Travel companies this year have invested in technology and developed online channels, mostly via apps, to promote their products and sell tours.
On the occasion of Tet (Lunar New Year), an increase in tourism demand has inspired many travel agencies to sell tours via mobile apps.
With a few taps via an app, customers can book a tour package that includes flight tickets and accommodation at their desired destinations.
According to Người Lao Động (the Labourer) newspaper, technology has stimulated tourism demand and provided travel agencies with opportunities to expand their markets.
Khanh Nga, a resident of HCM City District 3, said that she often took advantage of her lunch break to look at potential family tours posted on trustworthy travel apps.
“A growing number of travel-related applications has made it easy for customers to plan their itinerary. It's not just air tickets or hotel rooms. We can book sightseeing tickets and airport pick-ups, among other services,” she said.
This Tet, Nga used the Vietravel app called TripU and looked at many tour options.
Minh Anh, a resident of Thu Duc District, said that he chose Phu Quoc as a destination for Tet and booked tourism services via TripU as well.
He said that it was fast and easy to book tours via the app. Users can choose to either pay online or visit Vietravel offices to make a purchase.
Truong Thi Thu Giang, deputy director of Vietravel’s marketing department, said that the surge of bookings via apps has proven that technology is having a significant impact on Vietravel’s business activities.
An app called Klook, an international self-service travel platform, is also expanding its network in Việt Nam. More than 75 per cent of Klook orders in 2019 were made via mobile devices, according to the app's statistics.
The number of orders placed during the day increased nine times from 2016 to 2018 as Klook was able to confirm bookings immediately for over 90 per cent of orders and offer a full refund via phone at tourism destinations, if necessary.
Nguyen Minh Man, media director of TST Tourist Company, said that technology had penetrated more deeply into people’s lives, even with older customers.
Customers could book tourism services and tours via official websites of travel firms, their apps, and other interactive channels as well as live chats at designated tourism sites.
Man said that his company in 2020 would focus on developing technology to increase the rate of direct advice of services and products to customers via its interactive channels.
Despite significant increase in sales, many tourism firms admitted that some customers still did not fully trust mobile services, especially online payments. Therefore, it is necessary to have consultants, especially with markets that need visas to enter.
In 2020, many travel companies said they would promote the development of online business with preferential policies to attract more customers.
Ngo Kien Cuong, head of Saigontourist Travel Service Company’s e-commerce business department, said that technology, particularly “smart tourism”, could efficiently analyse data, plan proper business development, and personalise products for each customer.
Since the company's investment in technology last year, the payment rate had doubled, generating an increase of 140 per cent in revenue, compared to 2018.
“To maintain the growth rate and meet new needs of online customers, the company plans to expand its products,” he said, adding that Saigontourist had prepared carefully for the introduction of its app.
The application of technology and digital marketing had also significantly reduced the cost of advertising and marketing activities, he said.
Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of Fiditour Travel Company’s marketing and communication department, said the proportion of tours being booked online currently accounted for 40 per cent of customers who have registered to use the company’s services.
She added that Fiditour would apply a new switchboard system in an effort to increase the rate of customers’ calls and invest in social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Zalo to promote interaction with customers and support the online sales of the company.