They say you're never too old to learn. They also say you learn best from your mistakes. Most of us know this already but never has it been so clear as it has been the last few months for us at Vouchers for Vietnam.
Let's go back to the birth of the concept for Vouchers for Vietnam to see how we have learned lessons from the tourism industry in Vietnam. Most of our team have been living and working in Vietnam for some time now and it's impossible to miss the limitless opportunities for entrepreneurship evident in every corner of the country. After some brainstorming and research we identified a niche on the tourism industry that was heavily linked to the luxurious way we enjoy our travels. The supply of luxury 4* and 5* hotels in the Vietnamese tourism market is growing at breakneck speed and in the not too distant future we are going to see a surplus emerging whereby the number of hotels far outnumbers the number of tourists able to afford this luxury.
This is where the idea was conceived. Why not pre-meditate this issue and put in place solutions where there are only winners. Hotels offer discounted rooms and we help by using our marketing expertise to increase the number of guests at their hotels. Customers pay a one-off $100 fee for our voucher book and get $1000's in discounts. Win-Win.
The initial idea of offering a vintage voucher book with a modern twist that tourists could keep for a keepsake of their trip to Vietnam.
We spent a year researching and developing this concept and really understanding the industry and what transpired was that the top international brand hotels in Vietnam, were not ready to offer these discounts to customers due to having high levels of guests and bookings in 2018. Instead of waiting for a few years for the potential oversupply of hotels in Vietnam we have decided to change direction, leaving scope for revisiting the 4* and 5* discounts in future. It was time for a rethink. With the extensive knowledge we have gained in the tourism industry in Vietnam it wasn't difficult to redevelop our strategy and put it straight into action. We realised the following issues with our current offering:
We never focused on the 3* luxury and boutique hotels that we know so much more about due to our own experiences - we firmly believe in experience over knowledge.
We were far too focused on luxury hotels and neglected to pay enough attention to how well the tour operators provide a luxurious service to their customers - we now have a more balanced approach to our services; effort being placed in developing a wide range of hotels and tours.
Our service was not personable enough. We live and breathe travel and tourism in Vietnam so why not use our extensive knowledge and experience to offer advice and a more personal touch to helping people plan their once in a lifetime travel plans to Vietnam? We are now developing an advice and support section of our website.
We were close to launch but soon realised that doing business in Vietnam relies on networks and partnerships with local businesses. We are now working with several partners in bringing excellent luxury hotel and tour services to our deserving customers so that when the website is finished, we can immediately advertise and begin offering the substantial discounts we have always planned to.
With all this effort and hard work being put into developing a revised and more focused strategy, some of us decided it was time for a well deserved break. What better way to get out of the city and let the fresh air stimulate the brain cells for further entrepreneurial thought processes? We decided that a retreat 7 hours away from Hanoi is just what we needed. There's only 1 luxury hotel in Pu Luong Nature Reserve and only a handful of tours operating in the area but if you ever get the chance to get on a motorbike and make the journey from the north into this area South West of Hanoi, do it. Driving through the villages at some of the highest points in the nature reserve we constantly enjoyed a perfect example of the amazing scenery in Northern Vietnam. This untouched part of Thanh Hoa province is now in the top 3 on our list of places to visit in Vietnam. A special gift to our readers is this little nugget of information - find where the provinces of Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa meet near Nam Muoi, then get your photographic equipment ready!
Check out our instagram and facebook for more images of where we stayed during our short break, just south of the recommended Nam Muoi Village.
The remote area around Ban Hieu Garden Lodge, Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
As we alluded to at the start of this blog entry, life-long learning never ends. We will continue to learn and adapt to bring our customers the best service and discounts possible so that during their stay in Vietnam, they experience and develop a love for this amazing country as much as we have.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our latest news.
The Vouchers for Vietnam Team.