Lotte Hotel Saigon taking advantage of state incentives

January 02, 2024 | 11:23
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It has been a year of tourism recovery with various incentives and encouraging policies. Suh Dong Soo, general director of Lotte Hotel Saigon, told Nhat Ha about his inside experiences of running a hotel smoothly and achieving growth.

How has your hotel taken advantages from current conditions in tourism and hospitality?

Lotte Hotel Saigon taking advantage of state incentives
Suh Dong Soo, general director of Lotte Hotel Saigon

In 2023, tourism recovered in Vietnam thanks to many encouraging policies from the government, such as as reducing VAT to 8 per cent. With this policy, the hotel room rate and services have been competitive with other countries in the region in order to attract tourists, and also to encourage them to spend more.

More and more international flights have been resumed to connect Vietnam with other countries, especially from new markets such as India and the Middle East, which help to bring more inbound guests to Vietnam, and it is a great opportunity for hotels in the city to have high occupancy during 2024.

The government relaxing visa policies has also supported a lot for inbound business to the city.

Lotte Hotel Saigon also benefits from support from the government. The hotel business in 2023 moved in the right direction with full-year average occupancy over 75 per cent, almost back to 2019 levels.

In 2023, we also renovated and launched two restaurants: Ottimo House – an authentic Italian restaurant, and The Canvas - a premium seafood buffet with airy, comfortable spaces, to improve service and food quality. Our goal is to continuously improve our services and facilities in this manner for our guests.

How do you operate your property and services towards greener and more sustainable trends?

In 2023, we reopened the classy garden and swimming pool for visitors to enjoy. We also organise activities every weekend such as yoga classes and badminton to help customers relax, and regenerate positive energy.

We are trying to improve the environment by continuously implementing compaigns such as using environmentally friendly products, reducing disposable items, and reducing waste.

Besides that, we also improved and enhanced the quality of the hotel’s food and beverage (F&B) outlets and culinary system, with the menu to evolve based on seasonal changes and culinary trends. This flexibility allows us to introduce new, seasonal offerings, keeping the dining experience vibrant and engaging.

Starting from 2024, our hotel will become a 100 per cent non-smoking hotel, providing a green and sustainable living environment for all guests. Currently, we also plan to change room amenities like shower gel and shampoo to a refill style instead of individual use. At the same time we will encourage our guests to re-use bath towels and toothbrushes.

What do you expect for 2024 in terms of tourism, hospitality, and the food and beverage market?

According to a recent survey by Internations, Vietnam is one of the 15 most liveable countries in the world. The government has plans to support corporates to develop by creating opportunities to attract more investment to Vietnam. This includes improving infrastructure like transportation and communication networks, which will stimulate economic growth.

I believe that the hotel industry, especially city hotels like us, will have more business opportunity in 2024 in terms of hotel occupancy as well as F&B business.

What can local authorities do to promote Vietnamese tourism and hospitality on the global stage?

Vietnam should ensure safety and security, and support the local economic development. According to the 2023 Global Peace Index Report, Vietnam ranks 41st. This is a positive signal that Vietnam has become a safe and attractive destination for international tourists.

The government should also retain the VAT at 8 per cent through 2024 to support the tourism and service industry.

In addition, the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism should also focus on and plan more international marketing activities to promote and introduce the country and people of Vietnam as a cultural heritage, and historical-cultural destination to the worldwide market.

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By Nhat Ha

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