“Preferential packages” stimulate shopping demand
When the Covid-19 epidemic was initially put under control in Vietnam, the Vinpearl hotel system and VinWonders amusement park launched the largest “preferential package” ever to promote online tourism. Accordingly, promotional vouchers with a discount of 50% each are available between noon and 2pm on the online platform of Vinperal and VinWonders from April 26 to May 2, including 14,000 vouchers for hotel rooms with the stay time until November 30 and over 30,000 for services in the amusement park until the end of July.
A tourism voucher from Vinpearl is priced VND2.5 million per person for a 3-day and 2-night luxury vacation package, including round-trip air ticket. The cheap cost and the expansion of the stay time to late November attracted many people to hunt for preferential vouchers. Similarly, in the context of the “frozen” tourism market due to Covid-19, many travel agencies have still sold a large number of tours thanks to discounted vouchers. Recently, a travel company launched 1,000 vouchers for 2-day-1-night excursions on Ha Long Bay by five-star cruise with discounts of 50%. The vouchers, which will expire the end of 2020, are available for all days, except the holidays. The price of a full tour package for two visitors is just over VND4 million; last year, this price was for one guest only and had to be booked at least one month in advance. The exploration of Ha Long Bay on “floating five-star hotels” is a new and attractive form of travel.
However, some experts noted that consumers should carefully study vouchers, especially those launched by small agencies and enterprises that are not popular in the market. Their vouchers can be vague and unclear on advertisement information. Le Ngoc Dung, a travel consultant, gave this advice to customers: “In order to buy tourism vouchers, users should carefully read the accompanying policies. The enterprises usually provide attractive offers in the vouchers and hide the attached conditions. In terms of law, they are still valid with these numbers so buyers should study them carefully to avoid money loss”.
Opportunities for turning situation around
With the aim of “high quality products at low prices”, vouchers have attracted the attention of many consumers even though they were launched during a time when the economy is in “hibernation”. According to the information technology research units, during the recent social distancing period, the number of people working online at home has increased; therefore, in contrast to sluggish traditional business activities, the demand for online purchases of almost commodities has also increased, especially for essential products (up 250%), kitchen appliances (up 49%) and fashion (up 42%).
Vietnamese people used internet for about 28 hours per week before the epidemic outbreak and spent at least 35-40 hours per week online during social distancing time, mainly via smartphones.
In mid-April, for the first time in Vietnam, the new-generation airline Vietjet Air presented its versatile “mutipurpose flight card” named Power Pass that allows passengers unlimited travel on nearly 300 green flights every day, on 45 routes around Vietnam. A passenger who owns a POWER PASS card will take advantage of 100% free of charge ticket pricing, free 15kg check in baggage, free 7kg hand baggage and especially no limitation on domestic flights during the card's validity. Passengers are not limited to schedule changes, at a small fee of only about VND100,000 each.
In addition, to meet the diverse demands of people, Vietjet Air has provided Power Pass Sky 6 cards (worth VND9 million each) for domestic flights within six months (until September 30) and Sky 12 cards (worth VND17 million each) for domestic routes within 13 months (until March 31, 2021). The airlines is also offering discounts of 50% on 100 Sky 6 and 100 Sky 12 cards as well as presenting VND300,000 to customers who pay via the new credit cards and international payment cards of HDBank.
The national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has also announced that it will upgrade its Flight Pass, a cooperative product between the airlines and Optiontown, a technology company aimed at developing ticket package utilities. This is the earliest ticket package product to have been launched in Vietnam, in July 2019. With just one purchase, passengers can own a package consisting of flight tickets to one or more of the many destinations operated by the airlines. The number of flights chosen ranges from 4 to 1,000, with a departure effect of 1 to 12 months depending on the needs of passengers.
The Flight Pass package has been further improved with many advantages compared to the similar products, such as the allowance of up to 400 people sharing a package, and flexible booking time up to six hours before departure. The package’s cost includes airfare, taxes, fees and surcharges; therefore, customers do not have to pay any additional expenses.
According to some tourism experts, the above-mentioned tactics are actually a form of “future sales”. As the products and services are sold with deep discounts, customers feel very happy and comfortable to pay money in advance and receive products later. This form has helped enterprises to boost short-term revenue, offsetting the cash flow shortage during the recent difficult time.
It can be seen that admist the epidemic outbreak, the enterprises still have opportunities to turn the situation around, towards the successes. However, they should calculate their capacities to avoid negative impacts later.