Effective collaboration

Universal Holidays Travel & Tourism was established 13 years ago in Kuala Lumpur as a DMC which specialised mainly in inbound incentives from the Indian subcontinent and Middle East markets.

As time progressed, the company diversified its offerings to also include conference organising and corporate event planning services such as product launches and award ceremonies.

Zahira (front row, centre) and her team

Founder and CEO, Zahira Tahir, shared that in early 2020, the company had a head count of 30 staff. However, the closure of international borders, as well as restrictions imposed on domestic travel, resulted in heavy retrenchments then.

But after Malaysia reopened her borders last year, Zahira started rehiring, with priority given to those who had been retrenched. In 2022, Zahira also opened sales representation offices in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India.

This year will see more new hires in the main office in Kuala Lumpur, as Zahira is confident that corporate business events will pick up this year, in particular from the Middle East, India and Pakistan.

To keep her staff highly motivated, Zahira rewards them with monetary incentives and organises annual company trips.

This year, Universal Holidays is planning a 4D3N company trip to Bali in November which will also include her staff based overseas.

“This will be the perfect opportunity for the overseas team to meet their Malaysian colleagues for the first time and get to know each another better. All this while, the overseas team has been communicating with the Malaysian team electronically,” Zahira shared.

Zahira also inculcates a sense of belonging by practising an open-door policy, and allowing staff to make decisions and practices. There are also regular brainstorming sessions in and outside the office where fresh ideas can be introduced and dissected without judgement.

She said: “We have a conducive work environment where I encourage everyone to offer new perspectives and explore out-of-the-box concepts.”

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