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Yeoh Siew Hoon

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Siew Hoon has nearly 30 years of experience in writing and penning her thoughts, speaking at conferences and facilitating workshops. She started her career as a rookie reporter in the main English language paper in Penang in Malaysia. But her love for travel and adventure led her to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore where she proceeded to successfully introduce and establish a list of travel titles that define the industry today. These include TTG China, TTG Japan, Incentive & Meetings Asia, Meetings & Conventions Asia Pacific, TravelAsia, TravelWeekly, PTN Asia/Pacific, Business Travel News Asia/Pacific and PTN Asia/Pacific. Siew Hoon was also the lead in the launch of one of the key tradeshows today, IT&CMA. Her passion for new experiences and exploration also garnered her several awards including PATA Journalist of the Year, and accolades from ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE).

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An insider’s guide to Penang

May 17, 2012 - 3 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

IT’S hard for me to be objective about Penang since it’s my home island. I can though be truthful. So if you’re visiting Penang for purely sun, sand and sea, you’ll be disappointed. There are better places for that. But if you are looking for a place that’s got everything else besides that, you won’t…>

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Failure hurts but you learn, and you focus

October 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The first time Morten Lund went bankrupt was when he was 21 years old. He remembers cycling home from the bank. “I was so ashamed and could look no one in the eye.” That however did not stop the serial entrepreneur from taking more risks. Saying that at least seven out of 10 start-ups fail…>

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Spreading the love of learning beyond WIT to Burma

October 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I am exhausted but elated. Two days of Web In Travel are over and this morning, we continue with WIT Ideas Lab at ITB Asia. The last two days have seen personalities shine and points of view emerge – this is the intent behind WIT. Our programming is crafted to allow people to shine and…>

The habits of Chinese hotel guests, according to Pullman

October 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

 The results of this year’s China Pullman survey are in, and we get to take an exclusive peek into the gender divide between men and women guests around the country. The nature of living in a hotel means that housekeepers and other hotel staff are let in on guest habits that are usually (mercifully) left…>

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Hey Tweety Bird, look what I’ve got for you

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

So I just got back from Bangkok – why do all the best things happen to me in that lovely city? I was booked into the Centara Grand – my third visit to this hotel, same time every year for the same event, the Asia For Asia Summit, a one-day workshop on the meetings industry.…>

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Now everyone can talk and text

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

AirAsia, Asia’s leading low-cost carrier made it possible for “everyone to fly”, when it entered the market with extremely low, unbelievable fares. Now together with Malaysian giant telco, Maxis Bhd, and Swiss-based OnAir, the airline is offering in-flight calls and data. The three companies will make an initial investment of  US$1.8 million (RM5.6 million) to…>

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Zicasso on the hunt for luxury travel specialists in Asia

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

A US-based online luxury travel referral service is out in the market in Asia/Pacific looking for retailers who want to focus on selling luxury custom tours, and also for inbound agents and tour operators who are interested in capturing a portion of the large US luxury market. “We are looking for tour operators who can…>

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Pre and post-trips is where the action’s at right now

October 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Thus far, most of the innovation has taken in the booking space but now the most exciting things are happening in research and pre and post-trips, said Gregg Brockway (above), president and co-founder of TripIt, the itinerary management and sharing service aimed at the corporate travel market. Speaking at the China Travel Distribution Summit in…>

Rakuten wants to expand and it’s not all about price in China

October 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon picks up a few key sound bites from the China Travel Distribution Summit in Beijing. Wanted: Good staff and better service China’s travel suppliers face similar issues as their counterparts in the rest of Asia – the lack of quality talent and the need to improve service quality across the entire value…>

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Video hasn’t killed the radio star, so there

September 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

There’s something romantic about radio, don’t you think? I recall as a schoolgirl in Penang, hiding under my bedcovers, and tuning into the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) radio station. It was the only station playing decent music and I’d send in requests, and I’d wait for them to be answered. What a thrill. Yesterday,…>

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Think mooncakes, not nuclear weapons – the best blends east and west

September 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

At this time of the year in Beijing, as summer gives way to autumn and the Chinese offer mooncakes to the Lady of the Moon, there’s a change in the direction of the wind that blows through the city. From one day to the next, when I was there last week, a hot, humid summer…>

GDS likened to nuclear weapons – what works outside may not work in China

September 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The opening session of the Travel Distribution Summit in China held in Beijing last week saw comparisons being drawn between GDSs (Global Distribution Systems) and nuclear weapons and the contrasts between the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Confucius. It all started with the opening keynote by Ram Badrinathan, general manager-Asia Pacific for PhoCusWright, who in…>

