Pham Ha, CEO of LuxGroup, on Pioneering the “Made-in-Vietnam” Dream Cruise
Cafef – Pham Ha, the CEO and Founder Chairman of LuxGroup, embodies a profound passion for the tourism industry that surpasses mere financial aspirations. Born in 1975, Ha’s journey through various roles—from a brief stint as a makeup artist to a translator, filmmaker, and finally an adventure tourism guide for French travelers at a advrnture company—led to the genesis of his remarkable venture.
Reflecting on his early days in the industry, Ha recalls his multifaceted responsibilities at an adventure tourism company, where he progressed from guiding tourists to overseeing operations, business development, and marketing. His decision to establish LuxGroup in 2005 came after completing studies in English and business management, marking a pivotal moment in his career.
When Ha embarked on this entrepreneurial path in 2005, he possessed nothing more than a computer, internet connectivity, and $1,000. Driven by a fervent desire to offer luxurious travel experiences to inbound tourists in Vietnam, he navigated numerous hurdles in those early stages.
Ha’s vision for tourism extends far beyond being a mere guide; it’s about crafting novel and unforgettable experiences, etching beautiful memories for travelers worldwide. The name “Lux” signifies the company’s dedication to serving high-end clients seeking exclusive travel, distinct from mass tourism. In the nascent era of the internet in Vietnam, Ha personally coded the website and designed interfaces from LuxGroup’s first office in Hanoi.
Recalling those modest beginnings, Ha fondly reminisces, highlighting the company’s grand aspiration—to elevate Vietnam’s tourism by realizing the dream of a “Made-in-Vietnam” cruise gliding across vast seas. His childhood experiences aboard the Thong Nhat train in the 1980s kindled the dream of exploring the country via large cruises, showcasing Vietnam’s coastal splendor and islands to travelers, inspired by the spirit of national hero Bach Thai Buoi.
For Ha, this venture isn’t merely a business pursuit for financial gain; it’s a passionate pursuit rooted in love and dedication. Targeting the niche market of luxury yacht tourism, managing Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan under Lux Cruises Group presented challenges. Ensuring impeccable service quality often meant personal inspections by Ha himself, striving relentlessly for perfection.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of human interaction, Ha emphasizes the significance of assembling a team comprising professional, capable, service-oriented, and hospitable individuals. This approach has helped LuxGroup carve a niche in the competitive industry.
Despite the hurdles faced, LuxGroup’s CEO reveals impressive financial performance, with revenue for the year reaching 80% of the plan in the first nine months. Projections suggest a year-end revenue exceeding 110% of the initial plan.
Ha’s philosophy, heavily influenced by Vietnam’s indomitable spirit, revolves around putting customers at the helm. LuxGroup instills in its employees the belief that customers, as salary providers, are their true bosses. Furthermore, the company focuses on nurturing a workforce adept in multiple Western languages, reflecting the changing landscape of the 4.0 tourism era.
Luxury service, according to Ha, isn’t just about the offerings; it’s an amalgamation of attitude, service as an art form, and efficient standardized procedures. LuxGroup invests in comprehensive employee training programs emphasizing corporate culture, heartfelt service, and skill development.
While LuxGroup’s journey hasn’t been without challenges—especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic—Ha’s commitment to building a resilient and sustainable business remains unwavering. He envisions not only profits but also the happiness of employees and customers, advocating for tourism’s holistic development in Vietnam’s economic landscape.
Ha’s vision extends to governmental support for tourism’s holistic growth, urging policy changes to address current unsustainable trends. As LuxGroup continues its voyage, Pham Ha’s relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation stands as a testament to the transformative power of a dream and unwavering dedication in Vietnam’s tourism sector.