Badly hit by the pandemic, ‘Wakanow’s’ Bayo Adedeji reveals way forward for the travel industry

When we look back, we laugh at some memories. Sometimes, we cry. The memories that get to us most times are our successes across board. We tell these stories to our friends, our wards, our families. Bayo Adedeji is only two years old (relatively) in the travel industry and he already has memories to look back on. A pandemic has hit, badly, the travel industry but we all know it cannot last forever, and we know the CEO of Wakanow will be there post-pandemic to show us how the travel industry should really look like with his big ideas.

We caught up with him after we have had conversations with other people like Arinola Adeniyi (Venivici Spa), Samuel Ajiboye (Alpha and Jam), Chinedu Oparaku (Meristem), Wale Ekundayo (Cerebre Digital) and others who have great stories to tell about their lives.

See Bayo’s story:

Meeting challenges, overcoming them

My background of faith and action has been instructive in dealing with challenges, The first step for me is acknowledgement and analysis of why I am in the situation then I ask for help where needed. Over the years, I have come to see challenges as an opportunity for growth because you learn new skills as you overcome them and propel yourself towards success.

Leadership style change, lifestyle changes and COVID-19

Wakanow employees and I began to work from home in March, which is a new culture for a customer-centric and focused company like ours, that helps provide travel services to customers. Work KPIs have not changed, however, our work ethics and need to over-communicate our progress has become increasingly critical because there are limited to no face to face interactions. The need to be clear in emails and use examples is even more pertinent now than ever since the expressions can’t be seen. In Africa, specifically Nigeria, communication has always been more than words. We communicate with our body language, intonation, tone of voice and hand gestures. And with more communication now on video/conference calls and emails, it is imperative that, as a leader, I have to be clear and more direct in my thoughts. On the home front, the kids respect my work hours and we all sit around the dining table working each day as they focus on online school and we focus on work. This is a culture change and my kids will be equipped for the future.

Making the switch from former to newer methods and vice versa

I will rephrase the question differently; would we go back to the same way we did business? The answer is: absolutely not. Live, as we know it, has changed forever and by extension, business. The need for us to embrace technology and work differently has never been more critical, with less human interaction in the future and the need for us to transact technology companies around the world will get a surge. However, the complexity of doing business will also increase. Employees in Nigeria will get options of working from home and internet has gradually moved from a luxury item to a basic need.

Any worries post-pandemic?

I have said this many times that no one knows the full effect of this pandemic on the world at large and businesses. Yes, travel is currently at zero currently and we are speculating that the industry will take a massive hit over the next couple of years, however, online businesses like ours are optimistic for the future.

 What keeps Bayo Adedeji going?

I am not sure I will call my travel experience deep and vast because I have been in the travel industry for less than 2 years, however, I am a retail guy that happens to love finance and data. So, what keeps me going is the customer, our ability to take care of the customer and find new ways to take care of their needs keeps me going. I also get a lot of encouragement from the people I work with every day, seeing 400+ people show up every day for a singular purpose of delighting the customer makes me happen and energised.

We asked him to praise himself

I don’t have much to boast about honestly. I am a simple guy that grew up in Ogba and went to OAU. Not sure I am special but I know I am lucky and sometimes in life luck is all you need.

The trav-disruptor

Like everyone else, I wish a few things are better but overall, I think the industry is making progress and the customers are getting more savvy which makes us all better. Competition is fierce and that allows customers to get the most value out of every one of us.

What don’t we know about Bayo?

I went to Iree poly first before heading to Ife. So I have some polytechnic education in me.

When he is not working?

I love to shoot pool, grill and smoke meat in my smoker. 

Wakanow is a full-service online travel company that provides a one-stop booking portal for Affordable Flights, Hotels, Visa Assistance, Holiday Packages, Airport Transfers, an international Travel SIM, a Prepaid Travel Card, a Loyalty program, and much more. Wakanow has offices in Ghana, Dubai, UK and Kenya with aggressive plans to expand into several African countries and the rest of the world. 

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