Meet the Team: Bethany Betzler
Bethany’s work focuses on socioeconomic development through design, media, and culture. She received her MA at the University of Arts London and studies entrepreneurship at London Business School, where she researched the impact of entrepreneurs on cities. Her career has led to the diversity of experiences. She’s taught human-centered design to university students, led user research for healthcare tech firm, consulted start-ups on brand strategy, and spearheaded several entrepreneurship initiatives. She also has created content for publications such as Monocle, Outside, and Oak Street Magazine. Bethany volunteers as an organizer for CreativeMornings (a global monthly speaker series) and loves travel and trail running.
Bethany Betzler presently serves MyBhutan as our Client Experience Manager. Following are the answers she had for some questions we asked her during her second visit to Bhutan:
What inspired you to join MyBhutan?
I first visited Bhutan for the Bhutan International Marathon in Punakha. Like many, I was inspired by the land and the people of this country. However, when I was introduced to Matt (our Founder/CEO) and learned about the vision and mission of MyBhutan, it was then that I realized that this was a chance to not just contribute to the growth of Bhutan but also to help grow an innovative company as well.
What are the challenges you face working for a company based in Bhutan?
As a foreigner working in Bhutan you have to confront your biased way of doing things and learn to step back and listen to the locals. It can also be necessary at times to slow down and go with the flow because sometimes a "quick trip" to check out a monastery for a future client trip can turn into an entire afternoon of having tea and chatting with monks. This can be stressful when you are on schedule to get something done, but it always reminds me that taking this time to connect with one another is an important part of gaining knowledge of and appreciation for Bhutan. Stepping out of my comfort zone and immersing myself in the culture is also what makes the work so exciting. The challenges present opportunities to stretch professionally and expand my worldview at the same time.
How is MyBhutan different from other travel companies operating out of Bhutan?
The first thing I noticed about MyBhutan is its commitment to good design. This has always been important to me, especially coming from a previous role where I coached design-based businesses. And it's not just MyBhutan's commitment to developing the best media or the best user interface but our company's approach to service design as well. We start each engagement with a new client with an empathetic process of truly learning why they want to come to Bhutan and what they want to gain from the experience. We dedicate ourselves to also discovering new and interesting experiences across the country so that we can bring our guests deeper into the landscape and culture of Bhutan, and we're always excited to collaborate with our partners to create the most unexpected itineraries for the country.
What do you think of the present scenario of the tourism industry of Bhutan? Any changes you think is required for improvement?
There are many factors that impact the present state of tourism in Bhutan, but I think there are some simple changes in perspective that could help improve some of the services that we offer in the country. More and more, our clients implicitly explain to us during the trip planning process that they don't want to feel or be treated like a tourist, they want to feel like the guest of a local. While I believe that a certain formality is projected from the service providers (hotels, restaurants, guides, etc.) out of respect for each client, it may come across to certain tourists as a lack of warmth or the camaraderie that they crave. The more that we can help our clients to feel like they belong, the better experience they will have. This goes back to the importance of truly getting to know each guest before they arrive and making sure that the entire feel of the trip is customized to the experience that they want to have.
Where do you see MyBhutan in the next ten years?
I am looking forward to the growth of our team over the next ten years. With continued growth, we can expand our services and provide an even greater level of perfection to every detail of a client's journey across Bhutan.
I also see us working more closely with other organization in and outside of Bhutan so that we can spearhead new initiatives that help the Bhutan tourism industry to become more environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial to all of the communities in the districts and villages throughout Bhutan.
I see MyBhutan being a leader in the movement towards community-based tourism in Bhutan and making sure that the greatest beneficiary of our efforts is in fact the Bhutanese people and their land.
INTERVIEW BY KARMA YONTEN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREW STUDER