01. JUSTIFICATION FOR COMPANY SELECTION

Connaissance De Ceylan, a truly Sri Lankan concept of leisure with a touch of personalization. Its envision is becoming the world leader in destination management, and mission lies in catering to the leisure needs of a diverse clientele.

Its journey began over 30 years when it joined the industry bringing in fresh ideas and the unmistakable authenticity of our brand to the market. It speaks to the hearts of true travellers; travellers who would like experience a bit more. Today, Connaissance de Ceylan leads the business with a multitude of entities under its wing including Theme Resorts & Spas Pvt Ltd, CDC Events & Travels Pvt Ltd, srilankagodirect.com and CDC Facility Management Pvt. Ltd. Led by a dynamic and committed team of high-profile professionals.

The tourism industry must leverage digitalisation to remain competitive in the global market. This is especially crucial as marketing platforms; customer personalisation and integrated technology play a main role in an increasingly connected future. The importance of looking into digital marketing strategies, online reputation, as well as the use of social media and mobile phones throughout the customer journey. One huge advantage of digitalisation, is gathering data and analytics which will enable companies to personalise services and experiences, which can in turn attract consumers.

The tourist and travel industry panorama has become complicated over time. Traditionally, this industry at a basic level could be divided into airlines, hotels, tour operators, and transportation (with all additional or shared services). Nowadays it encompasses a larger number of newly arisen players, largely thanks to the evolution in digitalization. As in so many other sectors, relevance no longer necessitates a physical presence.

For example, have become extremely important touch points for consumers when making reservations and this is reflected in their economic performance. New players understand the needs of the consumer and sometimes they recognise these needs before the consumer is themselves aware of them these new players have built platforms that provide access to information, ease of comparison and usability, occasionally benefitting from the advantages offered by the collaborative economy. This has resulted in a superior consumer experience to that offered by many more traditional organisations within the sector.

02. KEY DRIVERS INFLUENCING ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY

  1. Hotel Accommodation
  2. Tour Operator
  3. Range and diversity of hotel stock
  4. Global destination and source market coverage
  5. Unique, inclusive holidays
  6. Tailor-made holidays
  7. Market-leading brands
  8. Trusted brands safety & security
  9. High levels of control

Brand & Distribution:

• The benefits from a direct distribution strategy are two-fold: it enables to form a direct relationship with the customer, and thereby understand more about what they are looking for, and also drives down its distribution costs.

• Customers increasingly expect a standardized service and offering across different devices and therefore it needs to ensure it is ahead of the curve with its digital developments.

• In a densely populated industry, the robustness of Connaissance’s brand names and the financial security and quality they promise are very important.

• Recognisable brands are particularly important in an online world, helping to direct organic traffic and improving conversion.

Technology:

• The complexity of Connaissance’s product (multiple components) and distribution pattern (e.g. a six-month lag between purchase and consumption) requires it to have robust and inter-linking systems to ensure a seamless customer service and reliable management information.

• Innovation in technology means it can develop new ways to inspire its customers and make their booking process as user-friendly as possible.

• Enables it to offer its customers the best possible value by having an efficient technology infrastructure and therefore driving maximum savings and efficiencies.

Growth & Scale:

• It is the largest integrated leisure travel company in the country in terms of both scope of operation, geography and customers. It is market leaders in most of the markets in which it operates and it constantly strive to maintain its leading positions.

• Enables it to drive economies of scale, further synergies and cost efficiencies and therefore provides added value to customers.

People:

• As a customer-facing, service-driven company its people are a key element of its success. From reps in resort, cabin crew, agents, to colleagues in head office the knowledge and customer focus of its employees is what helps it maintains its market-leading positions.

• Satisfaction and loyalty of its customers are important ingredients to help it’s grow. A key driver for this is their holiday experience and the service they receive from the time they book to the interaction in resort.

• Given the nature of what it does, it needs to attract and retain colleagues with specific skills across the tour operator discipline.

