Luxury travel is no longer limited to the domain of the millionaires. For luxury players, the new rule is that you only need to have beautiful products for the right people seek out.
There are three major product categories; home luxuries, personal luxuries and experiential luxuries such as luxury travel, entertainment, fine dining, beauty, spas and massage services.
When money is no object, the wealthy have plenty of choices from among the many luxurious travel experiences in the market but it is service quality that makes them feel special and earns return visits.
The “Luxury Travel Ltd” brand is smart and to the point. “The pampering starts from the time bookings are made.” said Pham Ha, founder and CEO of Luxury Travel Ltd, Vietnam’s first luxury tour operator.The definition of luxury tourism is no single definition and the term of luxury is not the same for every one.
Today’s luxury traveler is not only sharp, experienced, informed, well-traveled and adventurous, but also has an eye for value and personal servicein a credit crunch environment.
Luxury travelers have particular requirements and are people with time and money for their holidays. They are usually FITs and not group travelers, seeking qualitative experiences and demanding personal and confidentialconciergeservice. They often have requirements that, to the average person, seem absurd but which should be evaluated in relation to the amounts spent for their acquisition.
“From first contact, our guest will receive an email in which we let them know about our service. So even before they arrive, our guests can ask our luxury travel advisor to, for example, book for them a game of golf or a spa treatment, or charter a junk, or even secure for them tickets for a show or event here in Vietnam. Luxury tour operator must exceed travelers’s expectation and surprise them.”
“Our luxury limousines pick up visitors from the airport and they are greeted upon arrival by their names and are escorted to their rooms. Guests like that personal touch and special treatment. They will always be asked whether we can assist them in any way – if they need a car and/or a driver, or perhaps if it’s a special occasion, whether they’d like us to organize a special dinner for a couple in a hotel suite, or a nice romantic dinner on a balcony or in a cave in Halong Bay or on the beach in Nha Trang.”
PhamHa believes that it is this personal service that makes guestsmore loyal. Luxury travelers these days include a growing number of the middle class, who reward themselves for jobs well done. Hotels, consequently, are scrambling to outdo each other in providing them specialized services.
“Luxury travel advisors and customer service teams have never been more important than now because what we have found is that the luxury traveler wants ultimate service,” continued Ha. “There are reading materials such as magazines and luxury travel guides book but our luxury travelers, we know, may not read them. They want personal service, so they will ask our travel advisors and rely on them to recommend everything, even if it’s where to buy an “ao dai dress or a painting.”
During their free time, guestsare free to request helicopter tours, cycling tours, scuba diving, snorkeling, restaurant reservations, meetings with artists, cooking instructors and designers, shopping recommendations, spa reservations, tours with special-interest lecturers, and exclusive access to local activities and cultural events. The touris very flexibleandeach daycan be customized to suit individualenergy,interests and schedules.”
Pham Ha said his tour company attracts an equal mix of MICE and leisure travelers and many of them like custom holidays with special interests. “Businessmen play golf, but what has developed over the last year or so are the spa destination holidays, in which our packages fit extremely well.”
Their guests tend to be fairly low key although many are “very powerful people in their own right”, he said.
“Our guests come here because they want to experience the best of the best in Vietnam, relax in style, and they want to be discreet and have the best available service. Security and safety is key as well because they want to be able to feel at ease.”
Luxury Travel Ltd receives bookings both directly or via tour operators and travel agents.
Established in 2004, Luxury Travel is a privately owned specialist luxury travel company, founded and run by Pham Ha who has extensive world travel knowledge and an active role within the company and the development of luxury tourism industry in Indochina, Myanmar and Thailand. Luxury Travel has won numerous travel awards for excellence over the years.
“We get a lot of our business through our luxury tour operators. We are associated with very top end tour operators in the US and Europe and Australia and the rest of Asia. Vietnam in particular has more luxury tourism products to offer and is emerging a hot destination in Southeast Asia. We expect a good year ahead for Vietnam as luxury tourism looks stronger and we expect 30% growth in 2013.” Reveals Pham Ha.