Name: Andrew Yiu
Title: Vice president, Product
Company, city: Air Canada; Toronto, Ontario
First job: Customer service agent at Northwest Airlines in Vancouver, British Columbia
Where to next: Anywhere in Asia
A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Jackie Chan — a great combination of sense of humor and talent What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry? In the hotel or cruise industry, leading product and marketing
What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
The Amazing Race; I love how the show travels around the world, and it’s always great to see relatable airport and airplane scenes.
What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
The Wright brothers
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
COVID helped us think about what’s important to customers, and our CleanCare+ Program grew from it. We were the first airline to implement such a program and the mandatory requirement of wearing masks on board. Safety will always be our top priority, so it was important for Air Canada to develop a program that gives our customers and employees confidence in a safe and secure travel environment. As we emerge from this pandemic, we are restarting many aspects of our products and services, and I think the CleanCare+ Program is one change that will stay with us.
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Working with a dedicated team focused on designing innovative products for our customers; it’s rewarding to see a product go live and be well-received by customers and employees. What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken? In 2016 the planning began to create an exclusive product for customers paying full fare for premium cabins. As a result, in 2017 we launched the Air Canada Signature Suite for our premium customers at Toronto and Vancouver, effectively opening a full-service restaurant within an airport environment. We did not have anyone on the team with restaurant startup experience, let alone within an airport and all its constraints. I cannot stress enough how well the team came together, and we pulled it off! It was well worth the risk.
Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
Someone I admire professionally and worked well with is Ben Smith, CEO, Air France- KLM. Ben was my mentor; he is a walking encyclopedia of aviation and someone who cares deeply about the customer experience in every business decision.
AS A TRAVELER
Tell us about a travel nightmare: I was stuck in Japan a few years ago as the worst typhoon in almost 50 years struck Tokyo over Thanksgiving. It was unclear when we would get out with everything shut down and devastation around the country. I looked at connecting via China or Europe, but everything was booked for days. Tokyo is one of my favorite cities, so I didn’t mind having some extra time there.
Share a comical travel experience: I’ve always been an aviation fanatic. Prior to joining the airline industry, friends and I used to fly to earn frequent-flyer miles, known as mileage runs. One of the best was a Toronto–Chicago–San Francisco–Hong Kong– Singapore–Hong Kong routing. When the check-in agent in Toronto asked if there was a mistake since our final destination was Hong Kong, we convinced her we did not mind flying to Singapore and back right away!
What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? I love to fly, especially ultra-long-haul flights where you can have a good meal and catch up on work and movies with just enough time to squeeze in a nap!
What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels?
I get to witness many examples of great customer service when I fly as a customer on Air Canada! In other industries, when a hotel proactively goes the extra mile to take care of my family, I appreciate those moments. W Hong Kong comes to mind. My wife and I traveled there for one of our anniversaries, and [ever] since, they’ve remembered us. If our trip coincides with our anniversary, they remember and put something special in our room. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
There’s an aspirational rustic chic/farm-to-table restaurant genre often associated with Northern California’s wine country. When you drive down the main street of Napa, Sonoma or any of the other towns, it appears there are as many of them as there are vineyards. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this genre, as the quality of the food is consistent and ambitious chefs earnestly endeavor to elevate home-style dishes to a higher standard.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco announced a new amenity for guests in collaboration with Porsche. Porsche electric vehicle charging stations will now be located in the valet area of the hotel’s parking deck, allowing guests and visitors to top off the batteries of electric vehicles while enjoying a cocktail at Top of the Mark, enjoying farm-to-table fare at Nob Hill Club or staying overnight at the property.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Reykjavik with us.