Khiri Travel Vietnam: Meeting the Challenges of 2018
It has been an amazing year for Khiri Travel Vietnam. With tourism booming in the country, there has been increased interest in new destinations and unique experiences. As a result, our team has been developing a number of new products and sustainable initiatives, and we are very proud of the results and the feedback that we have received so far from our clients.
To keep abreast of these changes, we have also expanded our team. We now have a new operations manager, Ms Hanh, in our Saigon head office and a new branch manager, Ms Hien, in Hoi An. Both bring considerable skills and experience to our team.
Our sales and operations teams have also grown – both in Hanoi and Saigon. We already have amazing people working for us in these destinations, but additional staff gives us an added edge and demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction – enabling us to maintain a high standard of quality – while serving our clients and customers.
Our annual staff trip this year saw us cross the border into Cambodia and visit our Khiri Travel colleagues and friends there. It was fantastic to spend a few days with the Khiri Travel Cambodia team and build on the already great relationship we have with them. It remains to be seen as to where we’ll be heading next year!
Professionalism has always been a key component in developing our business, and this year’s annual guide training included – not only discussions on Khiri Travel’s unique approach to travel – but highlighted the new signature day tours, while reinforcing how these tours differ from our standard day tours.
We also arranged several business English courses for our staff in Saigon. Two of these courses – writing and communications – have really helped our local staff members improve their competency when dealing with clients, guests, suppliers, as well as communication within the team itself. We are always keen to help our staff achieve their own personal development goals and will continue with such initiatives next year.
Product development has, of course, been an important part of expanding our business this year. We have launched two new Signature Experiences: Hoi An – A Path Less Traveled and Discover Hue, The Authentic Way, and we look forward to sharing these experiences with our clients. We have also added other new day tours that really take an immersive, local view of Vietnam.
In addition to our new day tours, we have expanded our ‘Personalities’ portfolio. These special encounters with local personalities give guests an opportunity to meet fascinating people from around the country, who genuinely want to share their stories and broaden the experience of our guests. We often hear that it’s not always the places you visit, but the people you meet that leaves lasting memories when traveling. We therefore want to give our guests the opportunity to meet these amazing people, who can provide unique insight into the culture and customs of the destinations they visit.
Our Unique Experiences collection is another new product that we created this year. More exclusive, but not necessarily high-end, these experiences are shorter and more refined. They can range from a private dinner on a secluded beach to being a spectator at a local football match, or discovering the local drinks and cocktails of bars in Saigon. There is something for everyone in this collection, and if you don’t find the perfect experience, talk to our team and we will put together something special for you!
Khiri Travel and Khiri Reach have been particularly active this year in Vietnam. Not only have we continued our support of the EPRC (Endangered Primate Rescue Centre) in Cuc Phuong National Park and worked with the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Hanoi, we have also been involved in numerous clean-up events co-organized with some of our great partners. We planted over 200 trees in Nam Cat Tien National Park with the help of students from Can Han School – part of our plans to offset our carbon emissions on World Environment Day – and helped organize events across the country for International Recycling Day, including a large recycling/upcycling conference in Saigon.
In addition, we became ChildSafe certified and underwent staff training on how to recognize and deal with abuse, the importance of keeping children safe, and how we in the tourism industry can have a positive impact on children’s lives.
In October 2017, Khiri Travel Vietnam became a co-founding members of IMPACT Vietnam. The idea behind this initiative is to bring together members of the travel industry, in particular DMCs – who are traditionally considered competitors – to work on sustainable projects together; set benchmarks for future sustainable practices, and promote sustainable travel throughout Vietnam.
We have been involved in some great initiatives with IMPACT Vietnam and we hold networking events on different sustainable topics every two months. We have also been invited as key-note speakers to a number of conferences and events, and we hope this will lead to greater awareness of the issues at hand and the establishment of new partnerships.
Our most notable project is in conjunction with Refill My Bottle. We took the lead in promoting the idea of a water refill network and there are now currently over 110 refill stations across the country with numbers increasing every day! These stations are not just for travelers but open to everyone, and will hopefully see the reduction of plastic bottles in Vietnam.
As a travel company we contribute to the problem of plastic waste every day and so we are constantly looking at ways to reduce our impact. If we can ask one thing of our clients, it is to ask their guests to bring their own bottles with them when they travel, or talk to us about buying their own refillable bottles and using the refill stations.
It won’t happen overnight, but we need to dispel the myth that the only safe water to drink in Asia is from a sealed disposable plastic bottle. Help us to eliminate the excessive use of these plastic bottles and do our part to keep Vietnam clean!
The New Year will bring yet more challenges, but we firmly believe we are ready to handle anything that is thrown at us! We hope that you will come and see for yourself, why Vietnam has such a special place in our hearts.