PIVOTING IN THE FACE OF A PANDEMIC

Hello! In 2020, COVID-19 hit us like kakai. Businesses in the travel and tour industry have had more than their fair share of these interesting times. While some may have closed down, others like MoonTouch Travel Ltd are alive and well. In today’s blog post, I got to sit down with The Fabulous Radia Adama Saani of MoonTouch Travel Ltd. Read on to learn about her pivoting journey as well as tips for traveling. Enjoy!

Watch the interview here

Ama Duncan (AD): Thank you so much Radia for making time. First, I’ve been itching to ask this for so long. You used to be a flight attendant; did you ever get scared during turbulence? (LOL)

Radia Adama Saani (RAS): Thank you Lady Ama for having me. As a flight attendant, because of the training you undergo before you start serving on-board, there are certain things that you would have overcome already. The training cuts across a whole lot and you’re made aware of the dangers and all that it entails. Also the shoes we wear on flights have protective mechanisms underneath to keep us from falling during turbulence. 

AD: Oooooh I see, so that is the secret!

RAS: But there are times you may not always be able to control how you handle those turbulences. There was this one time when I was serving tea and coffee; there was a passenger at the window seat and another man sitting beside him in the aisle seat. The passenger in the window seat requested for coffee and I went to get it ready for him. Immediately I stretched to serve the man at the window there was a sudden turbulence, and the coffee poured on the other man’s laptop! He was extremely mad, and went very crazy because the laptop was completely damaged and no amount of apology was enough. Eventually I got queried and was exonerated as it was not something I could have controlled, and the man was compensated. Flight attendants worry more about passenger’s satisfaction than turbulence.  

AD: Wow I can imagine how that must have been! Thank you for sharing. Now you’re a Travel Consultant. At which point in your life did you decide to start your own business?

RAS: I’ve had ten years of aviation experience now, but I didn’t just start from being a flight attendant. I used to work with Ghana Airports Company Limited, in customer service. I knew a lot about airlines and their operations even before I joined Kenya Airways later. What happened was I took maternity leave after I had my baby. When I returned to work, it was difficult for me to go back to Nairobi for a refresher course for flight attendants. I wanted to go with my mum so she could help me cater for my baby but it was complicated. Anyway, I had plans of furthering my education in aviation. So with all these things coming up at that point in time, I decided to stay and take care of my baby until he was old enough and then I went back to school. After my studies in the UK, I weighed my options of having to go back to working with Ghana Airports Company Limited or if I could start off on my own. That was when I decided to start my own private consultancy in aviation.

AD: I’m really impressed by this. I see you’re doing amazing things in your business. I’m aware that in this COVID-19 era, the travelling industry has been very disrupted. How have you coped?

RAS: I will start by saying it’s by the grace of God because it was all unexpected. I can say the aviation industry was most affected. The fact is, it takes two airports to travel. So even if airports were opened, other countries may still be closed. It is really a problem to travel. For me, I rely on three acronyms when it comes to my business.

A – Ability to strive. No matter how life throws hurdles at me, I try my best to find a solution.

B – Building a strong network. If your network is very limited, your business scope is also going to be very limited.

C – Consequences you face during challenges. Failure to prepare for consequences during challenges, lets them hit you very hard and it draws you back.

During the early stages of COVID-19, we found ourselves trying to settle disputes between travellers and the airlines such as passengers having to pay price differences of tickets that had changed. Or refund tickets to passengers whose destination countries were not accepting travellers or went on lockdown again. Every day came with its own challenges. But because I was resilient and I made preparations for some of these situations, I was able to resolve them. And bit by bit, things are picking up.

AD: That’s wonderful! I love your resilience. You know, when it comes to The Fabulous Woman Network, many of us as women desire to travel but we know it’s not “for the faint-hearted” (Hehe). While some women struggle with leaving their children, others may not have enough money. Can you share a few tips on how women like us can plan such international vacations for ourselves or our families?

