Connecting Asean to enhance international tourist flows

May 03, 2023 | 16:22
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ASEAN is incrementally forming chain connections to promote the growth of long-term international tourists. Meeting the expectations of international travellers is crucial to Vietnamese tourism. Many people are familiar with Vietnam, specifically Ho Chi Minh City, but is there more to Vietnam than the southern metropolis?
Connecting Asean to enhance international tourist flows
Sandy Wee, senior regional director of Sales Asia-Pacific, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

There is the magnificent, historical city of Hoi An that is perhaps not marketed as heavily overseas. I believe that the destination’s marketing activities are crucial for showcasing the country and luring Americans and Europeans who wish to immerse themselves in the culture. Sustainability is also critical. Everyone wants to know what the country and hotels are doing in terms of sustainability.

The first imperative is that ASEAN cooperates to facilitate travel and expand air connections. Next are the visa arrival requirements. How simple is it to obtain a visa, and what are the necessary steps and procedures? Ease of entry will greatly facilitate travel. It is all about the efficiency of the process.

Today, there are many more options for travellers seeking accommodation. The lack of visitors may be a result of global marketing efforts. Consequently, I believe that tourism organisations play a crucial role in destination marketing.

Vietnam is an undoubtedly stunning nation. It has much to offer in terms of culture, attractions, and natural splendour. But what matters most is how it is marketed overseas. When competing with other destinations in the region, such as Thailand and Indonesia, the nature of the tourism boards’ actual marketing campaigns will be a crucial factor.

Therefore, it is crucial that the countries in the region, the attractions, the hotels, and the land proprietors, all work together to promote the destination on international markets.

In Vietnam, hundreds of hotels are and will be constructed within the next few years, along with dozens of new hotel brands. We must first market the destination, after which they will choose their hotel. So, branding and education is the first step in informing everyone about what and how diverse the culture is. And the emphasis should be on experiences. It is about more than just tourism.

In fact, every traveller will have different desires for their holiday. Some prefer cuisine, others prefer buying goods, and still others prefer culture. Thus, it depends on how the destination is really marketed to accommodate these distinctions. It could be either professional or leisure travel.

As a Singaporean, I live in a city where the weather is sweltering. I would love to visit Vietnam’s highlands and have a peaceful holiday away from the metropolis. This is precisely what I desire. Others may desire a city or something else. It really is about segmentation and catering to the various requirements of travellers. Are they conducting business? Are they accompanied by family? Are they appearing to be on their honeymoon? If I’m a couple, where is the first site I should consider? That should already resonate with individuals. It is clear that there must be very targeted segmentation if you wish to draw various types of travellers.

Those who truly desire travel convenience must secure the flight, the hotel, and the location of their lodgings. Therefore, if you remove one of their concerns, they will be able to decide because there are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Cambodia as other options. But it is possible that Vietnam can be the top choice in the region. Consequently, with the influx of Chinese tourists, we can see that demand and interest in Vietnam is rapidly increasing.

For concepts and revenue solutions, it is crucial that we work closely with hotels to accurately price and forecast their room rates, ensuring that they target the appropriate guests. Regarding technology, it is vital that we introduce education to the Vietnamese market. We are aware that when guests arrive at hotels, it is essential that they be able to offer the hotel’s loyalty and the guests’ return. Therefore, it is crucial that we, as suppliers and vendors, collaborate closely together.

In addition, Vietnam is vital for us because it is still expanding. We’ve seen a lot of interest ever since the pandemic, with all the hotels opening up, and there is a significant human resource issue in Vietnam. In this, we are searching for hotel employees with the necessary skills. It is very challenging.

Over the past couple of years, many people fled the hospitality industry and did not return. Therefore, it is essential that hotels continue to improve training for their staff. We firmly believe in educating the Vietnamese market so that they can advance their education and comprehend how the hospitality industry functions.

When you can provide this education, you are not merely performing a mundane task, but advancing to the next level.

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By Sandy Wee

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