Shame on you, Vocanic chief tells hoteliers

September 16, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

For a moment there, I thought I was back in my classroom during my primary school days. We had a mathematics teacher, Mr Ong, whose favourite words were “Shame on you.” He said that a lot because I was terrible at math – still am. I was terrified out of my wits everytime he looked…>

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A bird’s eye view of Beijing

September 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  I am sitting in my China World Summit Wing hotel room in the tallest tower in the capital city of the world’s second largest economy. The world, literally, is at my feet. Through the haze – it’s that in-between time between summer and autumn – I spot the tops of buildings upon buildings as…>

One night in Bangkok and look what happened

September 9, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The first thing I usually do when I arrive in Bangkok is to either order in-room massage or room service, if my arrival is at that awkward time between too late for a proper dinner and “too early for bed but I think I will have a quiet night before a big day tomorrow”. This…>

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Virtually no chance of competing with these babes

September 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I am feeling increasingly redundant these days. First, bloggers took away my livelihood – now, everyone can write. Second, Twitter took away the need for breaking news – now, everyone can report from the trenches. Third, TripAdvisor took away my job of travel writing – now, everyone is a reviewer. And just when I have just…>

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A lust for wandering and creating goes a long way

September 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

You could be forgiven for thinking you have walked into a music store. Or is it a funky bar with its eclectic furniture? Or a Peranakan-themed French restaurant? Whatever it is, it’s hard to put Loh Lik Peng’s newest hotel in Singapore, Wanderlust, into any box. Which is how the hotelier, now with five hotels…>

More people will travel independently, that’s a fact

August 27, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Well, the image of “travelling in tour groups” has taken a severe battering of late.  First, there was the Hong Kong tour guide rant at a group of Chinese tourists for not shopping enough, which makes you wonder how long these zero-commission tours should be allowed to continue. Then, we watched in horror as a…>

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Dawn of a new romance in travel in Asia

August 27, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The empowerment of the customer in Asia is the biggest change that’s taken hold in the regional travel market in the last decade, said Kathleen Tan, group head of commercial for AirAsia. “There’s the empowerment to fly and there’s the empowerment to buy. Low cost airlines and the Internet have changed buying behaviour in Asia.…>

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Following successful IPO, MakeMyTrip on hunt for acquisitions

August 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Armed with a new and bulging war chest following its successful debut on NASDAQ last week, MakeMyTrip is on the lookout for “strategic acquisitions to boost our leadership position”, founder and CEO Deep Kalra told WIT. India’s biggest OTA launched onto NASDAQ last week, with shares closing at 88.93% above its listing price of $14.…>

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What happens when you’re the tourist attraction?

August 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I have a friend who lives in the middle of Montmarte, Paris. When I visit him, I always wonder what it’s like to live in the middle of a tourist attraction. Each morning, he wakes up to the sounds of footsteps walking up the steps to the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. He hears the…>

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Contiki Asia hunts for “best friends”

August 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  It is often said that the best test of friendship is to travel together. It will either make it stronger or break it totally or, at the least, convince each other that you shouldn’t travel together for the sake of friendship. Well, Contiki Asia, which runs tours for the 18-35 age group, has launched…>

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Fullerton Bay Hotel packs quite a punch

August 13, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

View of Marina Bay and Singapore’s skyline. SITTING at The Landing Point of the Fullerton Bay Hotel, Giovanni Viterale (pictured below with Tina Sim, hotel manager) takes a deep breath and says, “This feels like Hong Kong. The bay, the views, the skyline.” Viterale, who was with the Conrad Hong Kong before he joined the…>

Inspired by the Tin Man

August 13, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

It’s a sign of a brilliant movie that weeks after I watched it, I am still thinking about it. In fact, I am even dreaming about it. This morning, I woke up from a dream (or thought I did) and stayed within it and with my conscious mind (or thought I did), analysed and organized…>

Low cost airline horror stories, anyone?

August 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I wish I had a good low cost airline horror story to tell – I know, it’s a strange thing to wish for and the reason will become evident at the end – but really, flying budget in Asia is pretty civilized compared to the experiences I’ve had in Europe. The worst experience and thus…>

Look Grandma, my phone is off for you

August 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

A friend of mine, living in Singapore, is giving his 80-year-old grandmother the iPad as a birthday present. “I can’t believe it, my grandma is getting hers before me but I think it will be so good for her. It’s big, easy to use and easy to read and see,” he said. Last week, he…>

Chinese tour guide rant: Don’t let the full elephant land on your face

August 3, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

What’s that famous saying? Whatever you do, don’t get caught? Unfortunately in today’s world where everyone is a walking video cameraman, it’s very easy to get caught. As happened with the Hong Kong tour guide who got caught red-handed when she blew off steam at a group of mainland Chinese tourists for not spending enough…>

Things I wish I had requested in hotels

August 3, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I don’t think I am a difficult customer – although some people might disagree – but after reading an article – Guest Requests Getting Outrageous at Hotels – on the kind of requests other people make at hotels, I think I am a positively easy guest. The report, which was based on a concierge report…>

World’s most liveable cities, why not world’s most responsible destinations?

