STS charting a new course with Elite WYSE Travel Confederation membership
This year STS is celebrating 60 years of organising education and cultural exchange trips for youth and students. Although the company has expanded worldwide, with offices in 12 countries and partners in more than 50, STS is still owned by the same Swedish family that founded the company in 1958.
STS has also been a long time WYSE Travel Confederation member, but recently opted to become an Elite member. It was a decision STS CEO John Cedergardh said was made to strategically navigate the current global political landscape.
“We feel that it is important for us to play an active role in the industry and how it is shaped going forward. We need to be able to influence what is going on as well as keep ourselves updated and well connected,” explained Cedergardh. “WYSE felt like the logical choice as platform for this and therefore it felt natural to upgrade our membership.”
However, WYSE Travel Confederation Elite membership is not the only platform where STS is mapping out a new strategy. The company is also re-organising, re-branding and in many ways re-inventing the way they do business.
“Traveling is just as relevant as ever, we just need to package it in a different way and talk to our customers in a way that is relevant to them,” said Cedergardh.
“The traditional programmes that we have offered are not working as well anymore in the young target group on our home markets, so we are trying to diversify and offer new and exciting programs.”
As a result, STS has forged new co-operations with the Real Madrid Football Club, famous E-Sport gamers, Bali surfers, social media influencers, and many more. In April, STS will hold their brand new gaming youth travel camp in Malta. The programme is the first of its kind for the company and the youth travel industry. The team’s willingness to tackle challenges with fresh perspectives and innovative solutions is beginning to pay off.“After a couple of tough years, we are now growing at a rate of 30% and looking forward to a good 2018. We are not as profitable as we want to be yet, but we are getting there. “
However, Cedergardh emphasised that company culture plays a vital role in the ability to successfully steer transformative company changes. He said STS has spent a lot of time undertaking proactive and transparent internal communication with 150 team members worldwide.
“People need to understand the changes, why and how they have been decided and what they are meant to accomplish. It is not enough to have buy in from top management to be able to create successful change. Ambassadors driving action and activity on all levels of the organisation are needed. Your company culture is such a key factor that you need to make sure to take care of to be successful as an organisation.”
Team involvement and input is imperative before a change is implemented to facilitate ‘a stronger buy-in and execution,’ according to Cedergardh. He also recommends that organisations undergoing significant changes keep their business partners involved. Partners should be consistently informed about what the organisation is doing and what can be expected going forward.
“My impression is that most of them are feeling positive about where we are going,” Cedergardh said. “I hope they feel that we are a stronger company today compared to a year ago and that we will be even stronger in a year from now. This journey will benefit them just as much as it will benefit us.”
Whether at the beginning of your company’s journey, charting a new course, or trying to stay on track, Cedergardh has this advice: “Joining WYSE Travel Confederation is a great opportunity to understand what is going on in the industry and to get to know the right people and partners from around the whole world. To form your own company strategy, it is essential to understand the possibilities out there and how you can fit in, WYSE is an excellent platform to use to reach that goal.”