The Luxury Talent Awards by Silpakorn University International College (SUIC) is an international competition that provides students with the opportunity to develop an innovative, new idea for the luxury industry. It also aims to equip students with the professional experience and to hone their creativity and entrepreneurial skills through three phases in the competition: the first being an infographic, the second a video, and the last being a live presentation at the SUIC campus in Bangkok, Thailand. Out of the top 9 teams who competed in Bangkok, Vatel Manila’s representative team of members Bea Aguila, Aina Canta, and Hye Seon Lee won the First Runner-Up prize with their idea, Sur Roues.
“Given the situations that there is an absence of luxurious and quality accommodations in remote tourist destinations along with the discomfort of long drives and the lack of mobility accessible tours and accommodations, we created Sur Roues. The name comes from a French phrase, which literally translates as ‘on wheels’. It is a luxury recreational vehicle (LRV) designed to meet the standards of a five-star hotel room. It is specially conceptualized and made to provide luxurious and comfortable short or long road trips. Its mobility accessible design with individual space and relaxed leg-room coupled with unparalleled services makes it the perfect choice for any type of traveler,” said Aguila about their concept.
“We really didn't plan on joining this competition. It started out like a requirement, but along the way, we enjoyed doing it. We just gave it try and we were not even expecting to be part of the top 10,” Canta shared. “Honestly, we had little preparation for this competition. We had a lot of projects and school requirements to pass before we even fly to Thailand. However, we got all the support we need from the school. Mr. Stephen Petranek, Mr. Glenn Ricaforte, and Ms. Marie Castro gave their time to help us through all the phases of the competition and teach us how to present and stand out on the actual presentation day. Their comments and feedbacks prepared us for what the judges may ask during the presentation. With such little time for preparation, we were able to pull it off because we have our blockmates, professors, friends, family, and their unending support.”
With the limited and busy time they had, it was inevitable to encounter hurdles and challenges throughout their journey. “For the video, at first we had a hard time strategizing on what to do because none of us were very skilled in video editing. Luckily, we were able to collaborate with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Center for Institutional Communication (CIC) and an architect to help us bring our concept to life. Another big challenge was that on top of this competition, we also had a lot of academic projects and requirements on our plate. We really had to manage our time before and after the competition so that we could make it to the deadline,” Aguila said. “Mr. Petranek helped us with our budgeting and income statement which was really helpful during our presentation. We were able to use it as our basis when the judges asked us about the financial aspects of our budget. Mr. Ricaforte guided us from the start of the project until the very end. He did so much for our group and we wouldn't be able to win without his help and guidance. Lastly, Ms. Castro always made sure we were doing fine even if she couldn’t go with us to Bangkok. Her support really meant a lot to us because it empowered us to represent Vatel,” added Canta on the support they received in spite of their obstacles.
The students flew to Bangkok on March 28, 2019 and had about a day prepare for the nerve-wracking live presentation on the 29th. “The day before the competition, we couldn't sleep properly because we were so nervous. But on the day itself, on the stage, we were able to focus because we knew what we were saying and we trusted our product. After the presentation, with warm hugs from our professors, we were relieved that we made it. And then during the awarding, our team was so happy and thankful that we got first runner-up! Even the day after the competition, we couldn’t believe that we made it to the second place,” said Lee.
Lee adds, “We learned a lot from this experience. One of which is time management. With all the school works, we were able to prioritize things. With this, we also learned that hard work pays off. All the sleepless nights and numerous coffee we drunk had been worth it. We realized that we should believe and trust in ourselves and to be confident. Lastly, we also realized that we should grab opportunities. I am glad we grabbed this great opportunity that might have been once in a lifetime.”
What’s next for Team Sur Roues, you might be wondering? “As of the moment we don’t have any major plans for the project. It requires a large amount of capital which we don’t have, but who knows, maybe we could pitch the concept to some investors or put it up ourselves in the future,” Aguila shared.
Congratulations again to the team!
By Mac Fabella
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