Vietnam

Vietnam travel agency’s experience in serving ultra-rich tourists

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All Asia Vacation CEO Nguyen Duc Hanh recently arranged a trip to Vietnam for American technology billionaire Bill Gates in early March. CEOs of leading companies over the past 20 years.

Most of them spend an average of $500 a day, he said, but some spend as much as $15,000.

However, reaching billionaires and other global celebrities is extremely difficult, and Hanh’s company had to find a way to contact their personal managers to pitch its travel products.

Its most time-consuming activity, lasting five years, was entering the ecosystem of a high-end travel company in the United States

Its clients include global celebrities and billionaires.

Hanh must pay an initial fee of $150,000, followed by annual fees.

He then waited five years for his partner to schedule an appointment in the United States, providing an opportunity to reach potential clients.

All travel packages for the company’s clients must be designed based on personal preferences, he said.

The most difficult tour he has ever done was in April 2017 for one of Canada’s four richest men.

They were a group of 11 people who wanted to relax in Da Nang and then go to Quang Binh to visit Son Doong, the largest cave in the world.

Hanh’s company had to solve two problems.

First, billionaire guests don’t have time to sit in a car for six hours by road from Da Nang to Quang Binh.

Secondly, reservations for Son Doong tours are limited and fully booked year-round, so arranging a tour on short notice is next to impossible.

Hanh said most ultra-rich clients are not in the habit of booking travel in advance and will only make last-minute travel decisions, but are willing to spend any money to get the experience they want.

After numerous meetings, Hanh’s company came up with a solution of flying by seaplane, a one-hour flight.

At first the seaplane operator refused saying “there is no such route”.

But after some efforts, a “new route” was opened that only served groups of 11 people.

The plane flew low, allowing the Canadian billionaire, whose identity remains secret, and his friends to see Vietnam’s beautiful coastline.

Later, Hanh’s company managed to arrange a private tour of Son Doong for the guests.

“Nothing is impossible. Saying no also means closing the door to customers,” Hanh said.

Vietnam’s destinations are no longer esoteric for international travelers, so Hanh’s company has found ways to offer new travel experiences.

In Halong Bay, for example, wealthy clients can easily book the most expensive yachts to spend the night in the bay.

But billionaires want their experiences to be unique.

Halong Bay has many beautiful beaches, but they are not used for many reasons, including safety. When the tide rises, some beaches are submerged.

To create a unique experience, Hanh’s company obtained permission from multiple government agencies to use such beaches during low tide. It then hosted a party there and cleaned up afterward.

When the billionaire wakes up on his yacht the next morning, he finds that the beach where the party was held has been flooded.

“Creativity is especially important when arranging travel for the ultra-rich,” Han said.

Even if every detail of your trip is carefully prepared, mistakes can still happen.

Hanh once arranged for a VIP couple to go to the home of a famous chef in Hoi An to learn cooking. Guests loved it, but later said the chef’s space was too big and made them feel “out of place.”

Another time, he organized some wealthy tourists to take a helicopter ride from Hanoi to Sapa, and from Sapa to Ha Giang.

In 2024, a helicopter carries ultra-rich guests from the mountains of northern Vietnam.Photo courtesy of All Asia Vacation

The Hanoi-Sapa trip went smoothly, but by the second leg of the trip, the weather was cloudy and the helicopter couldn’t take off.

“You can’t blame the weather,” Han said, but added that ultra-wealthy guests always have at least two backup plans for their travels.

In this case, travel agencies tell customers to travel by car instead and add additional services as “compensation.”

After years of catering to ultra-wealthy tourists, Hanh realized Vietnam had a lot going for it, especially in terms of its scenery, culture and friendliness of its people.

He said many billionaires prefer to experience sidewalk culture rather than live in seclusion.

“They come to Vietnam because they like the unique culture.”

However, Vietnam has struggled to attract VIPs due to a lack of direct flights, unfriendly visa policies and complicated approval procedures for special services.

Hanh pointed out that most of the super-rich North Americans who want to visit Vietnam must transit through the border on the way, a cumbersome task that deters many people.

Starting from March 4, Gates, accompanied by his partner Paula Hurd, paid a four-day visit to the central coastal city of Da Nang.

All Asia Vacation arranged a private trip for them to learn about Vietnamese tea and meditate on the top of Ban Co Mountain with tea master Hoang Anh Suong.



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