Kei Shibata, co-founder & CEO, Venture Republic
Shibata co-founded Venture Republic in 2001. The company runs a group of online
travel businesses including LINE TRAVEL jp and Trip101.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
what you know now, if you could go back to the start of the crisis, what would
you do differently?
that one of our brands, Trip101, has
been showing impressive growth in the vacation rental space during the
pandemic, I would have had us invest more into that space.
have you learned from this time about the way you’ll manage and communicate
with your team moving forward?
and frequent communication, with transparency, is the most reliable management
skill in times of crisis. We’ve been trying to share with our team everything -
things such as our cash reserves in the bank, monthly burn rates, updated
financial projections, even how the management team is really feeling about
everything. Everyone is feeling so
uncertain, so it's incredibly important to be upfront and honest. People feel more confident when they have a
clear picture of what is happening around them.
do you miss the most about travel?
life with dual international bases (Singapore and Tokyo), which allowed me to
enjoy great food in both countries. From
the best Southeast Asian spicy satays and laksa to superb sushi and amazing Wagyu beef. Splitting my time between
the two bases let me enjoy all of those delicious meals within
the span of just one month.
have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
back my physical fitness. I have just passed the 100-mile monthly mark of
running. It's my longest monthly running
distance in the last few decades. The last
time I was able to run this much was when I was in cross-country ski
competition training back at college. It's
actually an even longer distance than my miles logged when I was preparing
for the Tokyo Marathon in the early 2000s!
lasting changes will there be to you personally from this time?
am pretty sure that the concept of “workation” will play a bigger role in my
life going forward. And I think I've
developed a much larger appreciation for a more nature-driven, slower living
been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
premium craft gins at the local liquor store in Tokyo. So far, a yuzu citrus
flavored gin, “Yuzu Gin,” is the winner!
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