| Published in 2012 in TTG Asia | Travel |

Ocean Travel China’s attentive service is great, but it needs to work on its image


Presence Located in south-central Beijing, a historic neighborhood gradually associated with skyscraper malls, Ocean Travel is near both high-end business and residential areas. However, finding the fifth floor office in Beijing Business World was like playing a game of hide and seek in a warren of hallways. Its hidden location may seem unfavourable at first thought, but since the company focuses on upscale leisure travellers, this could also work to its advantage as Chinese consumers tend to appreciate exclusivity.

Appearance The office is a classic example of function over form. On the afternoon I arrived, the sight I was greeted with was eight staffers dressed in uncoordinated business attire who were hard at work. Their desks were in a state of disarray, a bookshelf held a disorganised mix of outdated and new magazines as well as plaques waiting to be hung up, and an open box lay open next to the reception counter waiting to be unpacked.

The only design element was a traditional Ming-style wooden bookshelf and two cushioned chairs, but these were located in the main walkway and were uncomfortable to sit on.

Ease The service was incredible, despite some moments of flurry. The receptionist was nervous when I walked in but understood enough to call in a more senior employee who attended to my queries and got to work, quickly finding the information I needed.

Another employee graciously offered a cup of tea, invited me to sit while waiting and checked if I experienced any difficulty in locating the office. It felt familiar and cosy, rather than corporate and streamlined. There were no bells and whistles, but staff were efficient.

Suggestions Put up more prominent signage on the building facade and near the office’s entrance. Consider playing light and unobtrusive music in the background to create a soothing atmosphere. Encourage a simple dress code that will indicate professionalism like a colored combination or accessories such as a scarf or pin. Also, if customers call up asking for directions, staff should be more specific in identifying the appropriate building entrance and street name. This would certainly help bring in more prospective clients.

This article was first published in TTG Asia, March 9 issue, on page 6. To read more, please view our digital edition or click here to subscribe.

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