunity mindset that allowed the organization to be agile in executing strategies towards their goal, as evidenced by Vision2025 succeeding Vision2020.
Today, EON Travel and Tours stand proud on the shoulders of its peers within the parent organization. The leadership innovation they implemented was multi-pronged, affecting several facets of the business. This has led to the organization being recognized as the top contributor for 2022. It has opened opportunities for the company to grow and expand its operations from a single branch to three offices in different locations - Iloilo, Metro Manila, and Metro Cebu. Our number of people increased from 1 to 35. At the same time, we partnered with various tour operators around the world, becoming one of the region's top tour operators.
Shanie shares “Boy, pero bal-an mo, ang isa sa mga secret ko other than strategies and innovation, gadepende gid na sa pag execute mo bisan ano pa na. Kung may vision ka, mas ma execute mo gid imo strategies based sa imo vision. Kag makita sang mga tinawo mo nga willing ka magprovide sang resources to achieve that goals. You are providing them with an environment where they can perform their best. Kay nano to ya kuno, gusto ko may sales ko nga 5 million a month, pero hindi mo man sila pagiempower. Di bala daw ka tinunto?” (Boy, one of the secrets other than strategies and innovation is the execution. If you have a vision, you can execute your plan to align with the idea. Your people will be able to see that you are willing to provide the necessary resources to achieve those goals. You are providing them with an environment where they can perform their best. How can you expect sales of 5 million pesos monthly if you do not empower your people? It’s crazy, right?)
In 2019, through its NGO partners, such as JCI Regatta, the company has formalized its support of an Aeta community (indigenous people (IP)) in Kati-kati Guimaras through adoption. Its innovation has allowed it to support this community through "Kits2Share" and "Book2Book" campaigns.
The "kits2share" campaign is our social responsibility campaign. We are grateful to be able to travel and see the world. However, we also take into heart to share the many blessings that we have and to be able to share this with the communities who need them most. We noticed that many of our guests constantly post closet clean-up moments, and we see they throw these hotel kits away. Shanie shares “gin pangtawgan namon ang mga nakita namon gapost nga ga closet clean up kung pwede kami na lang macollect sa inughaboy nila”. (We called up our guests who shared in their closet clean-up posts that we are willing to collect the things they are to throw away). What we saw were many hotel kits. This pushed us to do the “kits2share” campaign. Many sitios (places) within the Iloilo province can benefit from the hygiene kits, such as the IP group in Guimaras. When we pushed for this campaign, we always thought that while we are travelers, we can also be responsible travelers.
The “Book2Book” campaign is our literacy campaign. We believe that when children can read and comprehend, they can imagine and dream for themselves. As a mother, it is heartwarming to see these children's eagerness to learn when we visit their community. Our “Book2Book” made us commit to this advocacy that for every booking, we will match this with a book donation under the guest’s name. Shanie shares, “boy, nadumduman mo ang kay Catriona Gray nga answer sa iya Q&A? Makarelate gid kami” (Boy, do you remember Catriona Gray’s answer to her Q&A? It resonates with us). Children need someone to support and believe in them through their primary education. Our community is responsible for supporting a child’s education so they have a better chance to help their family out of poverty and reduce inequality.
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Shanie M. Tiu, President and CEO