Travel agent uses gamut of tactics to cater to SEA Games tourists

Posted by samakomlao Sunday, November 22, 2009

The travel agencies in Vientiane were not able to reserve any room from any of the four and five-star hotels here, so that they could not entertain the requests from the big groups of SEA Games tourists who demanded to be housed in such high-end hotels.

This is because the SEA Games organising committee had ?blocked? or reserved all such rooms for their VIP guests.

The reservation manager of the Lao Youth Travel, located in Vientiane?s glitzy ?Khemkhong,? Mr Thonglith Thammavong told KPL News last week that he had hotel reservation requests from SEA Games tourist group, as many as 200 to 300 person groups from Malaysia and Vietnam, but he had to turn them down.

He added that he had made counter offers to them, for provision of rooms in one, two and three-star hotels, but as they were bent on being housed only in the most luxurious hotels in Vientiane and so he was not able to do any business with them.
While he felt sad at having to forego such lucrative business deals, but he was not deterred by the setback as he knew he could rely on the traditional tourist business and tourist arrivals to this capital city had been trending upwards for the past three weeks.

Working out in his mind on a gamut of tactics to tackle the new and novel situation, he decided on a plan of action to best serve the tourists during the SEA Games period.

He would advise them to fly from Bangkok to Luang Prabang (north) for a two or three-day stay and then relocate to Luang Namtha (north) for just one night. The next stage would be to fly from Luang Namtha to Pakse (southernmost Champassak province) for a four-night stay.

Another class of tourists, Mr Thonglith mentioned were the second tier ones who would be happy to stay in one, two and three-star hotels and any of the local travel agencies would be able to cater to their accommodation needs.

One source of business, he mentioned, would be those SEA Games tourists who come in small groups, who would not demand to be housed in five star hotels and he could house them in the second tier hotels.

Last but not least he said he would offer to help the loner or twosome walk-in tourists during the SEA Games period, by offering to house them in guest houses that charge 10 to 15 USD per night.

This is the fourth of the series of a journalist?s walkabout in Vientiane?s tourist belt to source for ?stories? from the tourist outlets, with emphasis on their modus operandi.

It so happened that the walkabout period coincided with the coming SEA Games and so this journalist walked into a travel agency.

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