Holiday ownership promotes rapid recovery of Vietnamese tourism

February 14, 2021 | 18:09
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Booming in the west for the last few decades, the concepts of shared holiday ownership and resort memberships have conquered the market. Despite the heavy influence of the pandemic, these cooperative models are now becoming more popular in Vietnam’s tourism market, possibly promoting an early recovery while offering enticing advantages to participating hotels, resorts, and guests.
holiday ownership promotes rapid recovery of vietnamese tourism
Holiday ownership promotes rapid recovery of Vietnamese tourism

In mid-January, representatives of more than 200 leading resort brands in Vietnam such as Fusion Hotel Group, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc, and Silk Path Hotels & Resorts gathered in Hanoi to sign a resort service exchange and cooperation agreement on the VPASS platform – the first and only holiday exchange platform in Vietnam operated and developed by Vietnamese people.

By implementing and providing exchange services at more than 300 destinations in Vietnam and 4,500 international destinations in 2021, VPASS allows customers to exchange tens of thousands of holidays from famous tourist areas and high-end living facilities with service discounts of more than 50 per cent and premium services.

General director of the VPASS Asia Luxury Holiday Services JSC, Le Vinh Linh, said this smart service model will meet the unique needs of luxury customers and resort property owners at favoured destinations in Vietnam, contributing to extending the local holiday exchange network to Asia.

Vietnamese novelty

Holiday ownership is a travel model that provides resort rights to buyers at a luxury resort or hotel for a specified period each year or up to decades, depending on the life of the project. The advantage of this model is that customers can choose resort and travel locations anywhere in hundreds of countries in the exchange system. Therefore, holiday ownership can also be used as a gift or inheritance.

This model was born in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s when four families came together to own a house in the suburbs instead of opting for luxury hotels to save money and ensure regular annual holidays.

After that, the holiday ownership model quickly became popular throughout Europe, America, and gradually spread to Asia, becoming the most advanced resort trend in the world.

“Don’t rent the room, buy the hotel, it’s cheaper,” goes the slogan of The Societe des Grands Travaux de Marseille, the first business to provide holiday ownership at a resort based in the French Alps, which has quickly spread and attracted the participation of many leading names such as Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham, and even Marriott.

According to the “Timeshare Model Report: Situation and Solutions” published by the SMARTS research group at the recent Sharing Economy Conference held by CIEM, holiday ownership has appeared in 180 countries worldwide with the participation of 7,400 resorts. America is currently the largest holiday ownership market in the world, followed by Europe (25 per cent) and the Asia-Pacific (15 per cent).

Although forecast to have a compound annual growth rate of 8.3 per cent and a market size of $21.7 billion by 2024, holiday ownership is still a foreign concept to the majority of Vietnamese tourists. Many resorts and hotels in Vietnam also have no idea or are not eligible to participate in prestigious international holiday exchange networks such as Interval International or RCI.

Although Vietnam has a large number of potential customers for holiday ownership products, the annual growth rate of people travelling abroad stands at 9.5 per cent, ranking second in the Asia-Pacific (behind Myanmar) according to MasterCard International’s 2016-2021 Future of Asia and the Pacific outbound travel report.

“Vietnam is a very potential market for the holiday ownership model. We came here five years ago to find a partner, but no one meets the criteria. Now, everything has changed, the Vietnamese middle class is growing dramatically. Luxury hotel and resort systems are also constantly appearing,” said Kit Whalley, representative of Interval International.

The right time

Holiday ownership has appeared in Vietnam in recent years with service providers such as Alma, LiV Resort, and FLC Holiday, the holiday ownership service of FLC Group.

LiV Resorts connects with Interval International, a network of more than 3,200 hotels and resorts in over 80 countries with prestigious names such as Anantara, Accor, Marriott, Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Starwood.

FLC Holiday’s customers can choose to stay at the 5-star resort complex owned by FLC Hotels & Resorts around Vietnam, as well as more than 4,300 resorts and hotels worldwide through the RCI network – a partner of FLC Holiday.

Meanwhile, customers participating in Alma’s holiday ownership network will have the right to enjoy resort services owned by Alma Resort and RIC network’s hotels and resorts in more than 120 countries worldwide.

One of the other holiday ownership services that has also developed in Vietnam is Crystal Holidays. Owning a Crystal Holidays card, visitors can book hotels in a network of more than 100,000 destinations worldwide and 1,000 high-end hotels, with resorts in Vietnam coming 50-75 per cent cheaper than the usual booking price.

In 2020, the explosion of the all-inclusive model has created an opportunity for holiday ownership with special offers such as allowing the guest to actively separate or combine holidays to suit the family’s needs, as well as other conditions, from time to time without additional costs.

However, many Vietnamese tourists are still hesitant about holiday ownership. Apart from it being a new model, the biggest challenge is the lack of truly reputable suppliers to ensure the benefits of customers.

“To avoid unnecessary risks, customers should choose resorts and hotels that are members of a popular global holiday exchange system. When participating in reputable systems, customers will enjoy all benefits according to international standards and minimise unnecessary risks”, said Nguyen Ky Tam Anh, representative of LiV Resorts.

Le Luyen - Director of Sales and Marketing Dusit Princess Moonrise Phu Quoc

holiday ownership promotes rapid recovery of vietnamese tourism

Present in Vietnam for more than two years, Dusit Princess initially focused on the foreign tourist market. Therefore, since the pandemic, we had to shift to another segment and exploit the domestic market.

We had a strategy to attract customers and participated in affiliate programmes with partners. To attract the foreign experts living in Vietnam, we actively cooperate with digital platforms, and participated in membership programmes. We also signed a cooperation agreement on a local vacation exchange platform. Dusit Princess will offer the best price, while the partner commits to sell a minimum of 500 rooms in 2021. I think the biggest concern of customers now is not the price, but services and benefits.

Nguyen Van Duc - Director of Sales and Marketing Danang Mikazuki Resorts & Spa

holiday ownership promotes rapid recovery of vietnamese tourism

Digital technology is the trend of the future and I highly appreciate those who have the passion and dare to start a hospitality business based on digital technology at this moment.

Although our hotel has just opened in late December, we have quickly cooperated with technology partners, including a new Vietnamese one, in developing vacation exchange products. We also plan to partner with major vacation platform providers around the world as the international tourist market recovers. Currently, the tourism industry depends mainly on domestic tourists and foreigners living in Vietnam that are also our two strategic target objects. Choosing a Vietnamese vacation ownership platform is our way to support Vietnamese startups in the hospitality sector. With the cultural relevance and increasing tourism needs, I believe that vacation ownership will soon become a new resort trend in Vietnam.

By Quang Huy

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