Have a travel need? Try Changi Recommends

The best of Changi's selection, now at all 3 of Changi's terminals.

Holidays are meant to be relaxing but some feel it’s a pain to have to make all the arrangements, from booking tickets to getting wi-fi routers before that much needed break from work.

Meeting travellers’ needs, is how Changi Recommends started its value proposition in 2012.

From only one booth in Terminal 2 at Changi Airport, it now operates eight booths at all three of Changi's terminals. Changi Journeys speaks to Ng Yan Sheng, General Manager of Changi Travel Services, to find out how Changi Recommends has grown over the years, and what travellers really want.


CJ:    For the benefit of readers who are not yet acquainted with Changi Recommends, can you tell us a little more about it?

Changi Recommends was started by Changi Airport Group to meet the needs of travellers in a slightly different way from how an airport traditionally serves passengers. We have observed that passengers have on-location needs, and not every traveller plans in advance for his full itinerary, and accommodation and communication needs.  There are travellers who prefer to make their purchases only upon arrival, or just before departure. 

Changi Recommends aims to meet the needs of travellers across an entire value chain, from flight tickets and airport transfers, to sightseeing and communication requirements, so that it can be a one-stop shop. Our philosophy is not to reinvent the wheel, but find a better solution to current needs. 


CJ:    We heard rave reviews about Changi Recommends routers, and that they are really popular.  Can you tell us why so and have you been able to meet demand?

When we started this rental service back in 2015, most travellers were using pre-paid SIM cards.  But pre-paid SIM cards are troublesome to replace, and you won’t be able to retain your own number. Telcos offer roaming service too, but the roaming plans are rather costly.

Changi Recommends wanted to make data roaming overseas affordable, so we went looking for a better solution.  Wi-fi routers provide portability, number retention, and wi-fi sharing with up to five devices.  It is very economical for group travellers. 

We also make it easy and convenient for passengers to rent it.  You pick it up when you fly, and drop if off when you return.  Just make a reservation with a S$1 holding fee, and off you go.  You only pay for the days you have rented upon your return, with a waiver of the charge for the first day of rental. We have been increasing the supply of routers through the years, and yes, we are able to meet the demand. In fact, we have an entire assembly chain just processing the routers round the clock!

Staff at Changi Recommends preparing wi-fi router rental orders.

Having said that, we do sell pre-paid SIM cards too, as some travellers prefer them.  We have those for popular destinations, including the Maldives!

CJ:    Changi Recommends sells tickets to attractions in quite a number of countries in Asia, Europe and Singapore.  Of the attractions tickets, which is the most popular?

For local attractions, entrance tickets to the Gardens by the Bay are the most popular.  For overseas attractions, the tickets to Tokyo Disneyland move the fastest.


CJ:    We notice there is also a flight tracker on the Changi Recommends website, which informs users when a flight takes off, and when it lands at its destination.  What is the inspiration for that?

Many a times, whether we are receiving someone coming home, or seeing a family member off, we are always anxious to know the progress of the flight.  We thought we’d build a tracker for that.  Just input the flight number, and we will update you when the flight has taken off or landed.  This saves you from checking on that flight online multiple times.  Once again, we provide what travellers need. 

Screenshot of flight tracker seen by users.

CJ:    With the good breadth of travel services Changi Recommends offers, does it get repeat customers and do they enjoy any privilege?

Yes, customers who use our services more than 20 times a year now make up our Prestige customers and we tag a Relationship Manager to them.  They get priority check-in when they fly, and get to test-bed our new products.  We also invite them for focus group discussions to help us refine our products and services.  Their feedback has been invaluable in helping us keep our focus sharp.


CJ:    Is there anything new in the works that we should know about?

Yes, we are going to start a drop-off service for the return of the routers, to make it even more convenient for passengers.  Payment can be done at the drop-off kiosks just like you would check out at a supermarket.  That will easily double or triple our handling capacity for the rental of the wi-fi routers.

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