03. CRITICAL BEHAVIOURS IN TERMS OF GROUP DYNAMICS, CONFLICT MANAGEMENT,ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION

For the success of group dynamics the Connaissance De Ceylan (Pvt) Ltd follows many of the positive methods. One of the most important lessons that have been established in all areas of development is the considerable influence of partnerships on the success of any initiative. Public/private partnerships between government, public organisations, community organisations, industry and commerce are seen as the cornerstone of success in many destination initiatives. Partnerships can bring together many different sets of ideas, points of view, and contributions of various kinds whether they are financial, social or political in nature in helping to achieve a successful heritage area strategy

In a destination management company like Connaissance, needs very much of group dynamics to succeed on its each and every tour operations. There is no greater weapon in a company’s arsenal than a great team. When firing on all cylinders, effective teams have the ability to increase efficiency by taking on more complex tasks, improve communication by facilitating open discussion and cooperation among team members, maximize output by leveraging each team member’s strengths, provide opportunities for personal growth, and act as a support mechanism for staff. Unsurprisingly, teamwork at the workplace has also shown to increase innovation and creativity by allowing team members to bring unique and distinct perspectives to the table. When leveraged, effective teamwork drives company growth and boosts performance and success by tapping into each individual’s unique strengths and attributes.

As well as for the success of the conflict management areas the Connaissance De Ceylan (Pvt) Ltd follows many right ways. Accept conflict as a natural growth process and influence the company culture to view constructive conflict positively. Conflict can be an asset to the business if it is handled properly. It can help the company to learn from its mistakes and identify areas of needed improvement. Innovation can be inspired from creative solutions to internal or external conflicts, and new ways of thinking can emerge.

Creating a formal grievance procedure for all employees. Let employees at all levels of the company know that their voices will always be heard, and respond promptly and reasonably to employees’ issues. This can prevent bad feelings from festering and growing into resentment and bitterness. Conflict is best handled quickly and openly. If the company culture is sufficiently friendly toward constructive conflict, staff should see the value of letting their complaints, ideas and issues be heard.

Involve all parties, if possible, when drafting conflict resolutions. The theory of Management by Objectives (MBO) states that employees are generally more committed to goals that they have helped to create. The same holds true for conflict resolutions. There is more than one side to every conflict, and all sides should benefit from conflict resolution. Seeking resolutions that will prevent the conflict from occurring again, rather than simply delaying a repeat occurrence.

Communication is the most important and the most used of all skills in the hospitality and tourism industry. Managers spend the largest portion of their time in verbal or written communications with their employees or outside parties. Other staff member communicates among themselves, as well as their managers, frontline employees suppliers, and so on, to give and receive the information they need to perform their jobs.

Communication has been recognized as the means by which both and people and the organization survive. When human beings lack the ability to cope with life, the source of the problem is often a lack of appropriate information. Incomplete and unorganized information place a heavy strain on the ability of people to make sense out of their existence. Their performance of a job depends on having necessary information, having the skills to do a job depends on the quality of communication during the skills acquisition period.

Motivating employees is vital to any business. A motivated workforce means a highly productive staff, all of which will help a company to achieve its goals. Firstly, the structures of financial rewards for employee motivation in travel agency like Connaissance De Ceylan pay high importance.

Salary bonuses take the top place in travel agency like Connaissance. This way of financial reward appears to be the strongest one. That means that employees are really interested in money and they are motivated by this factor. The compensation package takes also the first place in Connaissance, because everyone wants to know that he is protected from unexpected situations in the future.

Additional payment for a well-done job was mentioned by 60 % of Connaissance’s, while it takes only the fifth place in Sri-Lankan agencies. Staff discount and on-time bonus share the same position of 71 % in Sri-Lankan travel agencies.

Business entertainment seems to be an effective way of employee motivation, which is used by 36 % of employees in Connaissance. For instance, they organize occasional excursions, field trips and social gatherings for the employees. Connaissance could adopt this way to improve the esprit de corps and it might make employees feel like a part of the organization. Introducing culturally appropriate activities and incentives in the organizations might become effective ways to motivate Connaissance employees.

04. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE & CULTURE

Establishing the right organisational and management structure is often a key to success. While each situation will require a distinct organisational structure, the importance of stakeholder involvement cannot be overemphasized. Generally speaking, every destination needs a structure for the management of tourism and its many related issues.

Establishing leadership to guide, monitor and adjust the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of tourism is critical to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry and the environment. An organisational structure for leadership should therefore be created, such that continuous and long-term management of tourism is undertaken, and the input and participation of a wide diversity of the community’s stakeholders is made possible.

As a leader, there is not only one style that describes Chandra Wickramasinghe who is the founder of Connaissance. Connaissance possessed three or four different types of leadership styles. He was direct in his approach, and through his style and various accomplishments, can be seen as a command and controlling, visionary, charismatic, as well as transformational leader. As a command and control type of leader, Chamin Wickramasinghe adapted to his role taking over the general store. As a young leader, he needed to protect his business and grow his skill set. He came from managing his brother’s hotel chain and had to be more of a taskmaster. Over the years, he learned to adapt his leadership style and integrate his skill set from politics and the hotel chain. As a visionary leader, attributes include possessing the spirit of great leadership in order to take visions and to influence others to do more than they would ever have done on their own. As for Connaissance, he did it. Chandra Wickramasinghe can also be described as an innovative leader. When growing his business, he thought outside of the box to create value. He was a tour guide and had to be creative in how he built loyalty to the Connaissance in French Market. Characteristics of an innovative leader include grasping the entire situation, going beyond the usual course of action, and seeing what is not working and brings new thinking and action into play. Innovative leaders create a work environment to solve problems while developing new products and services.

Lastly, Chandra Wickramasinghe can be viewed as a transformational leader. He used his charisma to motivate employees, so that staff can provide a quality service to guests. He had been known to lead a group of people under his inspiration, passion, and vision. He was detailed oriented and had a strong business sense. He worked with employees to implement a more transformational leadership style that showed he cared for the employees. In order to guide individuals to perform better on their job, Chandra paid attention on his employees’ concerns and mentored them. Throughout Chandra’s leading, he enhanced the communication between subordinates and him, so that employees can better express their opinions. Even though controversies existed, Chandra would tolerate differences when he thought employees’ views were constructive. Chandra also had a vision for transforming the entire hotel and travel industry. He saw an opening in the market for a new type of Hotel Company. Chandra Wickramasinghe’s brother, Chamin Wickramasinghe, once said, “My brother is a visionary and imagined a worldwide travel industry before one actually existed”. This demonstrates how Connaissance could see what the industries future direction would be and come up with a plan to get there first. Overall, Chandra is a transformation leader who wants to turn what is a solely local or domestic hotel and travel industry to a national based model.

05. THEORIES

14 Principals of Henry Fayol

  1. Centralisation
  2. Division of work
  3. Scalar chain
  4. Authority & responsibility
  5. Order
  6. Discipline
  7. Equity
  8. Unity of command
  9. Stability of tenure
  10. Unity of direction
  11. Initiative
  12. Interest
  13. Esprit de corp
  14. Remuneration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More than that, according to Henri Fayol, there are five functions of management.
  15. Planning
  16. Commanding
  17. Organising
  18. Controlling
  19. Coordinating

If we take the chain of hotels of Connaissance one of the largest management companies in the industry with over 6 managed properties locally of which over 3 in the Sri lanka’s with total Sri lanka’s team members exceeding 890 here is a division of work, which consist of differentiation between leaders and managers which are under the leading of their headers in every chain of hotels. Their general managers 8 who are in daily communication with operations area vice presidents 8 are required to attend orientation, which consists of a rigid introduction to all aspects of knowledge and leadership skill training. General Manager Appointments are carefully selected and recommended to ownership based upon skill, talent and experience levels that a particular property may require. They have hybrid Hub and Spoke’ approach, which combines experienced corporate level leadership and an acclaimed regional presence in the field with a firm focus on providing the very best staffing, training and oversight. Moreover, there is a graduate Management development program which is a comprehensive, 6-18 month fast track program designed to prepare graduates for a rewarding hospitality career.