July 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Every now and then comes along a new list of world’s most iveable cities and in any case, everytime I see the list, it makes me think that liveable equals boring. For example, if you take Mercer’s latest city ranking by quality of living, and you look at Asia Pacific, Auckland at number four worldwide…>

As you woo them, you must welcome them

July 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

With every Australian state in love with the China market, and the numbers of Chinese visitors growing by leaps and bounds, there is one concern that comes top of mind – how to ensure that a repeat of the troubles the country faced with the Indian market are not repeated. Last year and for a…>

Touch me, read me, feel me – the cry of a new generation

July 21, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

On the flight to Penang last weekend, I noticed a little girl across the aisle from me. She had an iPad in front of her. I watched as her little fingers went flick, flick, flick. Touch here, touch there. Tap. Tap. Squeeze, expand. She’s obviously taken to it like a duck to water, unlike me…>

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Green Discovery: You can look but you can’t pay

July 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Green Discovery Laos, a pioneer in adventure travel and ecotourism in this tiny landlocked kingdom, wants to reach out to more travellers through the Internet but its biggest hurdle – payment issues. Said managing director Vianney Catteau, “The main problem is payment. Laos does not support any online payment. We need potential clients to send…>

A moment for magical thinking

July 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

There are times when you just want the world to stop, but it doesn’t, and so you continue. There’s a moment when the world falls silent for you but the noise outside continues. When that moment comes, you may cry aloud but mostly, you weep inside and you grieve for what’s been lost and you…>

You may be able to serve, but can you lead?

July 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

You may know how to lay out the tables or work the computers but do you have what it takes to lead and listen and, most of all, the curiosity and capacity to learn? If not, then you’d better work on the softer life skills because that’s what employers value in their staff. This was…>

WIT Speakers Corner: Rebel with a focus, Morten Lund

July 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Morten Lund, ‘archangel’ investor and serial entrepreneur, who will be speaking at the WITovation Entrepreneur Bootcamp on Oct 18 in Singapore and sitting on the panel of judges during the Grand Final Pitch on Oct 19, has these tips for entrepreneurs. (Taken from a speech he did called ‘Rebel with a focus’ – view video…>

Ken, you stood out

July 9, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

It’s been a bleak awful day. There’s a heaviness in my heart. That’s because on Wednesday night, Ken Low, the assistant chief executive in charge of branding and marketing at the Singapore Tourism Board, slipped away, too early, from our physical world to the big theatre in the sky. I have lost not only a…>

Privacy, the new luxury

July 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Lately, a few things that have happened are bugging me and making me feel my privacy – yes, I know, an old-fashioned notion in today’s world of mass sharing – is being violated. I find that my old blog posts are re-surfacing with my name tagged to products that I haven’t even heard of.…>

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The way to an Asian flyer’s heart is through his stomach

July 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  On Monday, I zipped up to Kuala Lumpur for a tour of the AirAsia Academy. The flight was full despite it being mid-morning. I thought back to the dark – and expensive – days before low cost airlines were allowed to fly the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route and how we consumers had only two carriers…>

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99 baht. Too good to be true? It’s true and it’s buzzing

June 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Everyone’s throwing out deals in Thailand these days. From Anantara’s “Sawasdee! We’ve Missed You” campaign which offers up to 40 percent off best available rate to Accor’s Cashback promotion giving travellers money in return for nights spent. But one campaign seems to have set more tongues wagging than usual – and that’s the Ibis Thailand…>

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How WildChina is trying to tame the World Wild Web

June 30, 2010 - 1 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

It may be increasingly harder to find wild spots in China but the company that made its name by offering travellers access to places that they can’t ordinarily get to on their own using sustainable tourism models is continuing to spread its name through the Web. Started in 2000 by Mei Zhang (above), a Dali…>

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Adelaide: Isn’t it just about time?

June 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Adelaide is the kind of place that if you told other Australians you were going to, they’d ask, “Why?” The first time I mentioned I was going to Adelaide to a group of Australians over lunch, they broke out into laughter. One whispered to me, gesturing to their boss, “Don’t tell him, don’t even mention…>

Fashion sense at the World Cup

June 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

“These Nigerians should not wear green. It doesn’t look good with their skin. And it’s hard to see them from the grass,” said one. “Yes, and the Greeks should not wear white. It’s boring,” replied the other. Finally, I understand the frustration Hillary Clinton must feel when she makes an important policy statement that she…>

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Best Job, but did it mean Best Arrivals?

