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THE CON TRÂU TIMES Issue 11 - Nov - 2011

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Inside This Issue 1.

Joining the Buffalo Family


Staff of the Month


The visit by Father Christmas


Xieng thong Palace to contribute to Luang Prahang’s


Tourism Angkor Marathon 2011


Update from Thien Minh Group: Highlight activities from


Mai Chau Lodge’s new concept goes for authentic Vietnamese cuisine


Take control of your To-Do List


Feedback on what members of staff have been doing


Birthdays and Anniversaries

Tip of t he mont h “Management: Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” David Rockefeller

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Joining Buffalo Tours Mr. Bui The Hiep –Operation Executive – SGN Office Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Anh Chi - Operation Executive – SGN Office

Leaving Buffalo Tours Mr. Gramham Read – Product Manager – Marketing Dept – BT Hanoi Ms. Lapasrada Janma (DaDa) - HR & Administration - BT Thailand Ms. Petra Scheweiggl- German Sales Manager – BT Thailand Thank you for your contributions to Buffalo Tours and we wish you success in the future!


STAFF OF THE MONTH – NOV 2011 Outstanding customer service of the month: Ms. Doan Thi Lan Phuong - VET Team - BT Hanoi The Outstanding Customer Service Award of the Month has gone to Phuong. Phuong looks after one of VET’s biggest agents, Antipodeans, and regularly gets great feedback from the agent for her excellent customer service. Recently, it proved difficult to find an experienced female local guide to escort a school group for Antipodeans, so Phuong managed her busy workload and accompanied the group to Mai Chau. Thanks to Phuong’s dedication and to the wholehearted support from the VET team, both agent and clients are very happy with Buffalo Tours’ service. Mr. Bui Minh Tan – Graphic Design - BT Hanoi Congratulations on your award for Best Sales Staff of the Month, Tan. Tan worked tirelessly and patiently throughout October and November to put together the Buffalo Tours trade brochure, which despite many delays and problems not of Tan’s making was completed on time. Tan worked many evenings and weekends, staying until late evening on many occasions, and did this even during the final weeks before his wedding. The brochure was not only completed on time but also looks great, and many compliments have been made about the brochure’s nice new design and its being a better selling tool. Please congratulate Tan for his great performance this month.

Ms. Trinh Thi Minh Hao – Online Executive – BT Hanoi Congratulations on your award Hao. Shi is professionalism, enthusiasm, good customer service and problem-solving skills have prompted outstanding feedback from clients. Hao achieved new sales of $55k versus the target of $45k in the month of November as well as offering excellent customer service out of working hours in making an urgent ticket change for clients.

Ms. Le Thi Thuy – GR Executive – BT Hanoi Le Thi Thuy prepared 18 customized quotes and ensured a good turnaround time for Flight Centrenew bookings while also making sure that a large number of trips on the ground were running smoothly. Together with the FIT team, Thuy exceeded the October budget by 179% with actual sales of $357K vs budgetted sales of $199K People are our most valuable resource! Nominate someone you think deserves recognition – someone who truly shines!

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The visit by Father Christmas Buffalo Tours in Hanoi received a visit from a surprise visitor on the day before Christmas Eve. A certain famous man in a bright red costume, red hat and long white beard visited 94 Ma May to bring some festive cheer to hard-working Buffalo Tours staff. Assisted by helpers in Father Christmas hats and reindeer antlers, Father Christmas distributed Christmas and Buffalo

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Tours cupcakes around the office and appeared in photos with many happy staff. After Ho Ho Ho’ing his way around the building, Father Christmas, who looked suspiciously like a certain German Sales Team Leader, finally departed for Lapland and was last seen travelling on his sleigh through the sky above Hanoi ... Written by: Ms.Beverley Taylor - Marketing Director BT


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Xieng thong Palace to contribute to Luang Prahang’s At a time when Luang Prabang, the cultural capital of Laos, is becoming a top travel destination, the newlyopened Xiengthong Palace is destined to play a key role as a destination hotel with all modern amenities for the intelligent traveller. The Xiengthong Palace is located in the most serene area of Luang Prabang, adjacent to Wat Xiengthong, the temple of the last Royal Family of Laos and the most revered Buddhist monastery in Luang Prabang. With its quiet situation next to the majestic Mekong, the Xiengthong Palace is probably the best place in Luang Prabang for tranquility and luxury. It has the unique distinction of being the last palace of the royalty of the Kingdom of Laos and joins the select group of hotels with such a Royal history. Designed and built within the strict guidelines and regulations of UNESCO to preserve the archeological heritage of Luang Prabang, the hotel’s architecture

