Online travel company Expedia has hired Lavinia Rajaram, as senior public relations manager – Asia Pacific for Air Asia Expedia, effective immediately.
Based in Singapore, she will report to US-based Sarah Gavin, Expedia VP for global communications, and work closely with Jonty Neal, Asia Pacific CEO for Air Asia Expedia Travel.
Rajaram will be focused on driving external consumer PR and internal communications across the region, covering all brands under the company’s portfolio. Her scope covers 11 markets in APAC: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.
She will also be responsible for Air Asia Go, a joint venture with Air Asia announced in April 2011 that is present in seven APAC markets.
In an interview with PRWeek Asia, Rajaram said she will be focused on providing an Asia-centric bridge between global PR and local teams.
"We have strong PR programmes running already in many of our local markets and my priority would be to partner our flagship brand leaders of Expedia and Air Asia Go to amplify this work and drive new programmes where we don’t have them today," she added.
Prior to joining Expedia, Rajaram was regional marketing & corporate communications manager at Dentsu Aegis Network. She boasts over a decade of PR work, specialising in consumer and technology areas.
Her career includes a stint at Weber Shandwick and various in-house communications roles for companies including Microsoft and Shell Malaysia.
Asked about her philosophy over the practise of communications, Rajaram said the myth among many is that PR is all about getting articles published, stories aired or making it to the top of the search engine.
"That all helps, but it’s not the whole story," she added. "I’ve learnt over the years that effective public relations is the kind that moves decision makers to act, the result of an overall strategy that turns readers or viewers into passionate, loyal customers."
On a personal front, Rajaram shared that she always practiced the principle of sticking to her words.
"It’s a basic rule of building trust with your stakeholders and media partners. If you give your word, you must keep it. It’s a choice," she said.
"I tend to avoid absolutes in PR because there are (almost) always exceptions, but when it comes to our word, there are no exceptions. You either keep it or you do not, there is no in between."