Driving events forward

TBR Global Chauffeuring's head of APAC Michael Chiay talks about how the emerging sharing economy will play a part in shaping the company's business, and outlines his plans on how to capture business from major events.

Could you give an overview of the ground transportation space?
On a higher level, the wider transportation services market consists of many sub-markets. TBR Global Chauffeuring operates within the ground passenger transportation sub-market, and specifically in providing ground passenger transportation services to the B2B space.

The ground passenger transportation services market itself is fragmented with a few large global / regional players, many small- and medium-sized local companies and sole-proprietorships (one man-one car operations).

Most local service providers operate in fleet-ownership business models. However recently, global players are increasingly adopting asset-light business models, underpinned by the rapid adoption of technological advancements.

How does the sharing economy affect your company’s business?
Sharing economy start-ups such as Grab and Uber have triggered mass awareness and exponential growth of the ground transportation industry, through a combination of hyper-innovation and guerrilla-style user-acquisition tactics. There are many great case studies and innovation that the B2B ground transportation industry can learn and adapt from these start-ups.

From this perspective, the sharing economy has been, and will continue to be a positive influencing force for TBR, spurring us on to continue to upgrade our technological offering to meet increasingly complex customer needs and demands.

Our primary focus is on providing specialist, high-end ground transportation solutions; alongside corporate travel, financial roadshows and complex events verticals. Our clients appreciate being able to plan their global ground transportation needs from one consolidated place, in one booking and be served by a globally joined-up team. Travel managers also know that their travellers’ needs are taken care of by best-in-class ground transportation service providers in any city they land in, supported by a global team that operates a 24/7/365 service.

According to a study by the World Travel Tourism Council, global business travel spending is projected to be worth US$1,765 billion by 2028, commanding an impressive 23 to 25 per cent of the worldwide travel expenditure. How does TBR plan to capture this market and what are some of the plans the company has for the region?
We are most certainly experiencing an exciting upwards growth trajectory in Asia-Pacific, attributed to a significant increase in business travel spend across the region. TBR is strongly invested in and committed to our investments in Asia-Pacific, since we opened our doors in the region in Hong Kong in 2011. Now, we have three wholly owned offices in Asia-Pacific (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore) and later this year, will open a new branch in Tokyo.

Looking to the future, a key focus for TBR is on raising our profile in the region to enable more organisations to experience and appreciate the value that we bring to our clients, to manage their ground transportation solutions, roadshows and complex event activities, in a timely and professional manner.

Aside from the Rugby World Cup and Olympics, what other large-scale events does TBR handle in Asia-Pacific?
Events contribute up to 20 per cent of our regional revenue but is increasingly become one of our fastest growing revenue streams. We will be happy to share more wins, as and when the opportunity arises.

How are you planning to capture business from major events such as conferences and associations meetings?
We have invested in creating specialist event teams in our Asia-Pacific offices. These team members are experienced event managers, not quite unlike what one would experience working with agencies and DMCs. These are event logistics experts, who have the expertise to provide top tier end-to-end event ground logistics planning, for complex and large meetings / events.

Previously, other car rental companies were trying to get leisure travel agents to sell their products, but the adoption was slow. Do you foresee the same problem in getting corporate agencies onboard?
TBR has a relatively long history of working with major TMCs globally and regionally. Some of our TMC partners prefer to work with us via formal partnership formats, while others work well within ad-hoc requests. The TMC sector is an important part of our business and we will continue to nurture this to our advantage.

What does TBR Global Chauffeuring plan to achieve in the next two years?
As supply and demand for ground transportation grows and technology evolves, the pace of change has been the fastest it has ever been and there is a need for companies to continually evolve, to keep up the pace. Innovation has been in our DNA since we launched in 1991 and remains a core ethos to this day. While our growth has always been consistent, we have created our growth plan (known internally as our ‘Road to 2021’) that outlines how every team can support our overarching vision, to achieve our strategic growth targets.

Reiterating this again, our key focus is specifically on raising our awareness within the APAC region, particularly across our hubs in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and later this year, Tokyo; a bustling and thriving marketplace that presents a significant opportunity for the world of ground transport.

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