Potential of Vietnam’s Hotel Industry in 2024 and Ascott’s Strategic Vision

David Cumming, the newly appointed General Manager of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar region for The Ascott Limited (Ascott) - a serviced residence brand under CapitaLand Investment, shares his thoughts on the potential of the Vietnam hotel industry and his strategic vision for Ascott in his new role.


Kindly share your vision for the future of Ascott in the region?

I am honored to lead Ascott in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar into a new era, a new phase of development in the hotel industry.

At the 2024 Asian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), Ascott has just unveiled the “Ascott Unlimited” campaign – a year-long series of initiatives to mark its ambitious breakthroughs on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, aiming for a future with limitless possibilities amidst global changes and an increasingly developing travel perspective.

Since its establishment in 1984 with the opening of The Ascott Singapore, Ascott has become a pioneer in the serviced apartment sector in Asia-Pacific. Over the years, the company has built its own brand and executed strategic and rapid market penetration through acquisitions. Currently, Ascott is an integrated vertical lodging service operator, with about 950 properties in 220 cities worldwide under 14 brands.

In Vietnam, Ascott has established itself as a reliable brand in the industry, especially with Somerset, a familiar serviced apartment brand for business customers and long-term stay guests thanks to its modern living space and full amenities. The next step is to expand the business portfolio to hotels and resorts, targeting short-stay tourists.

Somerset Ho Chi Minh City serviced apartment complex overview

Residents’ waiting area at Somerset Hoa Binh Hanoi

In addition, we will offer additional services, including food and beverage (F&B), combined travel and conference services, incentives, rewards, events (MICE), spa services,… aspects that have not been fully explored in the serviced apartment model.

2024 also marks the milestone of Ascott’s 40th anniversary and 30 years of operation in Vietnam, so I am excited to accompany Ascott in realizing the goals set for this year.

Please share about the potentials and opportunities of the hotel industry in Vietnam in 2024?

In 2023, Vietnam’s tourism welcomed 12.6 million international visitors, a 200% increase compared to 2022, demonstrating strong recovery after the pandemic and positive prospects for the tourism industry in 2024. Furthermore, the decision to extend the visa to 90 days will provide more flexibility for tourists and open up opportunities for tourism activities in the coming year.

Domestically, the domestic tourism market is also growing rapidly thanks to the rapid growth of the middle class – those who have the ability to spend and high travel demands. In addition, I also see potential in green tourism when tourists nowadays prefer destinations with environmentally friendly activities. Another area with high demand in 2024 is MICE, as many businesses have resumed operations and event organization.

In general, Vietnam’s tourism industry in 2024 shows optimistic signs of growth with the recovery of tourists and business guests. Relevant agencies and departments need to enhance broader promotion of Vietnam’s image, thereby supporting the speed of recovery and industry growth.

So, what has The Ascott Limited prepared for these opportunities and challenges?

Ascott has made and is making changes to stay ahead of new trends in the industry, while adjusting the expansion strategy to become a full-service lodging provider. Specifically, we will focus on departments that drive operational efficiency, as well as appointing positions such as Operation Director, Commercial Director, and experts in F&B, spa, MICE, and wholesale markets.

In serviced apartment complexes, we will add and operate our own F&B and spa services. Meanwhile, hotels and resorts will introduce new F&B and spa experiences. Wholesale and MICE will be the necessary changes in our business model.

Restaurant area at Anmira Resort & Spa Hoi An by The Unlimited Collection

In addition, brand awareness is also something we need to focus on developing in 2024, especially Ascott’s 14 brands along with the benefits of the Ascott Star Rewards loyalty program. Finally, the company’s social responsibility activities, we will invest heavily to initiate more positive changes in carrying out sustainable development efforts.

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