The program started in 2010 with a small and highly motivated group of 15 enthusiastic peoples since then, every year a new group of new Connaissance local future top managers have taken up the challenge 8 with great success. This program gives graduates hands on hotel experience. Participants rotate through all areas of the hotel, i.e. operations, business development, human resources and finance, giving graduates a feel for the entire operation. There are some opportunities in work after such as front office; food & beverage, sales or events. There are some similarities which I noticed between my taken theory and Connaissance’s management. For instance, there is a division of work inside of their organization and also coordinating and training their employees within the special programs.

Transformational leadership in which the leader  identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and  the change with the commitment of the members of the group. His main markers of this style are inspiring followers to transcend their own self interests for the good of the organization by clarifying role and task requirements. Capability of leaders to have a profound and affect on their followers. For more understanding, transformation leadership based on four components.

  1. Intellectual
  2. Inspirational
  3. Individualised
  4. Idealised

Idealized Influence: also known as charismatic leadership & transformational leaders act in ways that make them role models. These leaders are willing to take risk. They can consistently be relied upon to do the right thing, displaying high moral and ethical standards.

 Inspirational Motivation: these leaders embody the team spirit; they show enthusiasm and optimism, providing both meaning and challenge to the work at hand. They create an atmosphere of commitment to goals and a shared vision.

 Intellectual Stimulation: transformational leader encourages creativity and fosters an atmosphere in which followers feel compelled to think about old problems in a new way public criticism is avoided.

 Individualized Consideration: transformational leaders act as mentors and coaches. Individual desires and needs are respected. Differences are accepted and two way communications is common. These leaders are considered to be good listeners, and along with this come personalized interaction.

As a transformational leader Mr.Chandra Wickramasinghe has all the above qualities as well as the communication styles inside the organisation.

06. CONCLUSION

The travel and tourism industry has been at the forefront of digital innovation and is seen as a leader in e-commerce, but industry and technology trends suggest that further change lies ahead. The sector has been an early adopter of digital technologies and platforms and cloud-based solutions have increasingly replaced existing legacy systems and processes, no longer seen as fit for purpose in the new digital world. Cloud computing provides travel companies with an easily scalable infrastructure that is available on-demand and on a pay-per-use basis. It saves travel businesses from investing in on-premise infrastructure, and from managing it.

Steep demand for travel, driven by growing purchasing power in emerging markets and the increasing importance of digital experiences, indicates that further digitalisation will be vital if the expectations of tomorrow’s consumers are to be met. Travel and transport companies must continually innovate and enhance the traveller and customer experience to drive revenue, maximise the availability of assets and infrastructure, and improve operational efficiency.

The evolution of the industry’s digital transformation over the next decade is predicted to centre around four key themes: a living travel experience, an enabled partner ecosystem, digital enterprise, and safety and security.

Travel organisations are facing the challenges of a digital future where customers expect seamless integration between companies and their supply chain. Different organisations collaborate within and outside the industry by partnering with adjacent service providers, creating an ecosystem of value. The ecosystem roles are becoming blurred as stakeholders throughout the customer journey vie to own the customer relationship. Digital platforms that enable ecosystem alliances by exposing their existing business through APIs will continue to emerge, as asset and information sharing become increasingly important from a B2B perspective.

As identity management becomes increasingly digital, a collaborative effort towards boosting cyber security and protecting the privacy of traveller data is crucial to maintaining customer trust and public safety. Digital technologies (e.g. biometrics such as facial recognition, IoT, crowd analytics and video monitoring via AI) will be used to create a ubiquitously secure environment. And when it comes to a choice of hosting environment, it is increasingly recognised that public cloud security goes far beyond anything that individual organisations can achieve in their on-premise data centres.

07. REFERENCES

  1. World Travel and Tourism Council, Economic Impact Analysis, 2016.
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