Meet the Expat: Audrey Marc

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Audrey is a long-time online travel professional and she tells us how she ended up in Indonesia and fell in love with the country. Her passion is travel and her business is helping others to realise their travel ambitions and discover more by saving money on every trip.

I was in charge of the Asian operations for three years at one of the biggest French online travel agencies, and I was travelling a lot to different destinations to meet business partners and guarantee the quality of the hotels for customers. After coming to Indonesia three times I fell in love with the country, its cultures, the people, and the landscapes. Every time I had to go back to France, I literally cried on the flight back. That was something I could not explain. I was 27 years old at the time, and I always wanted to have a working experience abroad. Using my network in the travel Industry in Indonesia, I had the chance to meet William Newley, CEO of MG group, at a trade show event in London and he offered me a job as a contracting manager in Jakarta. This great opportunity came at the right time, and four months later I arrived in Indonesia to start this incredible new adventure.

My first trip to Indonesia was to Bali and I found it amazing. I was speechless after seeing so much beauty. Balinese people are so kind, their culture is powerful and beautiful. Until today, whenever I land in Bali, I feel something special, a feeling of happiness. There is definitely something spiritual happening there. Then I travelled to Lombok, Flores, Sumatra, Java, and everywhere I went, I was impressed by the beauty of nature. When I accepted the job, I had never been to Jakarta, so it was a real shock for me at first. It felt so big, so much traffic, so polluted. But I got used to it. For Jakarta I can say that I love it as much as I hate it. As I write I am waiting for my flight back to Jakarta after two weeks in France and I actually feel happy about going back.

The biggest challenge for me living in Jakarta is having to adapt my European body to this hostile environment. I have only lived in the countrysides of France, Scotland and New Zealand, where the air is clean, and that’s why it’s very hard for me to live in the city. My body is struggling a lot with the pollution, I am sick very often and feel weak most of the time so it’s a real problem. It has really motivated me to do something about it, especially as a diver and sea lover. I have seen so many places ruined by pollution, in Bali, Nusa Penida and Nusa Menjangan, and I’m thinking of joining some action groups to fight against plastic pollution. Indonesia is such a beautiful country, we need to save it for future generations. On the other hand, I have made a lot of new friends from so many countries so there are positive things. We travel together and we meet up often. The social life is definitely the best part of being an expat.

I really enjoy running my business here. Lalalaway.com is Indonesia’s first flash sale website of luxury hotels. We offer the best hotels (three-star boutique to five star) in Southeast Asia with the best rate guaranteed, including additional special complimentary benefits such as free upgrades, spa, and airport transfers. Our weekly offers are limited in time and are exclusive, which is why our deals are the best you will find in the market. Very dedicated to customer care, we select the most comfortable hotels, negotiate the best prices, and we offer many VIP benefits. We want every guest to have unforgettable Lalalaway experiences and to be able to travel as often as they can. With Lalalaway.com you can save money and travel more.

I worked for a similar concept in France for three years and it was very popular all over Europe. After a few weeks in Indonesia, the MG group and I noticed that the concept didn’t exist here, so we decided to take the chance and start this exciting project.

Lalalaway.com offers quality hotels in great locations with the best rate guaranteed. You can book your entire trip with or without flights in just a few clicks. Similar concepts are booming in Europe and Australia, and the fact is, Indonesia is a fast-growing country with a huge new generation of millennials. Aged between 18-34 years old they are tech-savvy consumers, using a lot of digital platforms to book trips and they are inspired by social media. They are very selective and careful with their spending. I would say our concept definitely matches this new demand and we see big potential. We would like to focus on building the brand in Indonesia first, as we just launched the website two months ago. So far, the website is doing very well with more than 500 percent growth in bookings from March to April. This needs to be continued, and we are very aware that the first year is always very challenging for a startup. Expanding to other Southeast Asian countries is something we have been considering, but one step at a time.

My favourite travel quote is “never stop exploring”. There are so many places to see, so many beautiful hotels to experience. Lalalaway.com allows you to afford luxury, and the money you save you can use to travel again!

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Indonesia Expat is Indonesia's largest expatriate readership (formerly known as Jakarta Expat and Bali Expat)


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