Clement Wong (BBA 2003)
A successful entrepreneurial trip
Clement Wong (BBA 2003) is the founder of BeMyGuest, a rapidly growing travel portal delivering to visitors “authentic” tourism experiences around the world, with the focus on emerging markets. Through his exposure as a student at NUS Business School and as a highly sought-after global strategy consultant for tourism-related businesses, Clement has gained the determination and skills to position his company for tremendous growth this upcoming year.
Travel opens doors to new opportunities
Looking back at his time at NUS Business School, where he double majored in Finance & Marketing with a minor in German, Clement recalls two significant learning experiences that changed his perspective on life and business and ultimately shaped his entire future. The first occurred during a semester he spent in Sweden on a Swedish Business Association Scholarship. Here he came across “The Law of Jante,” which states that if you think you’re better than someone, you’re not. This provided him with a completely different outlook on life and was a major factor in his decision not to enter the “rat race” upon graduation. The second life-changing experience happened later on in his course when his team won the Singaporean round of the marketing competition sponsored by L’Oréal and earned a trip to Paris for the global final, but also won the Special Jury Prize, beating teams from across the globe. The knowledge that he could compete on a global scale gave Clement the confidence and determination to forge a career path in the international marketplace.
Starting his professional journey abroad
After graduation, Clement went to work for the company that had previously sponsored his internship in Austria and was soon headhunted by Euromonitor International, a world leader in market strategy research. Joining the company’s London office, Clement rose to become the company’s head of travel research in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He was subsequently headhunted by two more London-based firms, firstly Travelport, where he was Global Strategy Analyst for Hospitality and then PhoCusWright, where he was Head of Research for Europe, Middle East and Africa. It was while working at Travelport that Clement made the business trip to Kenya that would alter the course of his life.
One business journey leads to another
After wrapping up his business meetings, Clement decided to stay on in Kenya to experience the local culture. During a trip to a Maasai village, he was disturbed to see the inhabitants living in very poor conditions. He asked the locals why this was so when they obviously received a lot of money from tourism. Their answer shocked him. The Maasai villagers were only receiving $2 of the $20 charged per tourist. It was at this moment that Clement found the inspiration to finally set up his own company, as he had always planned to do. But instead of his business mirroring his then career as a global travel strategist, it would focus, through the tourism industry, on empowering local communities in emerging markets.
A win-win situation for local travel agencies and the traveler
After researching the markets and setting out his business plan, in 2012, Clement saw that it was the right time to return to Singapore to establish BeMyGuest, a travel portal that benefits local tourism operators in emerging markets like Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and India. BeMyGuest manages the online marketing and booking of authentic travel tours and local accommodation on behalf of the locals, only taking a small commission fee when a booking is confirmed.
Growing more than just his business
Clement is passionate about giving back to his alma mater through mentorship programs and contributing to the growth of Singapore’s next generation of global leaders.
“I intend to grow BeMyGuest significantly and engage more independent operators as well as locals in the emerging markets,” Clement adds. Over the next five years, he envisions BeMyGuest becoming a major tourism agency in Asia, benefitting not only the local communities it serves, but also providing global experiences to graduating students. “I want Singapore graduates to experience the same empowerment that I did when I was exposed to foreign cultures, and to know that there are no limitations when you make the world your business platform.”