June 17, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Perhaps it all started with Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job In The World” campaign but of late, Australian tourism has seen a bubbling forth of social media-driven campaigns. There’s Tourism Australia’s “Nothing Like Australia” new branding campaign which asked citizens to submit entries for a competition. Then there’s Western Australia’s “Extraordinary Taxi Ride” in which couples…>

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Why do you love to travel?

June 16, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Travelling (in Yunnan): Beats the sofa Being taken out of their comfort zone. “It humbles me”. The concept of parallel universes, To soothe the restless spirit. “Immigration queues, airline food, being fingerprinted at Seattle airport, sitting in economy class next to people with excitable elbows. I ‘d miss all this if I stopped traveling.” These were…>

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World Cup fever: The end as we know it

June 11, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  The media’s full of it. The coffee shop’s full of it. Taxi drivers can’t stop talking about it. Every business meeting I am having these days is peppered with it. Yes, I predict, a little round ball is going to bring the world economy crashing down over the next few weeks. Forget the Green…>

The age of happiness

June 10, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

What is it about men (well, some anyway) that make them so obsessed with reality? I walked away from a lunch with two hoteliers this week that nearly caused me to slit my wrist. They went on and on about the problems of the world. Oil spill in the US – Obama’s a goner. Thailand…>

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Jetstar to “shake up market” with low cost flights to Melbourne, Auckland

June 9, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  It’s the first time the low cost airline is competing head-on with its parent, Qantas, on two routes. Time will tell whether there will be cannibalisation but these two sectors were picked for a reason.   Good news for travellers as Jetstar this morning announced the launch of daily direct flights from Singapore to Melbourne…>

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Child sex tourism – what you can do about it

June 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Giorgio Berardi (above), Programme Officer for Combating CST, ECPAT International, and lead researcher of the ECPAT study on “The use of information and communication technologies in connection with cases of child sex tourism in East and Southeast Asia”, talks about how the travel industry can get behind the cause. Q: Is the problem of…>

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The East is not all East

June 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Paying for an item at checkout in a shop in Adelaide, I asked the cashier, “You closing at 5pm?” “Yes,” she replied, “and that’s long enough.” In this South Australian city, they have their priorities right – you shouldn’t have to work longer than you ought to – whereas in all of Asia, we work…>

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There’s nothing like simplicity

June 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Whether it was intentional or not, I heard the strains of “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, the song by Crowded House used in the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign in the background in the room where the press conference was being held. I suspect it was unintentional – after all, why on earth would Tourism Australia…>

Nothing Like Australia’s new commercial: View it here

June 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

It uses real people, it is based on images that were sent in by real Australians and it has a catchy song. The new “Nothing Like Australia” commercial was shot by Michael Gracey, an ARIA Award winning creative guru who produced Evian’s “Roller Babies” and T Mobile’s “Dance” videos. What do you think?

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The thinking behind “Nothing Like Australia”

May 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Is digital cheaper? And can you build a destination brand using digital? Yeoh Siew Hoon catches up with Nick Baker, executive general manager-marketing, Tourism Australia the weekend before the new brand launch of “Nothing Like Australia” at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Adelaide. Q: Is it cheaper to build a digitally-based campaign? No. That’s one…>

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“Nothing Like Australia” to last 10 years at least

May 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

After three branding campaigns in four years, Tourism Australia may finally have hit upon one that should last, at the very least, 10 years. The tourism board will, on Monday, hold a media conference to announce its new brand, “Nothing Like Australia” at the Australian Tourism Exchange being held in Adelaide this year. This follows…>

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Welcome to the world of geekdom

May 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Thou shalt not covet thy friend’s toys, so please forgive me for I have sinned. I was catching up for coffee with Joe Nguyen, vice president-Southeast Asia, of comScore this week and he had his iPad proudly displayed in front of him. Actually I think his nose was buried in it when I came into…>

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Inside Marina Bay Sands

May 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I like the sense of space when you enter the hotel atrium of Marina Bay Sands. I like the way the space creates a funnel-like effect that makes you feel you could be Alice in Wonderland entering a labyrinth of light and space. I like the way the building interacts with the light and embraces…>

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Eyewitness reports from Bangkok: The aftermath

May 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

As the cleaning up of Bangkok begins, what’s it like for the travel industry professionals living in the city, as they return to work today? And what’s their take on the situation? WIT asked them to share their impressions. Don Ross, Editor, Travel Trade Report Q: What’s it like today to return to work? It…>

