In July, consulting firm Grant Thornton Vietnam revealed that occupancy rates in Vietnam’s four-to five-star accommodation have grown slightly to 61.9%. In 2015 the proportion of international visitors decreased slightly to 81%, with corresponding increase in domestic guests.
“In the past, upscale hotels and resorts were predominantly occupied by foreign travellers. These days, we’re seeing more Vietnamese tourist, who may travel as couples, in big groups of friends or families.
This means the industry needs to adapt its offerings of four to five star accommodation,” said Trinh Minh Giang, CEO of VietManagement , organizer of Top Hotels Premier Day 2016 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
According to Banyan Tree Lang Co’s sales manager Nguyen Ngan Giang, Vietnam will become the next “exotic and less-travelled” destination in Southeast Asia that overseas travellers yearn for. This is especially true for those who have already been to Thailand, the most popular tourist destination in ASEAN.
As the number of both domestic and foreign travellers grows, more tailored services are crucial to satisfy diverse travel patterns and needs. For example, Tran Minh Ngoc, sale area director of Mia resort Nha Trang, noted that Vietnamese tourists often travel in the summer, while foreign guests usually take their holidays during the summer and Christmas periods.
‘Vietnamese guests also tend to travel in bigger groups compared to overseas tourists, thus Mia Nha Trang Resort recently launched a five –bed-room villa to accommodate groups of more than ten tourists,” said Ngoc.
Similarly, Carmen Marienberg, general manager of Almas Oasis Long Hai, said that the Santorini –style resort will introduce a range of new services I 2016-2017 to meet the requirements of the new demographic of guests.
“Our new offers range from weddings, wedding anniversaries, private, private BBQ parties and photoshoot packages to kid programmes, exploration tours, meetings packages and spa. We want to have something for everyone to enjoy,” said Marienberg.
A new way to lure travellers
It is apparent that competition in the hospitality industry will intensify as more players enter this lucrative market. Q2/2016 reports from Savills Vietnam show that the number of five-star hotel rooms in 2015 has soared by 37% year-on-year to reach 24,000 units. A third of these rooms are concentrated in the well-known coastal areas of Phu Quoc, Danang and Nha Trang.
“I think besides tailored services, hotels and resorts across Vietnam will team up with each other to exchange guests and benefit the entire industry. For example, a Danang-based resort may recommend its guests to visit a partner hotel in Phu Quoc and vice versa. This option is great because tourists usually want to explore a new destination in their upcoming travels,” said Minh Giang from VietManagement.
This guest-exchange method also works for international resort and hotel chains. Ngan Giang from Banyan Tree Lang Co shared that guests from different Angsana and Banyan Tree resorts around the world are encouraged to visit Lang Co and vice versa.
BRG Group- a local leading private group in finance, banking and golf resorts, has cultivated close ties with Hilton Worldwide, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, through operating Hilton Hanoi Opera and Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, and in the upcoming time new Hilton branded hotels such as Hilton Hanoi Westlake in Hanoi capital, and Hilton Haiphong & Residences and Doubletree by Hilton Golf Resort Do Son in Haiphong city.
At any project with BRG engagement, the group has made comprehensive investments, looking through customers’eyes and paying particular heeds to details, striving to bring their customers the best values.
Another solution that hoteliers may consider is combining digital and traditional marketing channels. For instance, travel exhibitions like Top Hotels Premier Day 2016 allow travelers to win vouchers and meet face-to-face with representatives from top resorts and hotels around Vietnam.
“Alma Oasis Long Hai resort is active on difference social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor, as we believe that this is the optimal way to connect with younger travelers. However, we also notice that older tourists prefer “a human touch” to their experience, which explains why Alma Oasis Long Hai also joins travel exhibitions and meets and delicacy tastings.
“As more resorts are built in remote areas of Vietnam, we think destination marketing will gain importance in the hospitality industry. It also helps create jobs for locals, thus a win-win situation,” she said.