Different from trips based on ultra-luxury or those that aim for uniformity, ‘Vietnam Autrement’, member of the network ‘Un monde Autrement’, has offered independent tourism services and tailor-made private journeys in Vietnam for more than 12 years.
Creator of extraordinary journeys across the country, Tifenn Calvez is the master of ceremonies for ‘Vietnam Autrement’ in HCMC. Always looking for new experiences, she regularly travels across the country in search of hidden treasures to provide her customers with new, unforgettable travels.
Today, Bliss Saigon takes you on holiday to discovers exciting travels with a travel agency going off the beaten path.
Bliss Saigon: Viêtnam Autrement is part of ‘Un Monde Autrement’, a leading network of travel professionals, which also includes Bali Autrement, Thailand Otherwise, the Philippines Otherwise, Cambodia Otherwise, Madagascar Otherwise, Laos Otherwise and Tunisia Otherwise. How did ‘Vietnam Autrement’ started here in Ho Chi Minh City?
Tifenn Calvez : At the time in 2007, Gregory Delforge of Bali Otherwise sought to spread the concept to other countries. As we are friends, it is only natural that he contacted me to open an agency in Vietnam. The decision was quickly made and I joined the group by creating an agency in Vietnam.
B : What makes ‘Vietnam Otherwise’ different from other tour operators?
First, with no doubt, I would say our personalized offers. Each of our clients is unique because their travel plan is unique. This personalization makes it possible to offer everyone the trip they dream of.
After an initial offer, the customer sends us their comments, ideas, suggestions and we adapt the circuit to their wishes as many times as they want it. We always enhance our offers of advice linked to our expertise in the country, such as avoiding the mountains in winter in North Vietnam because the rice fields are fallow, etc.
Creativity, originality, friendliness also play an important role because they’re part of our philosophy.
B: Nowadays, what are some problems surrounding the travel industry?
TC: Just a few months ago, I would have talked about mass tourism, the destruction of natural sites for the benefit of the economy, the lack of personalization, or the want to sell at any cost without listening to the customer’s wishes. Today, the tourism industry is on its knees around the world with the Covid 19. The question becomes today how to bounce back? It can look scary but that also opens lots of news opportunities to explore and new challenges.
B: Let’s talk about the organization. We always wonder what is going on behind the planning of a new circuit, a new adventure. When you build new journeys to offer to your customers, what are you looking for?
TC: Above all, we’re looking to satisfy our customers and to propose the trip of their dreams. Customers fill out a form on our website, we use as a basis for developing the first proposal. Some clients have very specific ideas and are already well documented, others await our expertise to build their trip. As we’re specialized in “tailor-made”, we always seek to meet the client’s expectations but we also take other considerations in mind: the season, the duration, the number of people, children ages, etc.
B: Given that you specialize in tailor-made trips, have you ever had to deal with unusual requests?
TC: For instance, a request linked to very specific circuits for a historian who wished to explore the RC4, one of the old colonial roads which was the seat of a battle during the Indochina War. Another customer wanted to know where to buy wine during each step of its tour. Our job is to respond to every demand.
B: What is the organized trip you are most proud of?
TC: There is no one in particular. I am happy when I can perfectly match the client-specific requests. This often requires research, creativity, thinking outside the box….
B: What was a trip that changed your life?
TC: A circuit in Bali in 2005. This is where Vietnam Autrement adventure started.
B: Which values are most important to you that want to share?
TC: Generosity and respect
B: What’s a place you will never get tired of?
TC: Molène Island in Brittany. This is a very small island close to Brest in France. That’s the place where I go when I can, to unwind.
B: Is there a city, country, or culture that you still dream to discover?
TC: There are still so many…. Prague, Kerala in India, Chile, Argentina…
Pics Vietnam Autrement