Confusion over name hits 707-Inc with 50% loss
The name of the company is believed to be auspicious but it has done little to help 707-Inc Great Excursion Travel.
Since news broke of a similarly-named travel company being taken to court, business has dropped 50 per cent.
On Dec 19, The New Paper reported that 707 Travel Services — a company that had closed down in March and its boss declared bankrupt — had been taken to court over non-payment of loans.
Despite having nothing to do with that company, the similarity in name was enough for a number of people to think that 707-Inc was the firm in trouble.
A check with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) showed that the two companies were registered under different owners.
Mr Joshua Kiong, manager of 707-Inc told The New Paper (TNP): “On the day that the news came out, we were flooded with calls and e-mails asking us if we were still in business.
“They were all worried that the coach tickets they bought with us were no longer valid”.
The company started in Malaysia during the 90s as 707-Inc, selling coach trips to various parts of Malaysia.
In 2002, it set up operations in Singapore and was incorporated as Great Excursion Travel Pte Ltd.
The “707” was kept on because of its “auspicious” connotation.
“It sounds like ‘Go-Win-Go’ in Mandarin,” claimed Mr Kiong.
Coach trips still account for the majority of 707-Inc’s business.
The aftermath of the confusion over company names also saw 47 people ask for refunds.
They had assumed the company had folded and not turned up for their trips.
They have been given short shrift by Mr Kiong.
“We could not accede to their request. They should have called us first to check,” he explained.
“Those that called would have realised that we were still operating.”
After the Dec 19 report, Mr Kiong and his staff spent the following days scrambling to answer worried customers and attempt damage limitation.
They printed several posters explaining that there was no connection to 707 Travel Services.
When TNP visited its office at Golden Mile Complex, one of four branches in Singapore, a poster was pasted prominently on the front door.
The poster outside the shop. TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
Despite attempts at damage control, including new promotions, sales have been greatly affected.
It came as a surprise to Mr Kiong, who did not think that the knock-on affect would be so great.
TNP was shown the daily revenue figures. (The company has asked that exact figures not be revealed).
Numbers for Dec 19 suggest that business was not affected. But sales figures for the day after were drastically reduced.
There had been a drop of almost 50 per cent. A loss that amounted to a few thousand dollars.
Subsequent days told a similar story.
Said Mr Kiong: “I was shocked to see such figures. This is the first time our sales have been so low.”This period is usually one of the busiest and the hope was that the combination of school holidays and the Christmas long weekend would be fruitful.
But that hope has all but disappeared.
The company will continue, but it remains to be seen when – or if – it can return to its former peak.
“Now, we have to slowly win back the confidence of our customers and our business partners,” said Mr Kiong.