Self-drive tours – a new approach for travel agents?

Linh Ngan
Linh Ngan
05:00:44 - July 16, 2020

Self-drive tours can play an important role to restore tourism after COVID-19. With these tours, visitors will get unique experiences without spending too much time planning the trip.

The most popular types of travel so far are tour travel and independent travel. However, recently there has been a new form of travel combining the strengths of both self-drive tour travel.

These self-drive tours are likely to be a boom in the time when tourism is gradually recovering after a long lockdown thanks to the privacy and safety they offer.

Where does the self-drive tour come from?

In the form of independent travel, travelers can choose public transport such as airplanes, trains, coaches and buses, or to use their personal vehicles, or to rent a car and drive themselves. However, to rent a car on an independent trip requires travelers to invest time learning about the routes, stops and accommodation along the way.

Thus, self-drive tours have been created to help travelers save time planning the trip and still be assured about their freedom and privacy.

Advantages of self-drive tours

  • Self-drive tours can be customized based on the needs of travelers

In self-drive tours, the travel agents usually have a set list of destinations with accommodation and activities at each destination. However, travelers can still discuss with them to make any amendments accordingly to their personal wishes, including: removing/adding some unnecessary destinations or activities, changing accommodation in certain destinations, or even shortening/extending the length of stay in certain destinations.

By readjusting these self-drive tours, travelers still save a lot of time compared to learning and planning their own independent travel. Travel agents always have more information and insights about different services at different destinations so that they can offer a variety of choices for travelers to decide. It also helps to ensure the maximum compatibility of the tour itinerary with needs and hobbies from travelers.

  • Self-drive tours still ensure the feeling of discovery and privacy for travelers as independent travel

In these self-drive tours, travelers can choose to have a tour guide or not. Plus, the guides in these tours are just a consultant that gives instructions and supports travelers to handle the unexpected incidents; they do not necessarily accompany travelers in all activities like a regular package tour.

So, whether there is a tour guide or not, travelers will not have the feeling that this is a tour but simply is a private trip for their own. Travelers in self-drive tours also have certain flexibility in time, activities and locations based on the agreed itinerary.

In addition, in a new normal when travel becomes highly concentrated on health, safety and social distance more than ever, having a car to travel to the desired destinations instead of sitting in a bus with the whole group partly eases travelers’ mind, ensures their security and even boosts their travel demands.

  • Travelers do not need to worry about transportation and incidents along the way

Once going on self-drive tours, travelers will be provided with a list of rental car services to choose the type of car that suits their abilities and preferences without wasting lots of time searching for different car rental companies. In addition, travel agents also ensure that the vehicles used in the tour are from reputable sources and used throughout the journey; therefore, travelers do not need to directly contact different rental car services at different locations and spend quite a time switching the vehicles.

Moreover, self-drive tours help to ensure a smooth journey without any interruption. The biggest issue for independent travelers is technical problems arising along the way. If they rent a car and drive on their own, once they encounter a problem, it may take a long time before the support team reaches their location. Also, they have to contact the accommodation at the next destination (if any) to postpone or adjust the check-in time.

The advantage of travelers signing up for a self-drive tour is that when a problem arising on the road, they will be quickly supported by the travel agents to keep the progress as scheduled. And even if the repair or change of vehicles affects the itinerary, the travel agents will be the ones to contact the accommodation or any related parties on the tour to notify about this delay.

Potentials for travel agents in Vietnam

Self-drive tours are not so new in tourism around the world. Many travel agents in countries like Australia, New Zealand and especially countries in the European Union have built many self-drive tours both inbound and outbound to multination to bring more of the unique experiences for travelers.

In Asia, countries such as China, Thailand or Malaysia currently forecast that with the increasing demand for travel after the pandemic along with the need to secure health and safety, self-drive trips will be leading the path in tourism recovery. Self-drive tours are expected to boom in both domestic and international tourism, so they will be the right products for travel agents to start developing.

In Vietnam, although there are many car rental services, self-drive tours only appeared a few years ago and yet have not really gained any popularity. In the context of travelers increasingly focusing on the experiences personalized and prioritized for safety and privacy after the outbreak, travel agents should take advantage of these self-drive tours and exploit them to adapt to the new normal. Besides working with accommodation services or the experience providers like usual, travel agents can also consider collaborating with car rental service providers and build more of self-drive tours for travelers in the future.

Self-drive tours – a new approach for travel agents?
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