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reflects the glorious past of this property’s Royal history. Since its soft opening on the 12th October this year, guest comments about the Xiengthong Palace’s location and customer serivce have been extremely positive, and the future of the business is very promising from a investment perspective. The hotel’s grand opening was held on the 15th of December 2011 in the presence of a distinguished international gathering including honoured guests from from Laos, Vietnam & Sri Lanka. The event itself was a fitting tribute to the glorious past of the former kingdom of Laos; a replicatoin of an authentic Royal banquet was followed in all its grandeur & style. All visitors were received by two of the hotel’s staff clad in Royal Guard uniforms: visitors were presented with with a shawl, women receiving red shawls and men receiving yellow ones, in accordance with the colours of Royalty. The hotel staff, in the guise of servants of the Royal Palace, welcomed the guests for the evening with a ‘Kir Royal’. The hotel’s grounds were illuminated with sparkling lights of red and yellow. In keeping with Laotian


traditions and belief, a traditional Basi ceremony was performed by the village elders at the front of the Xiengthong Palace to invoke blessings to all who attended the opening.

Chairman of PATA thanked Dr. Kien for his initiative in this investment towards tourism development in the region, and expressed his happiness for being able to join hands in this project.

The dinner was a lavish spread of mouth-watering delicacies of Royal Laos cuisine.. The music was traditional Laotian, the drums and the cymbals following the sounds of the bamboo xylophone and echoed by rhythmic, graceful hands and body movements of beautiful local dancers. A fitting finale to the evening was made as the guests lit sky lanterns and released them into the sky in a traditional ceremony to invoke merit and prosperity whilst beautifying the sky above the hotel, once again a true palace of royal hospitality. The chairman of Thien Minh Group, owners of the Xiengthong Palace, Dr. Tran Trong Kien welcomed guests in his address and thanked all who had contributed to the process of making the Xiengthong Palace a unique hotel. Hiran Cooray, Director of Jetwing Indochina, the managing company of the hotel and

Written by: Mr. Kumar Senaratne –CEO – Jetwing Indochina

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Angkor Marathon 2011 Early on Saturday morning 3rd, December, the entire Cambodian team including guides, drivers and office staff joined the annual Angkor Marathon. Our team entered into the 30km cycle around the Angkor Complex. The start was at 5.50am and we started riding while seeing a wonderful sunrise. We spread out over the course as some of us were more experienced and skilled riders including our full time guide Mr Vuttha (finished 10th) who led the way. The ladies of the offices adopted a slow and steady pace and admired the scenery and chatted along the way. At this time of the morning there was very little traffic on the route as most people will visit Angkor Wat

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only for sunrise and it was a pleasant way to experience the area while raising money for charity. A few staff somehow managed to miss one of the turns and take a shortcut, however they were all at the finish line cheering the rest of the team on. With some sore legs, we all joined together for a celebratory breakfast at a local restaurant before heading home for a well earned rest Written by: Ms. Michele Whealy - Country Manager– BT Cambodia


Highlight activities from in December 1. Stars of the month November has just started a program called “Stars of the Month” Those staff who have performed exceptionally during the month will be awarded the title of “Star of the Month”. Congratulations to Ms. Hải Yến from the Product Department, Ms. Minh Tâm from the Customer Services Department and Mr. Phúc from the Marketing Department: they are the first Stars of for the month of November.

Update from Thien Minh Group Thank you very much for your contribution during your time at 2. Free online greeting cards has just launched a new, free platform for sending ecards: “Những cánh thiệp vivu” (Traveling greeting cards). These can be viewed via this link : This platform will be a place for everybody to customize and send messages, greetings… to relatives, or friends, or colleagues, or partners on special occasions. Currently, iLOVE platform is only offering ecards for Christmas & New Year as well as the very near Lunar New Year 2012. In the future, iLOVE will be enhanced and there will be more greeting cards for other occasions and festivals such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays… Written by: Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc – Marketing ExecutiveVIVU LLC

Screenshot of “Nhữngcánhthiệpvivu”

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Mai Chau Lodge’s new concept goes for authentic Vietnamese cuisine The cuisine of a nation and its various regions reveals many secrets about its culture and people, especially when that cuisine is as multifaceted as in Vietnam. So far, Mai Chau Lodge received 99% positive feedback on its culinary offering. Nevertheless, Mai Chau Lodge still received 1% of feedback that could be perceived as negative. Taking these negative comments as an opportunity, the management decided to investigate Vietnamese culinary art and collect ideas from an already existing concept called the “Go Sri Lankan food programme”, which was successfully introduced by CEO, JWI, Mr. Kumar Senaratne, in Srilankan Jetwing Hotels, It was decided to organize a culinary art tour. The purpose of this tour was to find authentic Vietnamese food, cooking methods and cooking utensils as well as new/unused herbs and vegetables. The management of the Mai Chau Lodge assigned the kitchen staff to this task and divided them into two groups. The first group, headed by Mr. Hijaaz Latheef, General Manager of the Mai Chau Lodge, paid a visit to the Paco and Hang Kia region. The group found that the locals use natural fire sources like firewood, bamboo, as well as traditional cooking methods which enhance the taste of the food. Each member of the group found its favorite dish, as well as the recipe for it and successfully cooked it in the house of a local resident. The second group was led by Mr.Dang Duc Hoa, Operations Manager of the Mai Chau Lodge, and went off to discover the culinary specialties of the Noong Luong village. Noong Luong is famous for local products such as garlic, ginger, pumpkin, chicken and corn wine. A local family shared a meal with the Mai Chau Lodge visitors and the Mai Chaud Lodge visitors tried all the dishes and gave suggestions on how to improve the flavor and the dish. It was a great experience for me as well as those that joined my team. Mai Chau Lodge is the only hotel in Vietnam to introduce such a culinary art tour to explore and discover Vietnamese flavors. We are proud to serve authentic regional cuisine at Mai Chau Lodge and would be happy to share our expertise with Thien Minh hotels. Written by: Hijaaz Latheef – General Manager Operations– Jetwing Indochina