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Marina Bay Sands takes lawyers to court

May 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The gloves are off. Marina Bay Sands is suing the organizers of the annual conference of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association which recently met at the Integrated Resort and kicked up a media storm about the state of unpreparedness of the venue. According to local media reports, MBS is asking for $300,000 from IPBA Pte Ltd…>

One night in Bangkok

May 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Through most of last night, when Bangkok, the city in our midst, was under curfew, I was in communication with friends in the city. What a night of darkness they must have gone through. One reported gunfire outside his apartment. Another said phones weren’t working. Another said he had completed his exercise in “miniaturization”. One…>

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Angkor Wat: A passage in time

May 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

On my last visit to Siem Reap, a brick fell into place. I realised that my first visit to see the ruins of Angkor Wat was almost 20 years ago, and so I have seen this town evolve over two decades. Feeling as ancient as the temples, I cast my mind back to the first visit…>

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Video hasn’t killed the rock band, but could it kill text?

May 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The stadium exploded in a flash of light. The band went straight into a blistering version of “Highway Star”. Deep Purple was back in Singapore and from the first note, the band showed they meant serious business when it came to playing a brand of music they’ve been true to for more than 40 years.…>

A nightmare erupts in our midst

May 17, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I am sitting here in my second floor apartment overlooking leafy green trees in Singapore. At my feet, my dog, Dylan, is happily chewing away at his bone. It is his favourite activity when not chasing lizards or leaping into the ocean. It is hard to believe that, just less than two hours away by…>

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‘It’s still bad out there but sentiment’s better’

May 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The last time I caught up with Hans Lerch (above) was last October when we were still in the centre of the financial storm although Asia was clambering out of the ruins and Europe was still clinging to the wreckage. Eight months later, it seems Europe is still clinging to the wreckage and you could…>

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Lahad Datu: Stranded with strangers in a strange town

May 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  There’s nothing like being stranded with a group of strangers on holiday to bring out the best stories. We’re all out of your comfort zone, things haven’t gone as planned and, being matured and sensible adults, we realise there’s not much else to do but make the best of an unplanned situation. Such was…>

Lawyers and construction site do not mix, as MBS finds out

May 6, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

You’ve got to feel sorry for the folks at Marina Bay Sands. Delays, management shake-ups, staff woes, construction problems and now the latest salt to be rubbed into the wound – threats of legal action by organizers of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) Conference, the first event it hosted after opening on April 27. Whether…>

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Lessons on the road

May 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  What’s a sure sign that it’s a good party? When people don’t want to leave … Well, at last week’s WIT*e – Inspiration & Mentoring, I heard from Lim Neo Chian, one of our guest speakers, that he was still caught up with a group of students as late as 10.30pm.  They wanted to…>

A natural and civil approach to ageing in Taiwan

May 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Someone said to me the other day, “Aging is brutal.” The next week, someone stated, “The only way to prevent aging is to shoot yourself in the head.” It’s rather drastic, I know, but he’s known for stating it as it is. He is right. No amount of plastic surgery, exercise, juice diets and…>

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Taipei: Life is out there on the streets

May 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Out on the streets is where the real Taipei is found, says Yeoh Siew Hoon. But more must be done to make it visitor-friendly for the non-Chinese speaking visitor.  I have to confess that I’ve never given Taipei a lot of attention as a leisure destination. But then in the last year or so,…>

‘I have no life. I need sex’

April 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

What happens when one of your staff tweet, “I have no life. I need sex.” With social media being so much a part of AirAsia’s corporate culture, the airline shares some stories of how it recruits as well as how it stays in touch with its employees. Last year, AirAsia decided to use its blog…>

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Luang Prabang: Fighting off the ‘Lijiang Effect’

April 28, 2010 - 1 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

There’s a joke going round in Luang Prabang that everything can become a hotel. Amantaka was the local hospital, Alila is said to be converting the prison. “What’s next? The local cemetery?” goes the punchline. The flippancy hides a poignancy however. In talking to me about Amantaka, a local businessman said, “We are very sad,…>

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Danum Valley unplugged

April 21, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Paradise these days is going on holiday in a place where your smart phone does not work. So it was when I went to Danum Valley in Sabah over the Easter weekend.  Danum Valley is one of Sabah’s last remaining virgin rainforests – it was declared a conservation area in 1980, a recommendation first put…>

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Vietnam’s the next frontier for AirAsia

April 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

As of last weekend, the AirAsia group of airlines becomes five with the latest addition being VietJet AirAsia.  And by the third quarter of this year, the group, which comprises AirAsia, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia and Indo AirAsia, will fly its 100th million passenger, an indication of how fast the Malaysia-based airline has grown since…>

