Ha Long Bay cruises offer rooms at discounted rates to attract guests

By Tu Nguyen, Bich Phuong   February 12, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
Cruise tickets in Ha Long Bay are being sold at prices 20-25% lower than usual to attract more visitors.

The seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, which lasts from Feb. 8-14, offers people a wide range of travel options.

Observations on Monday, the third day of Tet, showed that some tourist destinations in the northeast have not attracted many visitors, making sellers start to offer rooms at a discount to welcome more guests and reduce losses, especially with high-end tourism products.

Hoang Minh, the owner of a company specializing in domestic travel services, is currently holding a large inventory of Ha Long Bay cruise slots that need to be urgently filled.

He still has 34 spots available on a 5-star cruise operating by the hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, so he has reduced the price to only about VND1.5 million (US$61) per spot.

Besides cruises, he also has a large number of rooms at several resorts and hotels available. Minh believes that if he cannot sell all the remaining rooms soon, he will face significant losses during this holiday. The discounted prices started taking effect from Sunday afternoon, with prices being about 20-25% lower than usual.

Dinh Thi Thu Thao, commercial director of Mustgo, a booking platform with 2,000 hotel partners nationwide, commented that the availability of cruise rooms during Tet "depends on the marketing capabilities with the international tourists." If this is done well, some cruises can be fully booked.

Pham Ha, chairman of tour operator Lux Group, said two of his cruises, Emperor Cruises Ha Long and Emperor Cruises Nha Trang, were 90% booked for the holiday. However, another cruise of Lux Group named Heritage Cruises was scheduled to take a break until Tuesday.

Foreign tourists experience making banh chung (Vietnamese sticky rice cake) and viewing Hang Trong paintings on Emperor Cruises Ha Long on Feb. 11, 2024. Photo by Pham Ha

Foreign tourists experience making banh chung (Vietnamese sticky rice cake) and viewing Hang Trong paintings on Emperor Cruises Ha Long on Feb. 11, 2024. Photo by Pham Ha

Mustgo recorded a below-average number of guests booking rooms in the northern province of Quang Ninh, of which Ha Long is the first-class provincial city, during Tet.

Hotels from 3 stars upwards had an occupancy rate of 30-40%. Cruise products were more popular, achieving over 80% occupancy.

The slow sales situation also occurred at some homestays and villas on the outskirts of Hanoi, which were almost empty during the holiday.

Le Thi Thu Thuy, owner of the Anbooking system, a unit managing over 50 villas and homestays on Hanoi outskirts, said the occupancy rate of the entire system only reached about 20-30%.

Bungalows for two to three people were more popular, while large villas for groups of more than 10 people "had very few guests."

She said she hoped that the occupancy rate could be improved when companies organize networking parties before returning to work.

A representative of Anbooking explained that the long holiday leads tourists to travel to more distant destinations instead of renting nearby villas for relaxation. Therefore, mountainous areas in the north or provinces in the central region will welcome a considerable number of guests from Hanoi compared to the capital’s outskirts.

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