RAS: Travelling while leaving kids behind is a difficult thing to do as a woman. Sometimes convincing your family that going on a vacation doesn’t make you a “bad woman” is not easy. I think if our partners could be more understanding and we could convince them into taking more responsibility in taking care of our children, it will offer us that chance to travel more. Sometimes they stop us not because of the kids but because of the exorbitant bills they have to foot for our vacations which some women demand from their husbands. (Haha). I think, when we as women are more financially independent, we can travel more. Besides, just as men can take their whole families on vacations, we as women can plan trips for our families too and surprise them with something exciting once in a while. It also helps you to utilize your money if you happen to save with a travel agent as well.  Going on vacations with your other married girlfriends as a woman makes it easy for your husband to accept that decision to let you go since he will realize your other married friends who have families have been given that advantage too. NB: Just don’t overstay (LOL).

AD: I agree with you totally on women funding their own trips. I have a question for people who are scared of flying. What tips can you share for such people? 

RAS: First of all, air travel is a very safe means of travelling since accidents regarding air travel are very minimal unlike other means of transportation. Many measures have been put in place to ensure passenger safety since 9/11 such as bulletproof and fireproof cockpit doors. Some of these fears may also be from first time experiences or bad previous experiences with airlines. So it’s advised that if you can, do more domestic travels to familiarize yourself with flying.

AD: Very good points. I’ve learnt a lot, really. Before I let you go, I want to ask, for African women who have businesses like you or who are looking to go into business in this COVID era, what advice can you give us?

RAS: I’ve always said, entrepreneurship is for the strong-hearted. It has so many challenges so you will have to prepare for it. Sometimes it may be necessary to take certain courses or join certain classes just to get some technical know-how. Many women go into business for various reasons, and sometimes it is after they have ventured into these businesses that they realize they have taken a wrong path. As much as I will encourage ladies to go into entrepreneurship, I think you should also know yourself before you consider these things because being an entrepreneur is not always living on a bed of roses like most people think. It gives freedom, which is great though.

AD: Ah yes! The freedom is fabulous. Before we wrap up, please fill in the blank questions to the following…

RAS: If I could advise my younger self in one sentence, I would say, “The future is unknown so prepare yourself for anything.”

I am fabulous because “I’m strong and classic!”

One book that has greatly helped me in business is Go Pro by Eric Worre.”

AD: Is there any exciting event coming up at MoonTouch Travel Ltd that we can be a part of?

RAS: We have upcoming trips to Dubai in July and August. We chose August since most people like to travel with their kids and that time is ideal for family travel. And another exciting news is, we just won our second award this year! That was for Outstanding Travel Agency in Ghana and I was also awarded the best CEO in Travel and Tour and it’s been a really great motivation for me.

AD: You’re really inspirational. Thank you so much Radia.

I hope this conversation has been of value. Please let me know in the comments. Let’s do well to travel and sightsee even within our country. And don’t forget to come back next week for more actionable steps to build your business. Until then, stay fabulous!

Ama xx

About Radia Adama Saani

Radia Adama Saani is the CEO of MoonTouch Travel Ltd, one of the leading travel and tour companies in Ghana. She is a founding member & the Head of Corporate Affairs for Operators Alliance Ghana (ATOA of Africa Tour ). She is also an executive of Ghana Travel Consultants. She started her career with Ghana Airports Company and later became an Inflight Attendant with Kenya Airways Ltd. 

Aside advancing her career in the aviation and travel industry; she is also academically excellent in the sector. She holds a Master’s degree in International Hospitality & Tourism Management from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and her first degree & diploma in a similar field from Université AbdelEssaadi, Larache Malek in the Kingdom of Morocco. Radia is very fluent in both French and English languages. 

She is well resourced in the Hospitality industry. She worked as a front desk executive with Travelodge, one of the biggest hotel chain companies in the UK. She also served as the PRO of HOTCATT Hotel, Catering & Tourism Training Institute under the Ministry of Tourism, Ghana.  

She was one of the moderators of the 8th Business Empire African Youth Summit, held in Rabat, Morocco in December 2019. She has constantly been engaged by Ghanaian media on Aviation & Tourism related issues. She was a nominee for the 40 under 40 awards. Radia is married with a child.

Contact Radia on +233 243 57 78 31

2 thoughts on “PIVOTING IN THE FACE OF A PANDEMIC”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top