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Lost in Luang Prabang, reality bites in Bangkok

April 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I spent a blissful three days with my head in the clouds in Luang Prabang, the ancient royal city of Laos, and stopped over in Bangkok to find ash in the clouds in Europe and the army on the streets in the Thai city. Wandering around Luang Prabang which by the way is the most…>

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Free the Internet! “It’s like a towel, I don’t pay to use it”

April 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The debate continues – should free Internet be part of a hotel service? One says no, another says, it’s not like you’re ordering dancing girls which would not be considered “normal service”. Despite his belief that technology should be treated as an extension of the guest experience (see related article), Mark Kendall, vice president of…>

Thailand and Kyrgystan: what’s the link?

April 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

It’s interesting that I woke up this morning and found an article headlined “Thailand vs Kyrgystan: Travel Media, and Fear of the Unknown” in my Google Alert. The article in the Huffington Post by Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll was comparing the situation in Thailand and Kyrgystan. My first thought was, when did Amazing Thailand,…>

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From home to home: Back to the future

April 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

After a day of revisiting the past, it’s time for the three travelling buddies to return to the city where they catch a glimpse of China’s future. Yeoh Siew Hoon wraps up the story of a homecoming. Replete from our feast with Lucas’ family in Shibi village, we headed back to Haikou for the night.…>

Phone, Play, Love, Fight

April 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Warning: This article is not an April Fool’s joke unlike the one titled “Match, Meet, Love” which we sent out on April 1. Incidentally, quite a few of you believed in the iPhone travel application we dreamed up – which perhaps proves that it is either possible or desired. One news organization asked if they…>

Match, meet, love on the road

April 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon discovers an iPhone application that will change the way we find love on the road forever. April 1, 2010 – Walking around the Travel Technology Pavilion at ITB Berlin, I was keeping my eyes peeled for a piece of product or service that would change the world when I came upon a…>

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The gypsy and her muse at Hotel Les Ottomans

March 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

To create this gem on the Bosphorus, owner Ahu Aysal was inspired by an 18th century Pasha artist. She tells Yeoh Siew Hoon why she wouldn’t change one minute of her life, even the breast cancer she had six years ago.  Hotel Les Ottomans is a gem not only because of its location on the…>

Caught between two worlds but really, it’s a new world

March 25, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Yeoh Siew Hoon finds herself in a city where East physically meets West and reflects on the new world the travel industry finds itself in.    Istanbul is a city I’ve always wanted to visit, the bridge between two worlds, the place where the East truly and physically meets the West. Finally, I would…>

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From home to home: The trek to Mountain Leaf Village

March 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon returns to her father’s village and this time, she left with more than she could have imagined. Photos by Willy Foo My first visit to my late father’s village was in 2005. Then as now, I decided to go unannounced. This is highly unconventional, as you might expect. Usually, you give notice, they…>

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Roll up, roll up, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul awaits

March 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon spends a day lost in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and finds the experience eerily similar to that of the World Wide Web V2010, Lonely Planet notwithstanding. I spent a morning wandering around the Spice Market in Istanbul and I think I lost my sense of smell just from the sheer assault…>

The incredible silence of over-socialisation

March 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon reckons that we will no longer have anything left to share because we’ve done all the sharing. I predict that soon we won’t need to talk to each other anymore to find out how we are, where we are and what we are doing. Think about it. In the old days, when…>

SoutheastAsia launches contest for bloggers, photographers

March 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Efforts to get travellers around the world to think Southeast Asia when planning their next vacation began in earnest last week at the ITB Berlin with the unveiling of the www.SoutheastAsia.org meta-search site to the media. First, a unique map-based trip planner on SoutheastAsia.org will allow travelers to plan trips, estimate costs, check availability and…>

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From home to home – Haikou unplugged

March 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

There’s more to Haikou than coconut trees and Wenchang chicken, as Yeoh Siew Hoon and her travel buddies find out in the first part of their journey to trace their roots. Photos by Willy FooWhen you’ve got a mission such as the one we had set ourselves – visit three villages in 24 hours, actually…>

“YourSingapore” whipping up the chatter

March 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The launch of STB’s new brand and digital strategy has gotten travel bloggers talking. Some call it innovative, one wonders whether it is too whizzy. The proof is in the durian pudding, as we may say in “YourSingapore”. Yeoh Siew Hoon picks on the buzz after last week’s launch. The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched…>

STB goes digital with ‘YourSingapore’

