Ctripper: Meet the Team—Stephan Larose

by Emily Eliot
Posted: September 13th, 2010 | Updated: June 21st, 2011 | Comments
Ctrip Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel agency (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. Meet the team that brings you all of these great deals.... >>> When did you join Ctrip? I originally joined Ctrip when the GM here spotted me as a corporate spy working for Expedia in 2008. It was surprisingly cheap to turn me… but my loyalty is beyond question. What do you do at Ctrip? I’m like one of those all-in-one Leatherman multi-tools. I am Ctrip’s official robot voice, when you phone our hotline, 400 619 9999, my sunny cheer can be heard beaming to you straight from the bowels of our dust and grime-coated, pre-transistor age, mechanical goliath of a phone answering system. I’m also the English customer service overseer. I train our phone and email respondents to deliver the vastly superior service and English fluency that has caused huge market share losses in our competitors, as well as a raft of suicides among industry peers working at rival outfits.  I also have a hand in creating our massive, but still not comprehensive, China travel guide, ChinaTravel.net. Apart from that, I get to work on our lively blog – the China Travel Blog, where I primarily focus on hotel-related content. Sadly, this often entails forced nights sleeping in utterly horrible conditions in new 5-star hotels or terribly welcoming boutiques. Imagine the opportunity to eat fine cuisine at any time of the night, a room with a four-poster bed, bathrooms with jet-tubs and no street noise whatsoever! It’s torture! What’s your favorite airline? Spring Airlines. Yes, I’m a sadist. Pity my subordinates. Where do you call home? I like to call home home if that’s alright with you. What is the farthest you have been from home? I am currently residing on pretty much the direct opposite side of the planet from the place where I was raised. Apart from the time I was transported 250 light years away in the blink of an eye by some really touchy-feely types speaking some sort of horribly hung-over sounding Sumerian, it would be Bangkok. What is the longest flight you have ever taken? 14 hours, like I said. My drunken, gravel-voiced, Sumerian-speaking hosts had something better than a plane. What is the most beautiful place you have ever been? This is an impossible question. Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Alberta, British Columbia and Thailand have all opened my eyes to heart-breaking beauty. The Earth is an incredibly rare and beautiful gem in an otherwise infinite expanse of darkness and nothingness. Would you observe the five second rule in the streets of Shanghai? I’d avoid all contact with those streets except with a Hazmat suit where it not so deadly hot and humid all the time. What is your favorite Chinese dish? Can’t get too specific there, but I’m partial to Xiang and Sichuan cuisines. Do you collect key cards from hotels you’ve stayed at? Do you steal the shampoo? I’m too good a thief to steal objects of such little value. I like to employ my talents to their fullest potential. If airplanes could be filled with anything for you to sit/lay on what would it be? I’d turn the place into a shag-covered “kitty box,” like Lenny Kravitz has got it in his house; every wall and piece of furniture extremely soft to the touch. It’s really quite affecting. If you could have a private bus, helicopter, plane, or spaceship, which would you choose? Why? Well, you put spaceship in there, so I’m going to have to loosely interpret that and say Jabba’s sailing barge from Return of the Jedi. You can’t roll a 747 up to the party, and if you gotta hit a party in Madrid, why not warm up with a month-long sailing barge cruise to the location? Bottomless Tattooine Toad Vodkas for everyone!
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