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Take Control of


Your To-Do List Having an unruly to-do list can be overwhelming. If you find yourself rushing around, but not actually getting anything done, try the following process: •Write it all down. Put everything on one list. Determine which tasks are easy and which are more difficult. • Do some easy things. Spend 15 minutes doing the easy tasks. Focus on speed: make the quick phone calls, shoot off the brief emails. Cross as many tasks off the list as you can. •Turn to a bigger task. Turn off your phone, close all the open windows on your computer, and focus on one of the more challenging tasks. Do this for 35 minutes without distraction. •Take a break. After 35 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Then return to step two. Harvard Business Review

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I wanted to give my feedback to you about the services received by Adventure Company/ Buffalo Tours on the above tour. We were an unusual group with just three of us but at no time did we think that this was a disadvantage to us. Fortunately the dynamics in the group were good and this was aided by our guide Hai. He provided a very professional and knowlegdable support to us at all times and was very flexible in supporting our requestes. This included arranging for us to remain slightly longer at our homestay on the Mekong Delta and a tour of a market in Mai Chau. His knowledge and sense of humour really added to my holiday. I dont think we really put him to the test but he seemed to be pretty unflappable. Highlights of the tour were the homestays, particularly in the Mekong. The drivers of all the vehicles we had were smart, polite and helpful. Most importantly they were very skilled drivers which I particularly appreciated in Hanoi and HCMC!! Everything worked to plan - a testament to Hai, I believe All in all it was a fantastic tour and gave me a real insight into the country, which all Vietnamese people should be very proud of. I am thinking of taking commission from the Vietnamese Tourist Board for the number of people I have recommended to visit and I would have no hesitation in recommending either Buffalo Tours or the Adventure Company. Kind regards Viki Wadd

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& Anniversaries



Birthdays: Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tien Do Van Hoi Pov Sophea Dam Vutha Hoang Van Giang Nguyen Nhat Thang Thammasak Busbong Le Quang Thuy Do Thanh Phuoc Tran Thu Trang Tran Gia Bach Le Nhat Anh Thu Phung Thai Binh

Jan 1st Jan 2nd Jan 3rd Jan 5th Jan 5th Jan 11th Jan 12th Jan 13th Jan 14th Jan 17th Jan 18th Jan 21st Jan 28th Jan 30th

Ticketing Executive French Sales Executive Tour guide Accountant cum Admin - BT Cambodia Tour guide – BT Cambodia Tour guide Website Team Leader Fox Team – BT Thailand Tour guide Tour guide French Team Leader Group Reservation Manager Operation Executive – BT Sai Gon Chinese Inbound Operation – Cholon Tours

Anniversaries: Tran Thi Hai – Accountant - Completing 7 years of service Nguyen Thi Thuy Van – Accountant - Completing 5 years of service Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan – Accountan - Completing 2 year of service Luu Trung Kien – Assistant of Operation Manager - Completing 5 years of service Nguyen Thi To Uyen – Purchasing Executive - Completing 4 years of service Nguyen Thi Le Hang - GR executive - Team Leader - Completing 4 years of service Doan Thi Lan Phuong – VET - Completing 4 years of service Đinh Thi Đoan Trang – Agent sale executive - Team Leader - Completing 9 years of service Pham Van Trang – Agent sale executive - Completing 1 year of service Le Hong Hanh – Travel Consultant - Completing 5 years of service Pham Thi Loan - HR Assistant - Completing 4 years of service Bui Anh Tuan - IT Manager- Completing 6 years of service Do Van Hoi – Tour guide - Completing 7 years of service Le Van Din – Tour guide - Completing 5 years of service Nguyen Van Dinh - Tour guide - Completing 5 years of service Nguyen Minh Thang - Tour guide - Completing 5 years of service Pham Thanh Hai - Tour guide - Completing 4 years of service Van Tri Quan - Tour guide - Completing 5 years of service Nguyen Dao Thien Y - Operation Executive- SG Office - Completing 3 years of service Chansamone Phetphothong - Operations and Purchasing Executive – BT Laos - Completing 8 years of service

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December contrau times  

December contrau times

December contrau times  

December contrau times