March 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Recognising that media consumption habits have changed and that people have also changed the way they plan and book their travel, the Singapore Tourism Board has launched a new brand, YourSingapore. (View video of launch) At the heart of the new brand is a website that will allow people to personalise their experiences, post and…>

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From home to home – journey of a lifetime

March 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon traces her late father’s journey from Hainan island to Penang. In this first part, she begins where her father started his new life in his adopted country. My brother and I were driving past Weld Quay in Penang when I spotted a sign that said, “Yeoh Jetty”. Perhaps the signs had always…>

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Marketing their way to the top

February 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  I was sitting at 32 Wyndham, a new restaurant and bar in Central, Hong Kong, right opposite the rather fancy-looking Hotel LKF – notice how everything trendy these days is reduced to numbers and alphabets – and reflecting on how much more interesting the hospitality scene is these days. Across from me and sipping…>

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Logic, be gone; let the dice roll

February 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

You can’t go anywhere these days without someone asking you, “Have you been to the casino?” Yes, ever since Resorts World at Sentosa opened Singapore’s first casino, it’s the topic on everyone’s lips. I haven’t been personally – I was away during the first week it opened – attending to filial piety duties rather than…>

Destination branding: Legacy thinking still prevailing?

February 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Amazing, Truly, Uniquely, WOW, even Bloody – you name it, every adjective has been thrown at destination branding. Is there still too much legacy thinking attached to the business of destination branding when customers are changing so rapidly? Yeoh Siew Hoon reports. At every tourism conference I attend, there’s always a lot of angst that…>

Meet the new ugly customer

February 17, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

In a world of instant tweets, Yeoh Siew Hoon is reminded that the customer who shouts the loudest gets the most attention, never mind if he isn’t always right.   He stood out in the crowd. I had first noticed him at the airport. He was dressed in a double-breasted dark suit. He wore dark…>

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Skip the abalone, give me naked images anytime

February 11, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon heads home to Penang for Lunar New Year, minus abalone but endowed with imagination.   I got onboard a Jetstar Asia flight this morning bound for Penang to celebrate the Lunar New Year on my home island.   I am not alone in making the journey home – millions and millions of…>

TripAdvisor credibility questioned; and the ‘zilch’ impact of social media

February 10, 2010 - 1 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

First an article that questions TripAdvisor’s credibility, then another that says it has “zilch” impact on travel planning. Yeoh Siew Hoon reports. I will recall this week as the one in which social media got hammered in the media. First, the article by Martin Kelly, editor of Travel Trends, Australia, asserting that Trip Advisor has…>

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Hitting the right pitch

February 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

There I was, sitting on the balcony of a rooftop bar in Chinatown with Bernadette Dennis, managing director of HSMAI (Hotel Sales & Marketing Associates International) Asia Pacific, and we were looking down on the Chinese New Year festivities on the streets below. The streets were a sea of red. Everywhere, everyone was trying to…>

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And the best job in the world is …

February 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

  Part of SLH: Hoshinoya Karuizawa, an hour by bullet train from Tokyo    I reckon it’s got to be one of the best jobs in the world – to be an “inspector” for Small Luxury Hotels of the World.   You’ve got a choice of 500 of the world’s best hotels in the world,…>

A need to blend face time with screen time

February 3, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon heads to Subic Bay to attend a meeting on meetings at a time when the way people communicate is changing.   I am headed to the Philippines this afternoon. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there. I know I will enjoy it. It’s one of those places I don’t yearn…>

Seven years in Tuscany

February 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

What’s a half Swedish, quarter Chinese and quarter Japanese former banker doing in Tuscany, running a small hotel and giving cooking classes? Well, that was what Christopher Tung did for seven years until last year when he relocated to Singapore where he is now giving Tuscan cooking classes and has put together personally-guided culinary trips…>

ASEAN. Southeast Asia. Feel the heat, man

January 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The new tourism campaign by ASEAN, built around a website using Wego meta search technology, is promising more than warmth; it’s turned up the heat in the media. Yeoh Siew Hoon watches from the sidelines. The new tourism campaign, launched by ASEAN countries at the ASEAN Tourism Forum this week, will be remembered not only…>

Help, get me an iPad

January 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

After experiencing the inflight entertainment system on Cathay Pacific last night, Yeoh Siew Hoon is going out to get an iPad. The Cathay Pacific flight I was on last night convinced me I have to get the iPad. First the seat I was assigned, 14G – there was something wrong with the sound system. The…>

Unexpected encounters of the elevated kind in Hong Kong

January 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

“It’s foggy today,” I said to the driver who had picked me up from Hong Kong airport. “No, it’s hazy,” he replied. That’s what I like about Hong Kong. No beating about the bush. A city that’s all about getting to the point, from point to point, but all done with style of course. The…>

