All Business Trends in Vietnam in 2020 features:
Business trends 2020 – executive summary.
Sylvia Nguyen, Alphanam Group’s Head of Hospitality talks about the challenges Vietnam’s hospitality industry is facing in 2020.
What was the brightest spot in your industry, and for your team, in 2019?
For me, in 2019, the brightest spot was not a singular event but the gradual increase and stabilization of Alphanam Group’s hotel business. The hotels were operating consistently above 80% and we provided jobs and a training place for many tourism students.
Even during high occupancy (above 90%) we managed to minimize negative feedback, and continue working to improve ourselves every day. Being a lifelong learner is an important mindset to have. Success for hospitality is not a single day done right, but the right things, done unto each customer, every day.
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Given the current economic headwinds, in what ways will your industry adapt to changing conditions in 2020?
2020 is a tough year for hospitality. It would be naive of me to not start with this. The state of the world forces us to adapt frequently, keeps us on our toes as international and domestic news rolls in. This year, the general trend will be lean operations, cross-department training, and limiting redundancies.
When the economy is performing well, there are measures that were often delayed. Today is the right day to implement them. Anything that does not yield results must go. We also started extra measures to keep both our guests and our employees safe, as their wellbeing especially during this period is our top concern.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a wake up call for many tourism destinations because the customer profiles won’t be like this forever, and we need to be more creative in finding source markets and promoting ourselves. In order to do this, the tourism departments will play a big role in destination marketing and shaping the favorable conditions for tourism, from cleaning up the beach to other environmental movements.
How will the typical customer profile need to change in 2020, in your business?
The gradual travel ban is a test on how reliant we have been on international markets. Many countries with a healthy domestic market received a delayed response, only until social distancing is reinforced did they feel the impact. From this year onward, our customer profile will start becoming more diverse, including dedicated resources towards domestic travellers.
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General economic outlook in your sector for 2020 onwards: positive, cautiously positive or negative?
I’m always a cautiously positive person, no matter which year I’m asked! I take my role as a board member and an executive seriously; and in both roles, I always look for ways to manage risks.
What sort of bounce will your industry see after the pandemic passes?
Many of my friends are already optimistically planning future travels. I think traveling is a part of the modern lifestyle. People yearn to do more, feel more, and explore more than their daily routines. It actually starts becoming a necessity for a particular market segment. As the love for exploration does not decrease over time, but only increases, especially after a crisis, we are getting ready for the bounce after the pandemic passes.
Across the board, what sort of businesses and leaders do you expect to emerge from this crisis?
The last few months have been a great experience for me as a leader. It has been stressful, for sure, but the lessons were invaluable. The type of leaders that would emerge from this crisis will be the ones that are detail-oriented, cautiously positive, and down to earth. I believe the best captains are made in rough seas. The crisis requires all leaders to roll up their sleeves, step into various roles, and step up their game. I also feel authenticity and compassion will be highlighted, especially after watching addresses from world leadership such as Chancellor Merkel and Queen Elizabeth II. The best way to lead in time of crisis is with humility, compassion, and lots of honesty.