A new hotel business consultancy, Wafaifo Optimisers, has been launched in Vietnam to serve hoteliers in the country and across Indochina.
The three initial Optimisers will draw on many years’ of hotel industry expertise of its co-founders: Wafaifo Hospitality Managing Director, Mr. Pieter van der Hoeven, Commercial Director, Mr. Mikkel Krantz, and Deputy Managing Director, Ms Uyen Ngo.
The Wafaifo Optimers aim to appeal to local hotel owners in Indochina who want to emphasise local experiences for guests, maintain international quality hotel standards, and build profitability in a post-Covid-19 tourism era of growth.
The Optimisers’ goal is to help hotel owners assess and evaluate the relationship that the hotel may have with a management company. The Optimisers will make sure that the right brand is on a hotel. They will help determine if an owner is ready to run the property themselves, or would be better served with an international brand.
On sales and distribution, the Wafaifo Optimisers believe that with technological developments, efficient sales distribution doesn’t necessarily have to rely on major online travel agent platforms such as Booking, Expedia, Hotelbeds, Agoda and others, which can take over 20% in commissions.
“Wafaifo Optimers will help independent hotels by conducting impartial, clear-eyed analysis of the hotel’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities,” said Mr van der Hoeven.
“Our aim is to empower hotel owners on strategic direction. With the owner, we will clinically evaluate whether the hotel is best served with a brand or operating independently. We will advise on pricing and positioning, create standard operating procedures and make sure the hotel meets the specific needs of its target markets,” he said.
In addition to ensuring that hotels are compliant with health and safety requirements and relevant tour operator needs, the Optimisers can also make recommendations on food and beverage, spa, guest services, housekeeping, sales and marketing policies, and more.
“The needs and expectations of, for example, Western, Japanese, Indian and local guests vary,” said Mr van der Hoeven. “We will advise the hotel owner so that he or she can maximise results in an affordable and efficient way.”
After researching the hotel sector across Indochina, Mr Krantz said that many hotel owners are questioning whether hotel management contracts still provide optimum profits – in particular the benefits of loyalty programmes, which are always being re-invented.
“In these situations, Wafaifo Optimisers can come in and evaluate the hotel’s operations. We can then show the owners how they could potentially do it better and maximise results,” he said.
With new sales distribution channels and direct booking websites, there are global, regional and local opportunities like never before, said Mr Krantz, adding that Wafaifo Optimisers are independent and can appeal to all sizes of hotel operations and budgets.
The consultancy launches at an optimistic time when Vietnam’s GDP growth for 2022 was 8.02% (the highest rate since 1997), neighbouring China has lifted its Covid-related travel restrictions, and Vietnam Airlines reported that it carried 18 million passengers in 2022, up from 6.1 million in 2021.
In 2023, the Vietnamese government also plans to spend heavily on infrastructure developments that will boost domestic road and air connectivity.
On tourism arrivals in early 2023, Vietnam is seeing strong growth from relatively new markets such as India, the Middle East, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Against this backdrop, Wafaifo Optimisers are also developing the all-new Wafaifo Resort Hoi An, which is scheduled to open in the heritage city in central Vietnam in January 2024.
The new consultancy has also launched a monthly market insight report on the latest hotel developments, GDP, aviation and top line travel industry news from Vietnam and the region. The intelligence they gather informs their policy recommendations to hoteliers.