Kiwis & Cougars: A Match Not Made In Heaven

January 21, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

What happens when cougars are let loose in Kiwi land? Yeoh Siew Hoon looks at the latest anti-social media outrage. Perhaps we live in a too politically correct world these days where we have to watch every word we utter, every word we write and every idea we share. Look at the ruckus in Malaysia…>

The wide, weird and wonderful world of hotels

January 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon dedicates this article to all fellow travellers and those hoteliers who look after us while we are on the road. I don’t know when I first became fascinated with the idea of hotels. Perhaps it was when I took on a part-time job while waiting for my exam results in Penang. I…>

Information & inspiration in Bali

January 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Yeoh Siew Hoon spends a few days on the Island of the Gods, ingesting more than fresh air and sunshine I just returned from a few days in Bali and I think I left my brain behind. I left my phone charger behind too but that you can easily replace. The brain, well, that’s another…>

I’m dreaming of a big lottery win…

January 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I was being stretched by my trainer the other day when I blurted out – probably a knee-jerk reaction to pain, “I wish I could win the lottery.” “Yeah,” he said, bending me even further. “I don’t need $30 million, I just need $3 million.” I’d have been contented with $1 million myself but I…>

Behind closed doors – hotel secrets revealed

January 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

So what goes on behind closed doors of hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and what do guests get up to? A Novotel survey of the differing travel habits of men and women who stay at the group’s 30 hotels and resorts in the three countries bares some interesting nuggets of information. It seems…>

Feb, April, who cares? “We are not into daily trades,” says Sheldon Adelson

January 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I suppose if you’re investing billions of dollars in a project, you can get rather irritated with pesky journalists who seem to be fixated on what date you are opening. Sheldon Adelson, the boss man of Venetian who saw 90 percent of his stock market value wiped out by the global financial crisis but still…>

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No surprises, I am suffering from social media fatigue

January 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

Over my lifetime, I have seen several fortune tellers. Some of them are pretty uncanny but most of them get it wrong when it comes to specific events. For example, six years ago, I was told I’d fall madly in love with a tall, dark, handsome stranger and all I got was a dog. Believe…>

A toast to recovery, may things not blow up in our pants

January 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

A toast to recovery, may things not blow up in our genitals I spent Christmas Eve at the Conrad Centennial, one of my favourite hotels in Singapore. I think it’s because the general manager, Heinrich Grafe, has been there for longer than the furniture – it shows in the consistency and service standards. Compare that…>

An insider’s guide to Penang

An insider’s guide to Penang

May 17, 2012 - 3 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

IT’S hard for me to be objective about Penang since it’s my home island. I can though be truthful. So if you’re visiting Penang for purely sun, sand and sea, you’ll be disappointed. There are better places for that. But if you are looking for a place that’s got everything else besides that, you won’t…>

Failure hurts but you learn, and you focus

Failure hurts but you learn, and you focus

October 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

The first time Morten Lund went bankrupt was when he was 21 years old. He remembers cycling home from the bank. “I was so ashamed and could look no one in the eye.” That however did not stop the serial entrepreneur from taking more risks. Saying that at least seven out of 10 start-ups fail…>

Spreading the love of learning beyond WIT to Burma

Spreading the love of learning beyond WIT to Burma

October 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

I am exhausted but elated. Two days of Web In Travel are over and this morning, we continue with WIT Ideas Lab at ITB Asia. The last two days have seen personalities shine and points of view emerge – this is the intent behind WIT. Our programming is crafted to allow people to shine and…>

Hey Tweety Bird, look what I’ve got for you

Hey Tweety Bird, look what I’ve got for you

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

So I just got back from Bangkok – why do all the best things happen to me in that lovely city? I was booked into the Centara Grand – my third visit to this hotel, same time every year for the same event, the Asia For Asia Summit, a one-day workshop on the meetings industry.…>

Now everyone can talk and text

Now everyone can talk and text

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

AirAsia, Asia’s leading low-cost carrier made it possible for “everyone to fly”, when it entered the market with extremely low, unbelievable fares. Now together with Malaysian giant telco, Maxis Bhd, and Swiss-based OnAir, the airline is offering in-flight calls and data. The three companies will make an initial investment of  US$1.8 million (RM5.6 million) to…>

Zicasso on the hunt for luxury travel specialists in Asia

Zicasso on the hunt for luxury travel specialists in Asia

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Yeoh Siew Hoon

A US-based online luxury travel referral service is out in the market in Asia/Pacific looking for retailers who want to focus on selling luxury custom tours, and also for inbound agents and tour operators who are interested in capturing a portion of the large US luxury market. “We are looking for tour operators who can…>

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