As Vietnam’s domestic tourism market continues its upwards trajectory, one local start-up is aiming to solidify the country’s fragmented industry.
Avid traveller Trịnh Dình Minh has relished visiting new destinations across his homeland while pursuing an engineering and IT degree. Trinh and his friends would visit then less-known areas, such as the northern mountainous provinces of Ha Giang, Moc Chau and Bac Kan.
Said Trinh: “Then, most tourism was focused on popular places, such as Halong Bay. We realised the potential of these (less-visited) destinations and decided to create scheduled tours, which were very popular.”
In 2011, Trinh launched PYS Travel, and organised private tours to more off-the-beaten-track spots that were geared mainly towards the domestic market, with some international arrivals.
Fast forward to 2016, Trinh noted a spike in demand for domestic travel. However, the booking process proved cumbersome, with tourists largely having to book transport, accommodation and activities separately.
Wanting to provide a one-stop online shop for domestic travellers while offering tourism players an additional platform to promote and sell their products, Trinh set about partnering with airlines and hotels to create Tago.vn, a subsidiary of PYS Travel. The company was launched in 2017, offering tourists a variety of options for holiday packages that included flights and accommodation.
Trinh said: “Tago.vn was born to help people make their holidays easier and happier. We wanted to provide a one-stop-shop solution for customers, so they can book and enjoy trips easily, which encourages more travelling. (Using the platform) is convenient, time-saving and gives customers better prices than booking each service separately.”
The average trip length for Vietnamese holidaymakers is four days, as compared to seven nights for other Asia-Pacific countries, according to a Visa Global Travel Intentions report.
Since its launch, Tago’s customer base has grown from 9,500 annually to more than 12,000 in 2018, putting it on track to hit nearly 18,000 this year, and expand to over 34,000 by 2021.
Gross merchandise value has also increased from US$1.2 million in 2017 to US$2.2 million last year. This is estimated to reach US$3.8 million this year, and grow to more than US$7.5 million by 2021.
Having secured partnerships with hospitality giants, including Vinpearl, FLC Hotels & Resorts, as well as Accor and Flamingo, Trinh said that Tago offers companies an easy and additional avenue to sell their products.
He added: “For suppliers, like hotels, they have more channels to sell. As Tago sells packages instead of just hotel rooms, the prices are hidden so hoteliers can (decrease) prices during the low season without creating any conflict with other selling channels.”